Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Michigan — With the recently announced FDA approval of Kymriah to treat adults with lymphoma, the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center is the first center in Michigan to offer all currently available CAR T-cell therapies.

Michigan Medicine has been on the front lines of CAR T-cell therapy, participating in the pivotal trials that led to the approval of the first FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy in 2017. 

“This is the dawn of a new and exciting era in cancer therapy,” says Gregory Yanik M.D., director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Michigan Medicine. “In many ways, we view this as the face of cancer treatment to come.”

Rogel Cancer Center is the first site in Michigan to offer all currently FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies: Kymriah and Yescarta for adults with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and Kymriah for children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The University of Michigan has one of the leading blood and marrow transplant programs in the country, recognized for innovative clinical research and clinical care. The hospital’s clinicians have 30 years of cell therapy experience and extensive experience managing side effects that can occur from this therapy.

What is CAR T-cell therapy?

Imagine an army of immune cells in your blood, trained to search and destroy your cancer cells. That is the idea behind a new form of immunotherapy called CAR T-cell therapy.

CAR T-cell therapy involves extracting billions of a patient’s own T cells – a group of pivotal, disease-fighting white blood cells – which are then turbocharged through bioengineering techniques that reprogram them to kill cancer cells. The technique essentially transforms the patient’s cells into what scientists call “a living drug.”

The development of CAR-T signals a new era in cancer therapy. Historically, cancer therapy has focused on administration of chemotherapy to patients. However, the side effects of chemotherapy can be tremendous, as chemotherapy attacks cells (both good and bad) that are actively growing when the chemotherapy is given. In contrast, CAR-T act as a tumor bullet. The CAR T-cells are ‘trained’ to target specific cancer cells, thus sparing normal tissue. 

“It is amazing,” says Yanik. “It really is. I can’t tell you how proud I am of the fact that we’re been able to treat these patients.

To learn more about CAR T-cell therapy, call the Cancer AnswerLine: 800-865-1125


University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center,

Michigan Health Lab,