UChicago Medicine Certified to Offer Breakthrough CAR T-Cell Gene Therapy The University of Chicago Medicine is the first site in the United States to be certified by both Kite Pharma Inc. and Novartis to offer chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR T-cell, therapy for adult patients with relapsed or refractory dif- fuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. UChicago Medicine is also among the first sites in the Midwest certified to offer the therapy for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Used to supplement forms of cancer treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, and stem cell trans- plants, CAR T-cell therapy works by using modified versions of a patient’s own blood cells to target and destroy cancer cells. “Ninety percent of pediatric patients with ALL enrolled in early CAR T-cell clinical trials throughout the country went into lasting remission.” John Cunningham, MD To create CAR T cells, scientists remove some of a patient’s T cells, the workhorses of the immune system. Then they modify the cells to detect both normal and diseased B cells. They grow millions of these modified T cells in the lab and then return the re-programmed T cells to the patient, through a simple intravenous drip. Within a few days, these CAR T cells multiply in the body, then search for B cells and destroy them. Ninety percent of pediatric patients with ALL enrolled in early CAR T-cell clinical trials through- out the country went into lasting remission. DLBCL patients often relapse after standard treatments, but those treated with CAR T-cell therapy have doubled the long-term survival rate. Now, about 50 percent of those patients appear to have lasting complete remissions. Michael Bishop, MD, professor of medicine, leads the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program for adults and John Cunningham, MD, George M. Eisenberg Professor of Pediatrics, leads the Program for pediatrics. “This is going to change how we treat hematologic malignancies,” Bishop said. “This is just the begin- ning, the infancy of CAR T-cell therapy. We think variations of cellular therapy could be applied to a broad spectrum of diseases, including other forms of lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and maybe, over time, even solid tumors, like colon or pancreatic cancer.” Learn more about CAR T-cell treatments at uchicagomedicine.org/defeatcancer CANCER.UCHICAGO.EDU 11 News