CAR T-cell Therapy for Adults

How do I refer a patient?

If you're a provider looking to schedule a new patient appointment, please call:

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center

 

How do I refer a pediatric patient?

If you're a provider looking to schedule a new pediatric patient appointment, please call: (608) 890-8070

 

Learn more about CAR T-cell Therapy for Children

 

Can I refer myself?

To make a new patient appointment, please call:

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

Submit an online inquiry to Cancer Connect

 

Related Information

Pediatric CAR T-cell Therapy

Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant

 

Our Doctors

CAR T-cell Therapy Providers

 

Bone Marrow Transplant Program Manager

Bethaney Campbell, MN, RN

Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Program

A promising new treatment is now available at UW Health for adult patients with diffuse, aggressive B-cell lymphomas who have not responded to, or who have relapsed after, at least two other kinds of treatment.

 

The name is axicabtagene ciloleucel (Axi-cel), also known by the brand name YESCARTA™.

 

This groundbreaking cancer treatment is a form of immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in October 2017. In clinical trials, the complete remission rate after treatment with Axi-cel was approximately 50 percent.

 

What is chimeric antigen receptor or CAR T-cell therapy?

 

CAR T-cell therapy is a living drug using the patient's own infection-fighting white blood cells (called T cells) to seek out and destroy cancer cells. The treatment we use is called Axi-cel therapy.

 

To do this, we remove the patient's own T cells from their blood and send them to a lab where they are altered to produce proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on the surface of the cells. These special receptors allow the T cells to help identify and attack cancer cells.

 

The "super-charged" T cells are multiplied and grown at the lab, then frozen and shipped back to UW Health's University Hospital, where we re-inject these treated CAR T cells back into the patient's blood.

 

How do you treat the patient with these cells?

 

We collect the patient's T cells in an outpatient setting. Five days before we re-inject these T cells into the patient, we give them three days of outpatient chemotherapy. We admit patients to the hospital for the infusion of the Axi-cel product, and they remain in the hospital for at least seven days so we can carefully watch them for any signs of serious side effects.

 

Who is eligible for this Axi-cel therapy?

 

Patients with an aggressive form of diffuse, large B-cell lymphomas that has not responded to or has relapsed after at least two other kinds of treatment are eligible. Also, patients with primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma or follicular lymphoma that has transformed to the more aggressive type are eligible.

 

How common is this type of cancer?

 

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in adults. NHLs are cancers that begin in certain cells of the immune system and can be either fast-growing (aggressive) or slow-growing. DLBCL is an aggressive NHL. Approximately 72,000 new cases of NHL are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and DLBCL represents approximately one in three newly diagnosed cases.

 

How do I refer a patient?

 

If you're a provider looking to schedule a new patient appointment, please call:

 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

 

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center

 

Can I refer myself?

 

To make a new patient appointment, please call:

 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

 

Submit an online inquiry to Cancer Connect

 

What are the side effects?

 

Treatment with CAR T cells can cause severe side effects in about 10 to 20 percent of patients. The most severe is cytokine release syndrome (CRS), a systemic response to the start up and rapid growth of the CAR T cells, causing high fever and flu-like symptoms, and potential neurologic problems. Both CRS and neurologic problems can be fatal or life-threatening.

 

Other side effects include serious infections, low blood cell counts and a weakened immune system. Side effects from treatment usually appear within the first one to two weeks, which is why we admit patients to the hospital for the first seven days after infusion. It is possible to develop side effects after discharge and may require readmission to the hospital for further monitoring and treatment.

 

Are there long-term side effects?

 

Some patients may have a depressed immune system or low blood counts, but these conditions can be treated with intravenous immunoglobulin. (IVIg).

 

Does insurance cover this treatment?

 

Insurance is beginning to cover this treatment. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have not yet decided how they will reimburse for the treatment.

 

All referrals begin with prior authorization for a consultation with a physician. Even if patients are not eligible for CAR T-cell therapy, we can offer other treatment options, including clinical trials.

 

Will CAR T-cell therapy be available for other types of cancer?

 

A similar treatment called tisagenlecleucel (KYMRIAH™) is currently approved for children and young adults up to age 25 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but clinical trials are studying its use in other blood (hematological) cancers. Learn more: CAR T-cell Therapy for Children with Relapsed or Refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

 

Our CAR T-cell Therapy Providers