CAR T-Cell Therapy

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Facing cancer is difficult and scary. When treatments don't work, it's even more devastating. 

CAR T-cell therapy offers hope when other treatments fail. 

CAR T-Cell Therapy at UVA Health

UVA Health offers FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for adults with aggressive B-cell lymphomas. 

This treatment is for people who:

  • Don't respond to other treatments
  • Have their cancer come back
  • Are healthy enough to undergo treatment and deal with possible side effects

We also offer CAR T-cell therapy in other cases through clinical trials. 

How Does CAR T-Cell Therapy Work?

A type of cancer immunotherapy, CAR-T supercharges your immune cells to better destroy cancer cells. The therapy happens in 2 phases.

We Modify Your T-Cells 

  • First, we collect your T-cells.
  • 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 3-6 weeks.

We Infuse Your Changed T-Cells

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

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

How CAR T-Cell Is Different

CAR T-cell therapy treats cancer using modified cells in your own blood to destroy specific cancer cells. Learn what sets this innovative therapy apart from other treatments. View Car T-Cell transcript.

Outpatient Option & Recovery

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

Children and some adults need to recover in the hospital for 1-2 weeks.

But for select adult patients, we offer CAR T-cell treatment on an outpatient basis. You won't need a hospital stay. You’ll receive treatment during visits to the infusion center at UVA Health’s Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.

Find out what to expect during infusion.

Bob Falter holds hands with his wife.

A Second Chance With CAR T-Cell

When chemotherapy and other treatments failed, Bob's family feared the worst. But CAR T-cell therapy gave him another way to fight his cancer.

Read Bob's Story

Managing 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

We're experts at recognizing and helping manage all side effects from CAR T.

CAR T-Cell Therapy for Kids

Read about CAR T-cell therapy for children

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