Ascension Via Christi St. Francis approved for four CAR T-cell therapies | Ascension

Ascension Via Christi St. Francis approved for four CAR T-cell therapies

The Cancer Institute at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis now is an approved site for four CAR T-cell therapies, offering new hope to patients with certain blood cancers that have come back or have stopped responding to treatment.

It is the only provider in Kansas outside the Kansas City metro area to offer this type of immunotherapy that uses a person’s own modified cells to fight cancer. The FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies for which St. Francis is an approved site include:

  • Tecartus, used in treating adults with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma and refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Yescarta, used in treating adults with large B-cell and follicular lymphoma
  • Breyanzi, used in treating relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma
  • Abecma, used in treating refractory multiple myeloma

Relapsed means a cancer has come back; refractory means it has stopped responding to treatment.

With these therapies, the patient's T-cells are collected and modified in a lab to produce a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, that helps immune cells recognize a certain cancer protein. The T-cells are then expanded and infused back into the patient to find and kill cancer cells with that protein.

"Having these 'living' drugs individually manufactured for each patient truly is a new frontier in the battle against blood cancers," says Cancer Center of Kansas oncologist Bassam Mattar, MD, medical director for the cell therapy and bone marrow transplant programs at St. Francis. “It's exciting for us to continue to bring new and potentially life-saving therapies close to home for the patients we serve from all over Kansas."

Dr. Mattar says that other studies of CAR T-cell and its use against solid tumors are in the works, making CAR T a first step in finding new and improved ways to treat a full range of cancers.

Keisha Humphries, who leads Oncology Services for Ascension Via Christi, agrees.

"Through Cellular Therapy of Kansas, which consists of the Cancer Center of Kansas, American Red Cross and Ascension Via Christi, we are bringing new hope and possibilities to patients in their fight against cancer," says Humphries.

For the latest information on this emerging area of cancer treatment, call Stephanie Rader, CAR and BMT program coordinator, at 316-268-5630.

To learn about Cancer Care at Ascension Via Christi, visit