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CAR T-Cell Therapy

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CAR T-cell therapy (also called CAR-T therapy and CART therapy) treats cancer. It uses the cells of your own immune system to destroy specific cancer cells in your body.

What & Who Does CAR T-cell Therapy Treat?

Currently, CART therapy is FDA-approved to treat:

  • Aggressive B-cell lymphomas (adults only)
  • B-cell leukemia (children and young adults only)

To qualify for CAR T-Cell therapy, you must:

  • Have leukemia or lymphoma that hasn’t responded to treatment, or lymphoma that has returned
  • Be healthy enough to undergo the possible side effects 
  • Be well enough to wait a few weeks while we process your cells

CAR T-Cell Therapy

CAR T-cell therapy treats cancer using modified cells in your own blood to destroy specific cancer cells. The FDA has approved this treatment option for lymphomas (in adults only) and leukemia (in children and young adults only). View Car T-Cell transcript.

How Does CAR T-Cell Therapy Work?

This therapy uses T cells from your immune system. The therapy happens in two phases.

T-Cell Modification

  1. First, we collect your T-cells.
  2. We then add to your T cells. We change them to include a gene with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). The CAR reprograms your T cells to seek out a particular type of cancer cell and destroy it. This process takes 3 to 6 weeks.

Infusion

  1. Before you get the new cells, we'll give you some chemotherapy. This helps the new cells work better. 
  2. When ready, we infuse the changed T cells into your blood.

Within a week, the CAR T cells multiply to make up to 70% to 90% of the T cells in your body. The new T cells seek out and destroy cancer cells.

Find out what to expect during infusion.

Recovery & Side Effects of CAR T-Cell Therapy

Almost all patients return to normal life within a few weeks.

First, you'll need to recover in the hospital for 1-2 weeks. You should also stay near UVA for at least a month after treatment. We'll want to watch you for side effects. We'll also provide any follow-up care you need. We want to support you as you regain your strength and health.

Side Effects

Having a high number of active T cells in your body is risky. You may have side effects.

You could experience:

  • Fever, body aches, and fatigue, or cytokine release syndrome (CRS)
  • Serious life-threatening symptoms, such as low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and trouble breathing
  • Nervous system issues, like tremor, problems talking, confusion, or seizure
A Leader in CAR T-Cell Therapy

Finding More Conditions to Treat

We offer FDA-approved treatment and new therapies through clinical trials. We're the only center in Virginia that does both. This means more people have access to the treatment. We're testing CAR T-Cell therapy to treat other types of lymphomas in adults and leukemia in children.

Search our clinical trials

Right From the Start

Our researchers participated in the first National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored studies for CAR T-cell therapy for pediatric leukemia. They also helped define CRS types, found neurological side effects, and developed treatments. We have special training in watching for side effects. This means we can treat them right away.

More Space & Tech

We're working to reduce wait times for CAR T-cell processing. We're also giving more patients access to this treatment. By opening the Center for Human Therapeutics, we can do both. This one-of-a-kind facility will meet FDA requirements so we can process CAR T-cells on site.