Rady Children’s Hospital Providing Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy—a Pioneering Therapy That Re-engineers Patients’ Blood Cells to Attack Cancer
Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is one of a limited number of institutions across the United States certified to treat patients with the Novartis-manufactured immunotherapy tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah). The drug is FDA-approved for patients diagnosed with refractory or relapsing B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), the most common form of pediatric cancer. Immunotherapy is a rapidly evolving approach to cancer treatment that harnesses and augments a patient’s own immune system to treat disease. Kymriah, a type of immunotherapy called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy, genetically alters patients’ blood cells to attack cancer cells.
“In early multicenter clinical trials, 83 percent of patients were able to achieve remission within three months of Kymriah infusion,” says Deborah Schiff, M.D., pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Rady Children’s who oversees the Hospital’s Kymriah initiative. “We’re fortunate to have this opportunity to provide this potentially life-saving therapy for patients with a previously poor prognosis.”