How CAR T-cell Therapy Works
CAR T-cell therapy is a multi-step process that takes place over several weeks:
Collecting the T cells. T cells are collected through apheresis.This simple, non-invasive process removes the T cells from the blood (similar to the method for blood donation) and returns the remaining blood back into the body.
Supercharging the T cells. Scientists in a laboratory insert an antibody-like protein called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on the surface of the T cells.
Multiplying the CAR T cells. CAR T cells multiply in the lab until they number in the millions. The cells are then frozen and returned to the patient’s hospital.
Infusing the CAR T cells. While waiting in the hospital, many patients will undergo a brief course of chemotherapy. When the CAR T cells are returned to the patient’s bloodstream, they continue to multiply. They now act as “attacker” cells: seeking out, recognizing and destroying cancer cells that have the targeted antigen on their surface.
After CAR T-cell therapy. Patients stay in the hospital for a minimum of two weeks for monitoring and treatment of side effects, including potential adverse events. CAR T cells can remain active in the body and continue to safeguard the patient against recurrence of the cancer, bringing long-term remission.
Request an Appointment
Please complete this secure form to request an appointment with a UChicago Medicine CAR T-cell therapy expert. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule the appointment.
Please note this electronic request form is not for same- or next-day appointments. If you prefer to speak with someone directly, please call 1-844-482-7823. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.