CAR T Cell Therapy for Cancer

One of the most promising areas of cancer research and treatment is known as immunotherapy, in which a patient’s own immune system is enlisted in the fight against cancer. This approach is more than just a narrow field of study at City of Hope. It is the central component of groundbreaking research and clinical trials currently underway.


 (877) 460-4673

City of Hope continues to be at the forefront of a powerful form of immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. Using this approach, immune cells are taken from a patient’s bloodstream, reprogrammed to recognize and attack a specific protein found in cancer cells, then reintroduced into the patient’s system, where they get to work destroying targeted tumor cells.

City of Hope is leading the way in advancing CAR T therapies by:

  • Applying our proprietary CAR T technology in active preclinical and clinical programs across a range of hematologic cancers and solid tumors
  • Partnering with global biopharmaceutical companies to make their therapies available to patients
  • Collaborating with other academic researchers to advance clinical research in areas of high unmet medical need


What is CAR T Cell Therapy?

New City of Hope trials are being conducted with memory T cells, a stem cell-like subset of immune cells that remain in your body after attacking the cancer. The hope is that they then grow into an active reservoir of cancer-killing cells capable of stopping future outbreaks.

Our history with CAR T cell therapy dates back to the late 1990s and builds on Stephen J. Forman, M.D.’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The City of Hope BMT program began in 1976 and has since grown into one of the largest, most successful programs of its kind in the nation. To date, more than 14,000 bone marrow transplants have been performed at City of Hope, with survival rates exceeding expectations for 13 consecutive years. 
Currently, we are investigating CAR T cell therapy as a bridge to bone marrow transplant for leukemia and lymphoma patients and are unique in our research of CAR T in combination with transplant.

How CAR T cell therapy works, as explained by Saul Priceman, Ph.D.

Among the diseases that City of Hope physicians and scientists are targeting with CAR T cell therapy are lymphoma, leukemia and glioblastoma, with trials for additional solid tumors opening in 2018 and beyond. City of Hope’s CAR T trials for glioblastoma — a type of aggressive brain tumor — were the first of their kind in the world to inject reengineered CAR T cells directly into the tumor site and cerebrospinal fluid. A case report was published in 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
We have one of the most comprehensive CAR T cell programs in the world, with 15 CAR T clinical trials ongoing and plans to open numerous additional trials in the coming year, including for patients with multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, liver cancer and breast cancer.

City of Hope, with its clinical care, research and production facilities all on one campus, is uniquely positioned to lead this work. Few institutions are capable of harnessing the same comprehensive “bench to bedside” resources necessary for the discovery, translational research, clinical development, manufacturing, quality assurance and delivery of leading-edge treatments for our patients. City of Hope has the ability to harvest, reprogram, multiply and deliver T cells all on the same campus. 

Key to City of Hope’s success in advancing lifesaving CAR T cell therapy is our legacy of patient-centered care — treating not just the illness but caring for the entire patient. Our community includes researchers, scientists, doctors, nurses and supportive care professionals, each of whom is dedicated to giving patients the chance to live longer, better and more fully.
While it’s being investigated for the treatment of many kinds of cancer, CAR T cell therapy is currently only available to certain patients, often those with relapsed disease or disease that has not responded well to other treatments. 

For more information

For all CAR T inquiries (patient, physician, clinical trials)
Media inquiries