Naaman made counts and is slated to begin CAR-T cell therapy Monday! We won’t go to great lengths explaining CAR-T cell here, but this is an excellent resource: NIH
CAR-T cell therapy engineers the patient’s immune cells to fight their own cancer. T-cells from Naaman are collected, taken to a lab in New Jersey called Novartis, trained to fight his cancer, and placed backed inside of him. That’s why it’s considered a transplant; it’s just a transplant from yourself.
CAR-T is the best option for Naaman right now. He may need a bone marrow transplant or need to travel for a clinical trial in the future.
Not every cancer hospital is CAR-T equipped, but Smilow is. Some hospitals have their own “brand” of CAR-T or they use a prescription, which is what we will do. Naaman will take Kymriah®. Here is a link to Kymriah info that explains it best: us.kymriah.com
MRI and Chest CT under sedation, and final count checks to be sure Monday is a go.
Admission for surgery to place a larger line in to handle the CAR-T cell collection. It’s a big, awkward line that will stick out of his neck but just has to stay for a few days.
Apheresis to collect the T cells. If they have enough cells, the big line comes out and Naaman goes home within a few days.
Infusion of the trained cells in about three weeks.
A note of caution...
Should you explore the CAR-T and Kymriah literature, you’re likely to have the same thoughts we did. The research includes patients with A.L.L., but remember not all of them are ph-like A.L.L., nor are they children, nor are they first relapse, nor to the have the same comorbidities (i.e. other patients may have kidney disease while Naaman does not). In other words, the efficacy rates should be interpreted with caution. We are optimistic and can’t wait to get started.