The video below was created to introduce CAR T cell therapy, a type of cancer immunotherapy that may be used to treat certain relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. It helps to explain what CAR T cell therapy is, walks you through the many steps in the treatment process, and describes some important considerations.
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CAR T cell therapy may be considered after other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, or other treatments for multiple myeloma. If you and your doctor decide CAR T cell therapy is appropriate for you, here is some information about what you may be able to expect:
Your T cells are collected
Your blood is collected, the T cells are removed, and the rest of your blood is returned to your body. This process may be called either apheresis or leukapheresis. This process can take 2 to 6 hours.
Your T cells become CAR T cells
The collected T cells are sent to a lab where CARs are added. This is when the T cells become CAR T cells. Then your CAR T cells are multiplied until there are enough for your infusion. It may be several weeks before your CAR T cells are ready.
How CAR T cells are made
While your CAR T cells are being made, you may get other treatments for your multiple myeloma.
You will be prepared for the CAR T cells
A few days before getting the CAR T cells, you will be given a short course of chemotherapy. This will help prepare your body for treatment and make room for the new CAR T cells.
You will be given the CAR T cells
The CAR T cells will be infused into your body.
You will be monitored for side effects
After the infusion, you will be closely monitored for several weeks for possible side effects. There is a possibility that you could experience severe side effects that require treatment or hospitalization, or that may even cause death. Time at the treatment center will depend on your risk of side effects. You will need to stay near the CAR T cell therapy treatment center for at least 4 weeks after the infusion.
You will get continued follow-up care
You may be able to return to your regular healthcare team. You will continue to be monitored. Doctors will measure how well the CAR T cell therapy is working, and watch for possible side effects.
Some of the steps for CAR T cell therapy may seem similar to the steps for stem cell transplant, but they are different types of treatment.