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CAR T Cells

CAR—chimeric antigen receptors—are genetically engineered protein constructs that can be incorporated into a patient’s own cytotoxic T cells to help them to recognize and fight cancer cells. This protein construct combines DNA from several genes to create a new T cell receptor that binds to antigens found on tumor cells and activates the T cell in response to that binding.

CAR T cell therapy is provided by removing or harvesting T cells from a patient with cancer, transfecting the cells with CAR genes that are directed against the patient’s tumor type, expanding the modified T cell population, and reinfusing the cells back into the patient. CAR T cells are still an investigational therapy, but results from early-stage clinical studies have been encouraging.