Pediatric CAR T-Cell Therapy

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Finding out your child has cancer is devastating. But when their treatment doesn’t work, it’s even worse. You’re scared and looking for answers.

Thankfully, a new treatment gives hope to kids with leukemia and lymphoma. With CAR T-cell therapy, UVA Health Children’s helps kids who didn’t have options before.

Pediatric CAR T-Cell Therapy: When Chemo Doesn’t Work

Most pediatric leukemia responds well to chemotherapy, the standard treatment. But for about 20% of children, the standard treatment doesn’t work. Or their cancer comes back — we call this a relapse. We’re helping many of these kids beat cancer with CAR T-cell therapy.

The FDA approved this treatment for kids with leukemia who:

  • Have their leukemia come back more than once
  • Don’t respond to chemotherapy
  • Relapse after a stem cell transplant

CAR T-Cell Clinical Trial Available

We also have a clinical trial of CAR T for kids with relapsed leukemia or lymphoma.

Our experts can help you decide which kind of cancer treatment is best for your child.

CAR T-Cell Therapy: A 2nd Chance

Colin was diagnosed with a high-risk type of leukemia at age 5. After 2 years of chemo, his cancer went into remission. But then it came back. Watch how CAR T-cell therapy got him back to being a kid again. View Transcript

Fighting Cancer With Supercharged Immune Cells

First, we take immune cells, called T-cells, from your child’s blood. Then we add a gene to the T-cells called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). CARs help your T-cells find and destroy cancer cells.

Next, we give your child chemotherapy to help the therapy work better.

Lastly, we add the CAR T-cells back to your child’s blood, so they can destroy cancer cells.

It takes about 3-4 weeks to make CAR T-cells. When we give them back to your child, they go to work right away. Within a few weeks, we usually can’t find the cancer anymore.

Why UVA Health Children's for Pediatric CAR T-Cell Therapy

We constantly research ways to improve cancer treatments for kids. This means we know the ins and outs of procedures we helped create.

Our clinicians and researchers at UVA Health Children's were among the pioneers of CAR T-Cell therapy.

We’re also experts at preventing and managing this therapy's side effects. CAR T-cell therapy can cause cytokine release syndrome (CRS). CRS can lead to fever, low blood pressure, high heart rate, and trouble breathing. We can manage these side effects because we uncovered them and found ways to treat them.