What is CAR T-Cell Therapy?

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CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy against cancer in which the patient's own T-cells are genetically modified in the laboratory to recognise and attack cancer cells. 


The aim of the therapy is to modify the patient's immune system so that it can fight cancer cells more effectively. It is mainly used for certain types of blood cancer, such as leukaemia and lymphoma. 

CAR T-cell therapy is a multi-step treatment process that works as follows:

  1. Blood is drawn from the patient in a continuous process and passed through a device that filters the T-cells from the patient's blood.
  2. In a subsequent laboratory process, the blood is purified and the T-cells are selected and activated. They are genetically modified to carry a specific antigen receptor (CAR) that can recognise cancer cells.
  3. These modified cells are then expanded and stored until needed. Before the modified CAR T-cells are given back to the patient, the patient receives chemotherapy to suppress the patient's own immune system and make room for the modified T-cells.
  4. The modified T-cells are then infused back into the patient.
  5. This is followed by clinical follow-up in hospital. The CAR T-cells bind to the cancer cells and kill them. This lasts about two to four weeks. During this time, patients are monitored for any side effects and treated quickly if necessary. After successful CAR T-cell therapy, regular follow-up examinations are required to monitor the long-term success of the therapy.

CAR T-cell therapy requires a large number of complex devices throughout its multi-step process. At HSE•AG, we have a deep understanding of the automation needed for the various stages, from T-cell selection and genetic modification to cell expansion and infusion. We are actively collaborating with leading life science companies to develop advanced solutions that streamline these processes, making this life-saving therapy more accessible to a greater number of patients. Our expertise in integrating engineering knowledge with biological-medical applications ensures efficient development and implementation of these critical technologies.

In the next part of our blog series, we will look at the different types of cancer that can be treated with CAR T-cell therapy.


Dr. Dr. med. R. Kah

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