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How CAR T-cell Therapy Works

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How Does CAR T-cell Therapy Work?

CAR T-cell therapy is a multi-step process that takes place over several weeks.

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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.

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