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CAR T-Cell Therapy

As part of our comprehensive treatment for hematologic malignancies, UC San Diego Health offers CAR T-cell therapy, a promising type of immunotherapy, for certain types of blood cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphomas and multiple myeloma.

UC San Diego Health is a pioneer in advancing personalized cancer therapies and was among a select group of medical centers nationwide to establish the effectiveness of CAR T-cell therapy. 

With our depth of expertise and familiarity with this relatively new cellular therapy, we are able to offer our patients CAR T-cell therapy with: 

  • Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) for adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma 
  • Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) for children and young adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphocytic leukemia
  • ABECMA (idecabtagene vicleucel) for adults with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. We are the only dedicated site in the region to offer this promising new treatment.

Our physicians are also involved in several clinical trials of CAR T-cell therapies.

What Is CAR T-Cell Therapy?

It is an type of immunotherapy based on genetically modifying a patient's T-cells to fight cancer. CAR stands for chimeric antigen receptor. These receptors are proteins on the T-cells' surface engineered to recognize a specific antigen (protein) found on certain cancer cells. These receptors can be thought of as claws that enable T-cells (white blood cells) to find and grasp tumor cells. In a laboratory, a deactivated virus is used to insert genes into the T-cells that direct the production of these receptors. These CAR T-cells are then grown in the lab until there is a sufficient quantity of cells for therapy. Because a person's own T-cells are used in treatment, CAR T-cell therapy is a type of personalized cancer therapy, also sometimes referred to as a living drug.

Although immunotherapies are incredibly promising, not all patients respond fully to CAR T-cell therapy. In some patients, therapy may be used as a bridge to a blood or marrow transplant (BMT). UC San Diego Health has the largest BMT program in the region and a new patient-centered transplant unit within Jacobs Medical Center that provides patients and family with the highest level of comfort and care.

Why Choose UC San Diego Health?

Experience: Our BMT team treats more patients every year than any medical center in the region. 

Expertise: We have expertise in new and novel cancer treatments because our physicians often conduct the studies that lead to their development.

Technology: Jacobs Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center and Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion offer the highest level of medical technology within a beautiful patient-centered environment, conveniently located in La Jolla.

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   U.S. News & World Report - UC San Diego Health Ranked Nationally in Cancer