Promising new possibilities have emerged in cancer treatment in recent years, providing new hope and opportunities for healing. Choosing the best next steps requires both a caring and supportive medical team and access to the best treatments available.
At The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health Cincinnati Cancer and Cellular Therapy Center (3CTC), choosing and pursuing cancer treatment is personalized. Staff align the treatment plans toward protecting the patient and improving outcomes at every step.
Diane Shapiro, RN and Transplant Coordinator, has worked with The Jewish Hospital Cancer Center for more than 27 years. She states,“I love the team approach we have. It’s not just the doctor, we have an amazing group that includes nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, a dietitian, a social worker and a psychologist. It truly takes a village for a successful outcome for the patients and family.”
In 2017, the first chimeric antigen receptor t-cell immunotherapy drugs (CAR-T) were approved.
Dr. James Essell, Medical Director of the 3CTC at The Jewish Hospital, says, “As soon as we heard about CAR-T, even when it was still in clinical trials, we thought it was important for our patients to have access to this potentially life-saving therapy. We’re the first in the region to have this for adults.”
What Is CAR-T Therapy?
The first CAR T-cell immunotherapy was approved as a treatment for leukemia in 2017, and since then, CAR-T protocols have been approved for some types of lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
CAR-T begins with collecting lymphocyte cells called T-cells from the patient. These cells are genetically modified in a lab to specifically attack the cancer. The cells are grown in the lab, and they are then infused back into the patient’s blood. The modified T-cells attach to the malignant cancer cells and kill them. The CAR-T continues to multiply and expand in the body to fight the cancer. For more details visit LLS.org.
Who Receives CAR-T and How Does it Help?
Dr. Essell explains that CAR-T is a targeted form of cancer treatment called cellular therapy, which helps the body to attack cancer itself, rather than having chemotherapy or radiation doing the primary cancer-fighting work.
CAR-T immunotherapy is currently only considered in candidates whose cancer has not gone into remission during two or more previous chemotherapy attempts. Many of these patients would have previously had few, if any, options for continuing treatment effectively.
While research is ongoing, at least one study shows more than a third of cancer cases going into long-term remission after the treatment. Dr. Essell has reason to believe that cured patient percentages will rise even further due to continued innovation in the world of cellular therapy.
The Future of CAR-T
Multiple CAR-T therapies have been approved by the FDA and the early successes have prompted many new trials to provide CAR-T for other cancer types, since each treatment is specific to the particular kind of cancer.
3CTC is part of ongoing innovation in cancer care. They are opening a new patient infusion center in April 2022 that will allow them to expand their capacity and do even more in the fight against highly resistant cancers.
The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health
Cincinnati Cancer and Cellular Therapy Center
4777 East Galbraith Road, Third Floor, Cincinnati
513.686.3000 | Mercy.com