CAR T-cell Therapy
Why choose UCLA Health for CAR T-cell therapy?
Immunotherapy is currently one of the most groundbreaking areas of cancer treatment. This advanced treatment uses your immune cells to attack cancer cells in your body. One kind of immunotherapy is being used now to treat certain blood cancers. That treatment is a type of engineered cell therapy called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.
The physicians and researchers at UCLA Health are at the forefront of engineered cell innovation. In 2018, UCLA Health became one of the first hospitals in the nation to offer CAR T-cell therapy to people whose cancer hasn’t responded to other treatments. In 2020, UCLA became one of the first to offer CAR T-cell therapy to treat relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.
What is CAR T-cell therapy?
CAR T-cell therapy activates a person’s immune system to fight off cancer. Immunotherapy is still relatively new, but it shows promise for adults and children for whom other treatments have stopped working.
T cells are the central components of the immune system. In CAR T-cell therapy, T cells are first removed from a sample of blood. Then, in the laboratory, specialists modify the cells so they will recognize and attack cancer cells.
The modified cells then are returned to the patient’s body. If the treatment is successful, the newly modified T cells will help a person’s immune system kill off cancer cells, sending the disease into remission.
What conditions can CAR T-cell therapy treat?
This kind of immunotherapy is being studied for a variety of blood cancers. Currently, four types of CAR T-cell therapy have moved beyond clinical trials. They are being used to treat:
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in adults: Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for adults with DLBCL who haven’t responded to other treatments.
- Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) is the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for children and young adults with ALL who have relapsed after other treatments.
- Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL): Tecartus (brexucabtagene autoleucel) is the first FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory MCL.
- Relapsed and Refractory Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Breyanzi (lisocabtagene maraleucel; liso-cel) is approved by the FDA. This therapy is a CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for relapsed and refractory large b-cell lymphoma. It is approved for adults who have received two or more prior lines of systemic therapy.
- Relapsed/Refractory Follicular Lymphoma: Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for adults with follicular lymphoma after two prior lines of therapy.
Find out more about how the Bone Marrow Transplant team at UCLA Health is using CAR T-cell treatment.
CAR T-cell treatment
In experimental studies, CAR T-cell therapy was an effective treatment for blood cancer and bone marrow disorders such as leukemia and lymphoma. The team at UCLA Health helped to pioneer this immunotherapy research by participating in CAR T-cell therapy clinical trials before FDA approval.
Because of this experience, our team has unparalleled knowledge in CAR T-cell therapy. Highlights of our program include:
- Expertise: The physicians and researchers at UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are at the forefront of cancer research. We took part in clinical trials that helped prove the effectiveness of CAR T-cell therapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma. UCLA is among the first to offer CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.
- Research: Our ongoing commitment to research has resulted in breakthroughs in CAR T-cell therapy. Our physicians work with the researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to stay up to date on the latest advances in immunotherapy.
- Clinical trials: As a patient at UCLA Health, you will have access to a variety of immunotherapy clinical trials. Your doctor will discuss the CAR T-cell therapy trials currently available and help you assess the risks and benefits of an experimental treatment. Find out more about our current clinical trials.