UIHC First in State for New Cancer Treatment

The University of Iowa has received government approval for a new cancer treatment that uses a patient's own white blood cells to detect and kill cancer.

According to a news release, the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is among the first sites in the nation, and the first in Iowa, to treat patients with what's called CAR T-cell therapy. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of CAR T-cell therapy for patients with certain types of blood cancer.

"This new treatment approach can be highly effective for select patients with large B-cell lymphomas and acute lymphoblastic leukemia," said George Weiner, MD, director of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Cancer cells survive in the body because they are able to avoid the immune system. CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy, in which the cells are modified in the lab so they can find cancer cells and destroy them. The CAR T-cells continue to search for new cancer cells to prevent recurrence of cancer.

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center offers CAR T-cell treatments for adult patients with large B-cell lymphomas that have failed at least two other kinds of treatment, and another treatment for children and young adults with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Before the therapy can be given, UI Health Care physicians will conduct tests to determine if a patient is eligible.

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