• CAR T-Cell Therapy


    What is CAR T-Cell Therapy?

    CAR T-cell therapy is a promising new treatment for some of the most challenging cases we face in pediatric leukemia and lymphoma. It is a form of immunotherapy and works by modifying the body's T-cells, a type of immune system cell that hunts and destroys abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.

    To do so, a sample of a patient's T-cells are collected from the blood intravenously through a process called apheresis. Once collected, the T-cells are genetically engineered to produce special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface.

    These genetically-engineered cells are then reinfused to the patient via an intravenous line. After returning to the patient's body, the new receptors enable the CAR T-cells to latch onto a specific protein on the patient’s tumor cells and kill them.

    View an infographic about the CAR T-cell therapy process.

    infographic on the CAR T-cell therapy process

    Why Choose Us for CAR T-Cell Therapy

    Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is one of the top pediatric cancer treatment programs in the world. Our Hematologic Malignancy Center has been a leader in advancing treatment of childhood ALL, which has resulted in an overall 90 percent cure rate for the disease. To increase the cure rate, our leukemia specialists continue to pioneer the latest and most innovative treatments through clinical trials and experimental therapeutics. Because our physicians are leading these trials, our patients often have access to new drugs and therapies at the earliest stages of new drug’s development.

    We are committed to finding the best treatment for our patients. We evaluate each patient individually to determine a personalized treatment plan. This may include CAR T-cell therapy, stem cell transplant, clinical trials, or a combination of these therapies. To determine the best treatment course for a patient, we evaluate factors including the biology of the patient’s cancer, the time of relapse, and patient-specific attributes like age. For example, the best treatment plan for one patient may be using CAR T-cell therapy as a bridge to a stem cell transplant, and for another, it may be only a stem cell transplant.

    Because the CAR T-cell therapy process involves a three- to four-week period between apheresis and infusion of the genetically modified cells, we continue to treat patients during this time and can often identify clinical trials or standard therapies that can control a patient’s disease while they await their CAR-T infusion. Patients at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s have access to a leading leukemia program that oversee many clinical trials that CAR T-cell therapy patients may benefit from.

    Conditions CAR T-Cell Therapy Treats

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, we offer approved therapies for the following conditions:

    Our Team

    Our CAR T-cell therapy team is made up of experts in leukemia, immunotherapy, gene therapy, and stem cell transplantation who are experienced in administering genetically-modified therapies and well-equipped to anticipate and handle any potential side effects of CAR T-cell therapy. This team is supported by the #1-ranked children's hospital by U.S. News & World Report and builds upon Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s immunotherapy expertise, a world-leading gene therapy program, and one of the country's largest stem cell transplant centers.

    Learn more about our CAR T-cell therapy team.

    Contact Us

    For more information about whether CAR T-cell therapy is right for your child or to refer a patient, contact:

    Colleen Dansereau, RN
    Director of Clinical Operations, Gene Therapy Program
    Phone: 617-919-7008
    Email: colleen.dansereau@childrens.harvard.edu

    Additional Resources

    Adult CAR T-Cell Therapy

    For information about CAR T-cell therapy for adults, visit the Dana-Farber website, call 877-801-2278 (CART), or email cartinquiries@dfci.harvard.edu.

  • Contact Us

    Our specialized new patient coordinators can answer your questions about treatment options and becoming a patient.
  • How Does CAR T-Cell Therapy Work?

  • Having a Ball After CAR T-Cell Therapy

    cole-malone-thumbAfter undergoing a promising new treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Cole Malone is back to doing what he loves: playing on a flag football team with his twin brother, Michael.

  • Find Clinical Trials

    We sponsor and collaborate on clinical trials that break new ground in pediatric cancer and blood disorder treatment. callout bg