Ground-Breaking Immunotherapy for Children with Treatment-resistant Cancer

Our University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s team is deeply committed to providing lifesaving care for children and young adults with cancer recurrence. Our team of fellowship-trained, board-certified physicians is on the front lines of treatment innovation.

We are entering a new frontier in medical advances with CAR T-cell therapy. This new cancer treatment, which uses a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer, is the first therapy to be approved for leukemia patients. CAR T-cell therapy offers more hope to patients and their families who have experienced treatment-resistant cancer.

Because of the strength of our research, University Hospitals has CAR T-cell therapies and other cellular immunotherapies being developed in our own academic medical center environment. We're among an elite few in the world to bring these therapies into clinical trials for the first time.

Northeast Ohio’s Only Medical Center Offering CAR T-cell Therapy

The blood cancer acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer. More than half of all diagnoses are children and young adults. Most patients recover through a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and stem cell transplant treatment. However, if the cancer comes back or is refractory cancer (resistant to treatment), a positive prognosis is challenging.

CAR T-cell therapy is a game-changer for patients with treatment-resistant cancer. There has been an urgent need to develop new cancer treatment options that could improve outcomes for these patients. CAR T-cells gives them a second chance.

This new, advanced therapy uses a patient’s own T cells, a type of immune system cell, to fight the cancer. The cells are genetically modified and given the ability to recognize and kill the source of the cancer. They are grown in the laboratory and injected back into to the patient. The CAR T-cells then multiply in the patient's blood and attack cancer cells. The patient’s own cells are essentially reprogrammed as cancer killers.

Results so far are astounding. Within three months of CAR T-cell infusion, over 80 percent of patients were in remission. This groundbreaking treatment has made headlines around the world, and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is one of the first medical centers to offer this cancer treatment. Very few health systems have been able to successfully manufacture CAR T-cells, and we are proud to offer this lifesaving clinical trial to the northeast Ohio community.

A Collaborative Approach to New Methods of Cancer Care

Recurring cancers are among the toughest to treat and tend to be resistant to conventional treatments.

By working in partnership with the National Cancer Institute-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, we are at the forefront of exciting scientific discoveries. Our team focuses on quickly translating scientific findings to identify safer, more effective drugs.

This joint, multidisciplinary approach to cancer care provides access to both pediatric and adult clinical trials. We are the only institution to provide access to Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in northern Ohio. Young patients whose conventional treatments have failed now have the ability to pursue innovative treatment options. We’re committed to finding and providing their very best chance for a cancer cure.

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