Car T-cell therapy changes the immune systems of the human body so that they are able to hunt down and kill the cancer cells that we develop in it. Two types of cancer cells namely the B-cell (precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and large B-cell lymphoma cells are known to be treated with the help of car T-cell therapy.
When a person affected with cancer has taken all sorts of therapies and none of them have shown considerable improvement, the car T cell therapy is applied.
In some people, it can get rid of all signs of cancer which is known as remission. This therapy also comes with certain side effects and some of which are known to be serious. It's best to take the advice of a doctor before getting on board with the car T-cell therapy.
The car T-cell therapy uses immune cells known as T-cells. Each of these T-cells is altered and put in the human body to multiply into an enormous amount of new ones. The car T-cell therapy act’s as the medium.
It not only signals the T-cells to kill the tumor of the cancer cells but also signature T-cells to grow, divide and multiply so that the bad cells in the body are no longer left. After one sitting of the treatment, the T-cells remain in the body and continue to kill the cancer cells. This is one of the reasons why car T-cell therapy is also called the living drug in treating cancer.
The car T-cell therapy is known to have long-lasting activity and goes on for months and years. This ability of the therapy makes it potent for cancer treatment where other forms of conventional standard treatments fail. The overall success rate of car T-cell therapy is approximately 83%. In some cases, the remission effects of car T-cell therapy have lasted years after years.
The most common side effect of the car T-cell therapy is the cytokine release syndrome. The cytokines released syndrome is a similar symptom like any cold cough or flu. This causes severe chills, nausea, diarrhea along with your muscle or joint pain.
The cytokines released syndrome is followed by a rise in blood pressure, fast heart rate, and shortness of breath. The symptoms are mild and most patients and most of the cases have reported it to be life-threatening if not treated the way needed.
No Red Blood Cell Count Resulting In Anaemia
Neurologic events are common side effects of car T-cell therapy. In some patients, these events can be serious neurologic events and include encephalopathy followed by brain injury, and malfunction of the brain.
Other difficulties of the neurologic events include aphasia, where a person faces difficulty in speaking, along with loss of balance, altered consciousness, drowsiness and agitation.
Low White Blood Cell Count Known As Neutropenia
B-cell aplasia happens when the car T-cell therapy is introduced in a person, and the T-cells target a protein called CD19 present on the surface of the cancer cells. Apart from the cancer cells, these proteins are also present on the surface of B-cells.
B-cells are immune cells and make antibodies that the body requires to fight infections and other antigens. B-cell aplasia results in the loss of B-cells from the body, therefore a person loses the ability to make antibodies. This can be one of the long-term risks to be worried about.
When it comes to treating cancer with radiation and chemotherapy, they kill both the cancer cells and the healthy cells which is why they result in nausea, vomiting. The infection cell therapy targets only the cancer cells and as a side effect causes mild instances of weakness and loss of appetite. Cytokines are necessary to kill the tumor cells but they cause side effects. Cytokines can be counted with medicines like Steroids and Tocilizumab which is the Actemra. As the healthy cells from the T-cells live in a person, the manifestations are not serious.
A person getting treated with the car T-cell therapy is closely monitored by the doctor to check for the side effects. Many cancer centers ask people to stay close to the hospital for several weeks in case they require a medical emergency at any point of the day. On the other hand, the side effects are known to be short-lived.
With chemotherapy therapy, the side effects last for a longer duration of the time because the healthy cells also get destroyed. The car T-cell therapy is a one-time infusion and the side effects are short term, lasting from 1 – 2 weeks and once the duration is over the person is back to normal.