CHIMERIC ANTIGEN RECEPTOR (CAR) T-cell therapy has been one of the biggest advances in cancer research seen in recent decades.

The treatment involves removing T cells from the patient’s blood so these immune cells can be genetically engineered to fight cancer before they are reintroduced into the bloodstream.

Formerly an experimental treatment that sounded like something out of science fiction, CAR T-cell therapy has now been used to treat more than 34,000 people.

The treatment is not without risks. People who receive CAR T-cell therapy have an increased risk of developing life-threatening immune responses and a new cancer. However, CAR T-cell therapy provides an additional option for some people whose blood cancer has returned or not responded to other treatments. Here’s a look at the key developments that helped bring this treatment to the forefront of cancer care.

Source: Frontiers in Immunology

Thomas Celona is the associate editor for Cancer Today.

Photo of Bill Ludwig courtesy of Penn Medicine. Photo of Emily Whitehead courtesy of the Emily Whitehead Foundation.