A new kind of treatment for some kinds of cancer has been in development for many years. Called CAR T-cell therapy, for chimeric antigen receptor, the treatment reprograms a patient's cells so they will combat cancer. Primarily used to target blood cancers, the FDA has now approved one for use in adults.
The new therapeutic is called Yescarta, to fight aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Researcher Dr. Fred Locke, an oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Institute in Tampa, Florida, estimated that over 10,000 adults could benefit from this new treatment. A similar therapy that recently won approval, Kymriah, is only for use in people that are under the age of 25 who suffer from pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
CAR T-cell therapy is one kind of adoptive cell transfer (ACT) based therapy. Other types of ACT are in development, and research has accelerated in these fields in recent years. It has been called a kind of living treatment, as it uses live cells that are administered to a patient.