Immunotherapy broadly refers to a variety of techniques used to spur the human immune system to fight disease. The Brown Center for Immunotherapy is particularly interested in the emerging field of cell-based immunotherapies.
How Immunotherapy Works
T cells–a type of immune cell–are extracted from a patient and engineered in a laboratory to recognize specific antigens on tumor cells through the insertion of a “chimeric antigen receptor.” Such modified T cells are known as chimeric T cells, or CAR T cells. Thousands of the CAR T cells are created and infused into the patient’s bloodstream. The cells act as a living drug that hunts down and kills the cancer cells. Importantly, these reprogrammed immune cells survive in the body for years, constantly patrolling for cancer cells and attacking them as they appear.