Karmanos Cancer Institute
CAR T-Cell Therapy

About CAR T-Cell Therapy Treatment

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute was the first hospital in Michigan and among one of the first in the world to offer CAR-T Therapy for an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Karmanos Cancer Institute took part in the CAR-T clinical trials that led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of CAR-T therapy for this type of lymphoma in October 2017.

Patients with DLBCL who have not responded to at least two other types of treatment, or who have relapsed following other treatment, may be eligible for CAR-T therapy. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), representing approximately 30 percent of newly diagnosed cases of NHL in the United States. DLBCL is aggressive and occurs primarily in adults. 

What is CAR-T Cell Therapy?

CAR-T therapy is a type of immunotherapy made from a patient's own white blood cells, which are genetically modified to recognize and attack the patient's cancer cells. After the Karmanos specialists determine a patient is eligible for treatment, the following steps are taken:

  • T-cells are removed from the patient's body using an apheresis process by Karmanos' transplant team.
  • Once the T-cells are collected, they're shipped to an outside, quality-controlled manufacturing facility where they're modified with the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). This process takes approximately 2-3 weeks. During that time, the patient undergoes a short chemotherapy regimen to prepare the patient's body for the CAR-T cells. The armed CAR-T cells are then shipped back to Karmanos.
  • Karmanos' Stem Cell Transplant Team works very closely with the patient and manufacturing facility arming the T-cells to make sure that the timing of the process and the return of CAR-T cells is accurately planned.
  • Once the armed CAR-T cells are back at Karmanos, they are infused into the patient. They multiply to become an army of CAR-T cells that recognize and destroy the cancer cells.

These armed cells are a living treatment that will remain in the body to help prevent the cancer from returning. 

The patient should expect to be hospitalized for approximately two weeks. Depending on the severity of the side effects, the hospital stay could be longer and even involve some time in the Intensive Care Unit.

The goal of CAR-T therapy is to put the patient's disease in long-term remission.

CAR T-Cell Therapy: How Does It Work?

Benefits of CAR-T Therapy

Currently, CAR-T is a one-time treatment to put the patient's disease in remission. As with any new treatment, long-term outcomes data is not available. However, for DLBCL patients who have failed other lines of treatment and, in some cases, failed stem cell transplant, this treatment could be a lifeline. Although CAR-T is a very promising treatment, it's not for everyone. The one-time treatment is expensive and not all health insurances cover this therapy. 

Learn more about who would benefit from this treatment here.

Local Lodging 

At the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, we understand distance should not be a deterrent to getting the best cancer care available. If you are coming from out of town, our goal is to make your stay as easy and convenient as possible. To assist you, our Karmanos team has negotiated special rates at local hotels for patients, family members and caregivers traveling to Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. These special rates apply when you mention you're a Karmanos patient, family member or caregiver. Learn more about local lodging here

CAR T-Cell Therapy - Promising Outcomes for Patients

More Information

For more information on CAR-T therapy or other cancer services, call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266).