Cancer Care

CAR T-Cell Therapy treats cancer like germs

Ascension Providence Cancer Center is the first Ascension Michigan ministry to offer CAR T-cell therapy for patients with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

CAR T-cell therapy breaks through the fight against cancer

CAR (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses altered t-cells to attack and destroy site specific antigens expressed by malignant lymphoma cells . The Ascension Providence Cancer Center care team is the first certified program in the state of Michigan to offer this cancer fighting technology to patients in an outpatient setting allowing the patient to remain at home without required hospitalization using the JUNO/BMS product. Early results are encouraging for patients with relapsed or difficult to treat lymphomas.

Find out if you are eligible:

CALL - 248-465-5449

What is the process for CAR T-cell therapy?

The process involves removing, modifying and returning white blood cells into the bloodstream enabling them to seek out the patient’s cancer cells and destroy them.

STEP 1 - Evaluation: Patients undergo a series of tests and screenings to determine if CAR T-cell therapy is an appropriate option.

STEP 2 - Collection: T-cells are collected from patients via apheresis, a process where blood is withdrawn from the body and then T-cells are extracted. Once the T-cells are extracted, the remaining blood is returned to the body. This process will take place at a pheresis center.

STEP 3 - Engineering: The T-cells are sent to a laboratory where they are genetically engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) on their surface. CARs are proteins that all T-cells recognize antigens on targeted tumors.

STEP 4 - Multiplication: The genetically modified T cells are "expanded" by growing cells in the laboratory until there are millions of them. This process can take a few weeks. When there are enough CAR T-cells, they are frozen and sent to the center where the patient is being treated.

STEP 5 - Conditioning Therapy: Prior to infusion of the CAR T-cells, patients may receive chemotherapy for their cancer. This helps to create space in your immune system for the infused CAR T-cells to expand and proliferate.

STEP 6 - Infusion: Soon after chemotherapy, patients are brought back to the center and the CAR T-cells are re-infused. This is a one-time infusion.

STEP 7 - Recovery: Patients who receive CAR T-cell therapy have a risk/recovery period of approximately 2-3 months. During this period, patients will be evaluated for side effects and treatment response. After outpatient infusion, it may be necessary to admit patients to the hospital. During the first 30 days after discharge from the hospital, patients need to remain close to our center for regular follow-up care.

Meet the Staff

The Ascension Providence Cancer Center care team has advanced experience in the treatment of many cancers and has received special expertise in the new CAR T-cell therapy.

Dr. Howard Terebelo, Medical Oncologist, Lead Director of CAR T-Cell Therapy Study, Ascension Providence Cancer Center in Southfield, Michigan.

Dr. Howard Terebelo
Medical Oncologist
Lead Director of CAR T-Cell Therapy Study

Deborah Beattie, Car T-Cell Therapy Study Coordinator, Ascension Providence Cancer Center in Southfield, Michigan.

Deborah Beattie
Car T-Cell Therapy Study Coordinator

Email: Deborah.beattie@ascension.org
Tel: 248-465-5449

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about CAR T-cell Therapy

Who is a candidate for CAR T-cell therapy?

Our clinical trial is for patients, age 18 years or older, with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma who have had their cancer come back (relapsed) or no longer respond (refractory) to chemotherapy.

Which cancers are being treated with CAR T-cell therapy?

Currently, CAR T-cell therapy is FDA approved as standard of care for some forms of aggressive, refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma and for patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia up to age 25. In addition, there are many ongoing trials of CAR T-cell therapy for other forms of blood cancer.

What are the possible side effects of CAR T-cell therapy?

Although most patients do not experience the common side effects associated with chemotherapy such as hair loss, nausea, and vomiting, there are risks of significant side effects with CAR T-cell therapy. Patients may be admitted to the hospital for management of reactions to this therapy. The complications are generally temporary and resolve with treatment. Possible side effects from CAR T-cell therapy include:

  • Cytokine release syndrome: CAR T cells can initiate a massive release of substances called cytokines, which triggers an inflammatory condition known as cytokine-release syndrome (CRS). Symptoms may be flu-like, with a high fever and/or chills; low blood pressure; difficulty breathing; or confusion. These symptoms can be mild or severe.
  • Neurologic difficulties: Patients may also experience confusion, difficulty understanding language and speaking, or stupor.

If you have further questions, please contact our study coordinator at 248-465-5449.

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