Doctors and researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) helped to develop the first clinical trial for advanced acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) using an immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor (“CAR”) T-cell therapy. This therapy is for children who have leukemia or lymphoma that has recurred after treatment, and who have a type of cancer that involves B cells (a type of white cell).
CAR T-cell therapy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in treating pediatric relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in August 2017, a historic milestone in pediatric cancer treatment. CHOP has treated more children with CAR T-cells targeting CD19 than any other pediatric institution.
During treatment, physicians take the patient’s own healthy white blood cells (T cells) and modify them to target their own leukemia cells. A team of experts at the Cancer Immunotherapy Program will be able to determine whether this form of treatment, or a clinical trial using immunotherapy, is right for the patient depending on their diagnosis and the stage of their disease.