Definition of Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell treatment (CAR-T):

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell treatment (CAR-T): a new form of treatment for certain leukemia and lymphomas in which a person's own normal immune cells, in this case T lymphocytes, are re-engineered in a laboratory to attack leukemia or lymphoma cells. The re-engineered cells are then re-introduced into the patient's bloodstream. This treatment has been used for people with B cell lymphomas that have relapsed or are refractory to treatment. It also is an approved treatment option for certain cases of leukemia. In 2018, the US FDA approved tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse. CAR-T therapy is also available in clinical trials.

CAR-T falls into the classification of immune therapies known as adoptive cell transfer (ACT), which refers to collecting and using patients' own immune cells to treat their cancers.


Signs of Cancer in Men: Could it Be Cancer? See Slideshow
CAR T Cells: Engineering Patients' Immune Cells to Treat Their Cancers. National Cancer Institute. Updated: Dec 14, 2017.

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