Adoptive T-cell Therapy

T-cells are white blood cells that can find and destroy cancer cells. The goal behind adoptive T-cell therapy is to give you a much larger, more powerful army of T-cells to fight cancer.

How It Works

Although the FDA has yet to approve adoptive T-cell therapies, several research approaches show great promise. Providence Cancer Center is one of a few specialized centers that offer T-cell therapies through clinical trials. We focus on two approaches that:

  • Expand the T-cell army by taking some of your T-cells, growing billions more in a lab and then returning them to you
  • Make the T-cell army smarter by manipulating the T-cells in the lab to improve their ability to target cancer cells, and then returning them to you

Types of Cancer Treated

Adoptive T-cell therapy has been effective in treating melanoma, lymphoma and leukemia. It also holds the potential to treat any type of cancer.

Clinical Trials

Providence is the first cancer center in Oregon to offer two of the most promising adoptive T-cell therapies in clinical trials:

  • TIL therapy is one of the most effective treatments for advanced melanoma. In this therapy, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), the cancer-fighting T-cells found in tumors, are taken from your tumor, multiplied in a lab and given back to you.
  • CAR T-cell therapy is a treatment that is highly effective for blood cancers. In this treatment, your T-cells are taken to a lab where they are engineered to express proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that help them recognize tumor cells. These engineered CAR T-cells are then multiplied and returned to you.

Personalized T-cell Therapies

Adoptive T-cell therapy is one of our major research priorities. We believe that it holds the promise for creating newer, more powerful therapies for people with advanced cancers, including common cancers such as colon, ovarian, breast and pancreatic, which don’t yet respond well to other immunotherapies.

To lead our efforts, we recruited Eric Tran, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in January 2017. Under his leadership, we are developing programs to:

  • Collaborate with our genetic-sequencing team to identify the unique mutations expressed by tumors as well as the T-cells that can recognize the mutated proteins derived from those genetic mutations.
  • Generate personalized, potent, precise T-cell therapies in our own labs to target an individual’s unique cancer cells.

Read more about the Providence Antitumor T-cell Response Lab.

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