CAR-T therapy is a new personalised treatment which uses the patient's own genetically modified immune system cells to target and kill cancer cells. The treatment is currently only available to patients with certain blood cancers who haven't responded to other treatments.

Most treatments of this kind are currently only available in clinical trials, but NHS England has now approved their use in some patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or lymphoma in specific circumstances. As a desginated CAR-T therapy we are now offering CAR-T therapy to the following patients. This is in line with guidance set out by the National institute for Health and Care Excellence.

This includes:

  • Adult patients who have diffuse large B cell lymphoma, transformed follicular lymphoma, or primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma are eligible if the lymphoma has recurred twice, or if other treatments like chemotherapy have not worked.
  • Adult patients who have mantle cell lymphoma that has recurred after chemotherapy and Ibrutinib
  • Patients aged 18-25 with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia are eligible if the leukaemia has recurred twice, or if chemotherapy has not worked.
How CAR-T Therapy Works

The immune system is made up of specific cells and organs that protect the body from organisms that cause infection, disease, and abnormal cancer cells. CAR-T Therapy modifies the immune system activity to improve the body’s own ability to fight certain cancers.

White blood cells form part of the healthy immune system and these include T-cells, also called T-lymphocytes. CAR-T Therapy changes some of your body’s T cells, which are collected from your own blood.

In a laboratory, the patient’s T-cells will be reprogrammed to produce special receptors called Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs). When these CARs are placed back into the body through an intravenous catheter, the receptors should help the T-cells find and destroy cancer cells. Throughout this process, careful measures are in place to ensure each patient’s safety and high levels of quality.


Having CAR-T Therapy

CAR-T therapy is given over a number of stages:

  • Work-up, where tests and checks are undertaken to make sure the patient is fit enough to have CAR-T Therapy
  • Collecting the T-cells
  • Reprogramming the T-cells in the laboratory
  • Conditioning chemotherapy, which prepares the patient’s immune system to receive the CAR-T cells
  • Infusion, where the reprogrammed cells are infused back into the patient
  • Monitoring, to help manage side effects
  • Follow-up, to see if the treatment is working and continue managing any remaining side effects
A complex and specialist treatment

CAR T-cell therapy is a very complex and specialist treatment.

Every patient reacts differently to the treatment, however, the risk of serious side effects from CAR-T therapy are common.

As a specialist centre we will manage these side effects and monitor you closely to check how you are reacting to the treatment. If you do develop serious complications during your treatment, you will be transferred to a critical care ward at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where you will be treated by staff who have the appropriate expertise in managing serious complications.

If you would further information regarding CAR-T therapy and what any side effects may mean to you, please speak with your consultant/medical team. The patient information leaflet can be accessed here.

Anyone interested in being referred to our CAR-T therapy centre, should discuss the treatment or their suitability with their treating clinician in the first instance.


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