Cancer Immunotherapy for Leukemia

KYMRIAH now available

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is one of a select group of certified treatment centers offering the FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapy KYMRIAH. This treatment is available to patients up to 26 years old who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that either relapsed (came back after going into remission) or never went into remission after using other leukemia treatments (refractory). You and your care team will decide if KYMRIAH is right for your child.

What is CAR-T cell therapy?

CAR-T cell therapy is a promising new treatment for certain types of cancer that uses a patient’s own immune system to fight his or her cancer.

CAR-T cell therapy takes a patient’s T cells — a type of immune cell that finds and kills unhealthy or invading cells like cancer cells — and gives them a boost. Each patient’s T cells are engineered in a lab to include a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that targets a specific protein on the surface of leukemia cells. The CAR-T cells are then given back to the patient as an infusion, and they can track and destroy the cancer cells they were programmed to kill.

Immunotherapy clinical trials

KYMRIAH was made possible by years of testing in clinical trials. Our researchers and physicians are continuing to test ways for making immunotherapy more successful and expanding it into other types of cancers beyond leukemia.

We are currently enrolling patients for a first-in-human trial using a CAR-T cell to target two different ALL surface proteins at once to stop the cancer from having time to adapt and evade the immune system. We are the only children’s hospital in California to offer this kind of trial. We are also one of six centers in the United States to offer a clinical trial of enoblituzumab, which may be a powerful immunotherapy weapon against solid tumors.

Why choose us for CAR-T cell therapy?

Over the past 50 years, Stanford doctors and researchers have combined pioneering clinical trials with the highest quality care to help push the childhood leukemia cure rate above 90 percent.

Our care team includes world-renowned pediatric oncologists as well as experts in gene therapy and stem cell transplantation. Our pediatric-specific research program helps us bring cures from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside. As a member of the Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, we continually collaborate with other doctors and researchers to bring our patients the best possible care.

As one of the centers involved in the early clinical trials of KYMRIAH, we have significant experience caring for patients who are receiving CAR-T cell therapy, from addressing potential side effects to providing long-term follow-up care.

The promise of cancer immunotherapy

Crystal MackallPlay

Crystal Mackall, MD, an intentionally recognized expert in cancer immunotherapy, discusses early progress in CAR-T cell therapy and says she’s optimistic that future research will continue to improve patient care.

Watch the video >


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