Our hematopoietic cellular therapy program, directed by Michael Bishop, Professor of Medicine, aims to be a leader in the development of a promising new treatments for blood cancers. CAR-T cell therapy is a complex treatment that begins with the removal of a few million of the patient’s white blood cells, including T cells. These cells are then sorted and the T cells are reprogrammed. A virus is then used to insert an antibody-like protein, called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), into the T cells. This receptor latches onto a protein typically found only on leukemic cells and normal B cells. When they connect, the T cell kills the cancer cells.
The University of Chicago has been selected as one of the initial sites for new applications of CAR-T cells, based on new molecular targets that may work for other cancers, including multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease. Remarkable responses have already been seen in some patients, including Andrew Parker of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I invite you to read more about Mr. Parker’s CAR-T cell treatment at the University of Chicago Medicine, and listen to him talk about it in his own words in this excellent podcast.