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Is CAR T-cell therapy a last resort?

Is CAR T-cell therapy a last resort?

CAR T-cell therapy is a powerful type of cancer treatment that uses modified immune cells to target and attack cancer cells. While potentially life-saving, CAR T-cell therapy is not always the most appropriate treatment. Depending on the circumstance, CAR T-cell therapy may be considered unsafe and reserved only for some patients.

What is a last resort treatment?

Last resort treatments offer benefits at the cost of simultaneous dangers. Treatments that pose more severe health effects may be considered in cases where the mortality rate is considered very high. 

CAR T-cell therapy has the potential to produce long-lasting results in some patients, and the treatment has even been shown to lead to complete remission. However, CAR T-Cell therapy is not suitable for every patient. Even though it does not pose sufficiently high risks, it still causes possible effects for some patients. It may only be an option for patients who have not responded to other types of therapies or those who are not eligible for certain treatment types.

CAR T-cell therapy is sometimes understood as a last resort treatment option for patients with specific types of cancer that have not found success with other treatments. The reason is that CAR T-cell therapy is a new treatment only approved for use for only a few cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. 

Disadvantages of CAR T-cell therapies

Another reason why CAR T-cell therapy might be considered a last resort therapy is that it poses several risks. Some of these disadvantages include:

  • Cost – CAR T-cell therapy can be prohibitively expensive and is often not covered by many insurance plans.

  • Time – CAR T-cell therapy is often considered to be a highly involved treatment, requiring significant time and frequent visits for treatment.

  • Side Effects – Like other types of cancer treatment, CAR T-cell therapy poses potential side effects. These side effects typically affect the immune system, potentially causing the immune system to become overactive or toxic to the nervous system, combined with more common side effects, including higher risks of infection and bleeding.

Learn more about how CAR-T cell therapy works