The Medical Sciences Program in Bloomington is unique among the IU School of Medicine campuses in that it educates medical students seeking an MD as well as graduate and undergraduate students. Bloomington offers a Big 10 learning environment on an iconic campus.

With six major hospitals housing about 2000 beds, medical students in Evansville have access to physician educators in a range of medical specialties. An expanded residency program here will provide more than 100 new graduate medical education positions over the next few years.

The Fort Wayne campus offers clinical education in both rural and urban communities through two large hospital systems serving the region. A Student Research Fellowship Program offers med students nine weeks of summer research experience.

Students and faculty in Indianapolis benefit from close proximity to some of Indiana’s largest teaching hospitals and the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center. This campus offers medical education in the heart of one of the most progressive and economically healthy cities in the United States.

Muncie is the School’s only campus that’s located on hospital property, giving medical students a front-row four-year medical education with all the amenities that come with being located near the campus of Ball State University, a bustling college environment.

Located in a highly populated urban region just 25 miles from downtown Chicago, the Gary campus offers medical students unparalleled access to clinical care at 11 major teaching hospitals housing 2800 beds. An expanded residency program in Gary will accommodate more than 100 new graduate medical education positions.

IU School of Medicine-South Bend is located on the campus of Notre Dame, offering a rich campus life in a traditionally collegiate community. Students here gain clinical care experience at the Navari Student Outreach Clinic, and external funding for faculty research exceeds $2 million per year.

Known for its rural medical education program, IU School of Medicine-Terre Haute meets the increased need for physicians to serve rural communities throughout the state of Indiana and beyond. This unique four-year medical school program emphasizes primary care and other specialties of need in rural communities.

Located on the campus of Purdue University, the West Lafayette campus offers a Big Ten campus atmosphere and opportunities to supplement the MD curriculum with research experience in the collaborative labs and research centers here. This IU School of Medicine campus offers on-campus housing to med students.

Brown Center for Immunotherapy

What is cell-based immunotherapy?

What is Immunotherapy

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.

Why Immunotherapy Matters

Cell-based immunotherapy is widely considered one of the most promising and exciting potential treatments to emerge in at least a generation. While use of the therapy is still in its infancy, the results of small trials have been remarkable. For example, CAR T cell therapy has been successfully used to treat refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease that was previously considered universally fatal. In early trials at University of Pennsylvania, nearly 90 percent of patients treated with the therapy survived.

Frequently Asked Questions

Immunotherapy is a relatively new approach to fighting illness in which a patient’s immune system is energized to more effectively target a disease.

The primary target in immunotherapy treatments so far has been cancer. However, there is hope that the developing techniques may be applied to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other diseases.

Several methods of immunotherapy are being tested. At least initially, researchers associated with the Don Brown Center for Immunotherapy will focus on a technology known as chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells, or CAR T cells. T cells are important cells in the body’s immune system, but often cannot detect cancer cells due to the defenses put up by the malignant tumor cells. In this form of immunotherapy, a patient’s T cells are collected, programmed to identify and attack cancer cells, then re-inserted into the patient.

Two forms of cancer that have proven extremely difficult to treat effectively – multiple myeloma and triple-negative breast cancer – have been selected as initial targets for center researchers.

In some cases, immunotherapy has resulted in dramatic, long-lasting improvements in patients for whom all standard treatments had failed – to the point that they were declared cancer-free. In other cases patients improved significantly, but then relapsed. And in some patients, immunotherapy has not shown significant benefit.

All new therapies carry risks. With immunotherapy researchers and clinicians are learning that they must monitor patients closely in case their immune systems, having been energized to fight cancer, then begin to mount attacks against the patient’s organs. In some cases, such immune system attacks have been fatal, or have resulted in chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Some new immunotherapy drugs have proven to be extremely expensive. Because the CAR T approach is an early, experimental therapy, the costs are difficult to estimate. Initially, in more widespread use, CAR T therapy will not be inexpensive, though hopefully the costs will drop over time.