What is CAR-T therapy and which cancer patients are benefiting from this treatment approach?

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Over the past decade, scientists have been working to move away from traditional cancer treatments such as traditional chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, and towards other or novel strategies, including immunotherapy, with the goal to create better outcomes for cancer patients. CAR-T is a type of immunotherapy that began in the 1980’s and has shown great promise with complete cancer disappearance in 70-90% of leukemia patients who had failed every other known treatment.

Today, 5 CAR-T products have been FDA approved, and there are over 700 clinical trials utilizing CAR-T in progress. Temporary side effects are the main challenge to CAR-T cell therapy, with 2 conditions being of principal concern: Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) with fever, chills, and low blood pressure, and Neurotoxicity (ICANS) with fluctuating consciousness. However, doctors continue to work on understanding, reducing, and using better designed products that will maximize the success and minimize the side-effect risk for the foreseeable future. There is no doubt that CAR-T therapy represents the scientific pinnacle of personalized cancer treatments with an exciting future ahead for all who seek cancer cures.