Everything You Need To Know About CAR T Cell Therapy


Before getting started with CAR T-cell therapy, you should know more about the process. This article will explain what CAR T-cell therapy is, what it does, and the success rate of the treatment. To learn more, read our complete guide to the procedure. 

What is CAR T cell therapy? The cells are harvested from the patient’s own immune system. This therapy is given through a central line, usually a large vein in the arm. The procedure can be an inpatient or outpatient procedure, and the patient will be closely monitored for ten days or two weeks.

What is CAR T-cell therapy?

CAR T-cell therapy is a treatment that turns the body into a cancer-fighting machine. The procedure involves extracting T cells from the patient’s blood, a process known as leukapheresis. The blood is then processed in a machine, which separates the T cells from the other blood components. Normal blood fluid then goes back into the patient’s body through the other arm.

A person’s CAR T-cells are modified by genetically modifying them. These modified T-cells are infused into the patient’s bloodstream through a central line. Medications are given to prevent and manage side effects. CAR T-cells can be administered at a hospital or an outpatient clinic. After the procedure, the patient is usually given chemotherapy to condition the body’s immune system.

What does CAR T-cell therapy do?

What does CAR T-cell therapy do to your body? During the procedure, your healthcare team will add the gene to your T cells. Your immune system will begin to attack the CAR. It may cause low blood pressure, respiratory distress, or even an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a potentially dangerous side effect of CAR T-cell therapy and should be treated right away. Some patients may develop a reaction to the CAR that causes high fever, tingling, and muscle spasms.

Your body has lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help fight infections and diseases. Lymphocytes are specialized immune cells that fight cancer, infections, and other conditions. T cells move around the body and fight specific infections and diseases. The body keeps some of these cells in reserve so they are ready to attack if the infection returns. If it does, your body will recognize it and begin attacking it immediately.

What is the success rate of CAR T-cell therapy?

There are some important questions to ask about CAR T-cell therapy. The success rate varies but is currently high enough for it to warrant clinical trials. The study of 102 patients showed an overall remission rate (CR) of 66.4%. While the success rate was high, some patients did not achieve CR at all. The study also revealed that CAR T-cell expansion was significantly lower when patients had EMD and had relapsed prior to the study.

According to the Medical University of Chicago, the success rate of CAR T-cell treatment is 30-40%. Of these patients, approximately 30% achieved remission without additional treatment after treatment. Because CAR T-cell therapy works by targeting cancer cells, patients must first undergo a short course of chemotherapy. This prevents the normal immune system from rejecting the CAR T-cells. Once the T-cells have been extracted, they must undergo a laboratory process to help ensure that they are compatible with the patient’s condition.

Who is a candidate for CAR T-cell therapy?

People who have leukemia or other blood-related diseases are a good candidate for CAR T-cell therapy. This treatment is a combination of gene therapy and immunotherapy. Patients who are candidates for the treatment may also have other conditions that can benefit from this therapy, including lymphoma or anemia. Before undergoing CAR T-cell therapy, patients should understand their risk factors.

The treatment is only available as second-line therapy in some cases. It is available in clinical trials for certain types of lymphoma and leukemia. Patients must qualify for the clinical trial and are often put on a long waiting list. However, patients with advanced lymphomas can try this treatment. The treatment can help people living with leukemia and lymphoma, but it must be approved by the FDA.

Advantages of CAR T-cell Therapy 

The CAR T-cell therapy has a number of advantages:

The newest advancement in cancer treatments 

CAR T-cell therapy is a promising new treatment for cancer. It involves engineering patients’ own immune cells to fight cancer cells

Personalized treatment

The CAR T-cell therapy is personalized. In other words, it’s designed specifically for each patient and their particular type of cancer, so there are no side effects that don’t apply to that person.

Offers support or other treatments

The CAR T-cell therapy can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other therapies.

Targeted Cancer Treatment 

The CAR T-cell therapy attacks cancer directly by targeting specific molecules on the surface of cancer cells, rather than attacking normal healthy cells in the body like chemotherapy does.

Disadvantages of CAR T-cell Therapy

There are some disadvantages of CAR T-cell therapy, which include:

Cost of treatment. 

The cost of CAR T-cell therapy is significantly higher than other types of immunotherapy, and it’s not covered by insurance companies.


You may not be eligible for CAR T-cell therapy if you have other medical conditions or take medications that could interfere with the treatment. Additionally, because these treatments are so individualized and specific to each patient’s needs and response to treatment, there are certain types of cancers that are currently not suitable for CAR T cell therapy. 

Cytokine Release

Your body might reject your new cells when they’re introduced into it, which can cause an immune response. This can lead to serious side effects including fever and chills; nausea and vomiting; low blood pressure; loss of consciousness; low hemoglobin (reduced levels of red blood cells); breathing problems; back pain or chest pain; hives around the mouth or throat area (swelling), rash or itching on skin:

Not a Cure

The biggest disadvantage is that CAR T-cell therapy is not a cure. The patient’s cancer will continue to grow and spread unless they receive additional treatments as well.

Potential CAR T-cell Therapy Side Effects

CAR T-cell therapies may cause side effects. The most common side effects of CAR T-cell therapy include cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity.

Cytokine Release Syndrome

The cytokine release syndrome occurs when the body releases high levels of cytokines, which are chemical messengers that help fight infection and inflammation. In some people, this can lead to high fevers or extreme tiredness. It’s also possible for a cytokine release syndrome to cause an overactive immune system reaction that results in inflammation throughout the body—including your brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys (called an organ-specific autoimmune reaction).


CAR T cell therapies may also be associated with neurotoxicity—meaning they disrupt nerve cells’ ability to function properly or even cause damage to the nervous system’s cells themselves. One type of neurotoxicity is called encephalopathy: it’s characterized by a range of neurological symptoms such as confusion, agitation, and problems with memory or thinking clearly (like trouble reading or speaking).

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of CAR T-cell therapy and what it can do for people living with cancer. CAR T-cell therapy is still in its infancy, but we’re excited to see how much progress will be made in the coming years.