CAR T-cell therapy
CAR T-cell therapy is a very new treatment where your cells are modified in a laboratory to help your body to fight Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia cells.
How does it work?
T-cells are a type of white blood cell. They help your body fight infections and also kill any of your own cells that become abnormal, like the cancer cells that cause Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia. Cancer cells, however, are good at ‘hiding’ from T-cells, making it harder for them to find and kill.
CAR T-cell therapy has been developed to help T-cells find the cancer cells again. A person’s T-cells are collected and sent to a laboratory to be modified.
These modified T-cells – called CAR T-cells – are grown in a laboratory and then given back to the person, much like a blood transfusion. The modifications help the T-cells recognise the cancer cells, stick to them and kill them.
How can I get CAR T-cell therapy?
This type of treatment is very new and isn’t available to people with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia at the moment. There are some serious side effects to the treatment – around 1 in 5 people need to be treated in an intensive care unit following treatment – and it is still being tested in other forms of lymphoma.
However, the treatment does show the future of treatment for Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia and similar forms of lymphoma, especially in people whose WM has relapsed or is resistant to more traditional therapies.