Penn State Cancer Institute is now the first and only oncology center in central Pennsylvania to offer patients CAR T-cell therapy, a cutting-edge treatment that has been successful treating a common type of lymphoma. The CAR T-cell therapy, called Yescarta, uses the body's own immune system to treat patients who have not responded to other treatments or who have relapsed after at least two other types of treatment.
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy changes the patient's immune system to improve its ability to fight cancer. It takes T-cells from the patient and modifies them by adding a receptor that targets and kills cancer cells. The reprogrammed cells are then infused into the patient to find and attack cancer cells. The therapy has shown to be very effective, even in cancers that don't respond to chemotherapy.
“CAR T-cell therapy is a revolutionary treatment which could bring remarkable results to patients with cancer,” said Dr. Shin Mineishi, medical oncologist and director of Bone Marrow Transplantation at the Cancer Institute. “This is the first gene therapy for cancer approved by the FDA and many patients in central Pennsylvania could benefit from it.”
The Cancer Institute is also at the forefront of research on this new type of treatment. Dr. Mineishi is leading work to help mitigate the side effects patients may have with this therapy, and Penn State College of Medicine researchers are in the early stages of testing CAR T-cell therapy against acute myeloid leukemia.
“This treatment is truly transformative. It can immediately be used with patients with a common form of lymph node cancer. It also opens the door to potential new therapies for a range of cancers,” said Dr. Raymond J. Hohl, director of the Cancer Institute. “The technology may afford the opportunity to cure historically fatal cancers. With the ability to offer this therapy, Penn State Cancer Institute is delivering on its mission of prevention, treatment and cures for cancer.”
Patients interested in learning more about CAR T-cell therapy at Penn State Cancer Institute can call 1-833-531-CART.
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