University of Minnesota Health to Now Offer FDA-Approved Immunotherapy Drugs for Patients with Lymphoma

Leading edge CAR T-cell therapy is available for patients at the University of Minnesota Health after Food and Drug Administration approval.

MINNEAPOLIS - May 24, 2018 – This month, patients at University of Minnesota Health are among the first to be offered a new immunotherapy drugs, Yescarta® or Kymriah® for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Yescarta and Kymriah are part of an emerging class of treatments, called CAR T-cell therapies. These types of treatments harness the power of a patient’s own immune system to kill cancer. University of Minnesota Health is one of only two sites in Minnesota offering both Yescarta and Kymriah. Kymriah is also FDA-approved for the treatment of pediatric leukemia.

Kymriah and the newly approved Yescarta work in similar ways. Both are a type of CAR T-cell therapy, which is itself part of a larger group of innovative treatments called immunotherapies. During CAR T-cell therapy, specialists extract a large number of T-cells from a patient’s blood. The T-cells are then genetically modified to target cancer. After receiving the modification, the cells are then reinserted into the patient’s body, where they go to work killing cancer cells.

“CAR T-cell therapy has revolutionized the way we approach cancer treatment and sets a precedent for cell therapies,” Dr. Bachanova says. “It’s the beginning of a new era, I believe, where immunotherapy treatments will supplement chemotherapy or perhaps even replace it in the future.” Hematologist/Oncologist Veronika Bachanova, MD, PhD, University of Minnesota Health and Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, University of Minnesota Medical School.

CAR T-cell therapies offer some patients another option in addition to traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation or a blood and marrow transplant. Though these therapies carry their own set of risks, the side effects are different from those of other cancer treatments and have a shorter window for complications.

About University of Minnesota Health
University of Minnesota Health represents a collaboration between University of Minnesota Physicians, Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Medical Center. Working together, we provide exceptional care in a wide range of specialties at our hospitals, clinics and in community-based facilities throughout the region. Visit: www.mhealth.org.

About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. Visit med.umn.edu to learn how the University of Minnesota is innovating all aspects of medicine.

Contact: Krystle Barbour
kbarbour@umn.edu
612-626-2767

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