Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (NHCI) has been providing cancer immunotherapy for decades in the form of allogeneic stem cell transplantation, in which a donor’s bone marrow or blood is transplanted into a patient to cure aggressive blood cancers. Such transplants represented the first definitive proof of the human immune system’s capacity to cure cancer. Now, researchers are developing new ways to strengthen and empower a patient’s own immune system to fight some of the most complex cancers.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Immunotherapy Program is part of our nationally recognized treatment center for blood and marrow transplants.
A person’s immune system is incredibly efficient and well designed to protect us against infections. However, with cancer, the immune system has trouble eliminating these cancer cells because of the way cancer cells are able to hide and trick the immune system in order to survive.
Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that refers to ways we stimulate the immune system to identify and better fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a lab to help the immune system work harder, or in a more targeted way, to fight cancer.
Immunotherapy works by:
Several different types of cancer immunotherapy are being utilized both commercially and in research studies. There are active research protocols ongoing at Northside Hospital involving the use of immunotherapy to treat certain cancers.
Expand the content below for more information about the types of cancer immunotherapies.
Conventional chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by working on the “machinery” inside of cells and causing the cells to die. Unfortunately, normal healthy cells often have similar machinery, so there can be many side effects to treatment (hair loss, nausea, etc.).
With immunotherapy, instead of directly targeting cancer cells themselves, we indirectly boost one’s immune system to fight the cancer.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is among select centers in the country offering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, one of the most promising cell-based cancer immunotherapies available. This new therapy just received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2017.
NHCI is an authorized treatment center for providing the following types of CAR T-cell therapies:
This highly specialized treatment involves:
Prior to CAR T-cell infusion, the patient receives disease-specific chemotherapy, which creates space within the immune system to allow the infused reprogrammed CAR T-cells to grow and multiply.
CAR T-cell infusion occurs on the Northside Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant, Leukemia and Immunotherapy Inpatient Unit. The process is similar to receiving a blood product infusion.
For more information, or to refer a patient for CAR T-Cell Therapy, please call 404-255-1930.
Our Immunotherapy Program physicians are experts in administering CAR T-cell therapy and other immunotherapy cancer treatments, and Northside is one of only a handful of facilities in the Southeast (two in Georgia) with the capacity and facilities to appropriately manage the toxicity of immunotherapy agents.
Northside Hospital has participated in novel CAR T-cell therapy clinical trials and has the experience to care for patients who may develop mild-to-severe immunological side effects. Northside’s state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, advanced facilities, comprehensive patient-centered care, and highly trained cancer physician experts are all essential components of the exceptional care our patients receive, resulting in outstanding survival outcomes and patient satisfaction.
For more information or to refer a patient for CAR T-Cell Therapy, please call 404-255-1930.