Cancer immunotherapy with CAR-T cells – behold the future

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Cellular therapy is a key tool to treat haematological malignancies. Over 40,000 allogeneic and autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCTs) are performed annually across Europe.1 Since 2017, a new T cell therapy, chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cells have been licensed outside clinical trials. CAR-T cells have extremely potent antitumour activity, but also have a profile of toxic side effects not seen before. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and CAR-T cell-related encephalopathy syndrome (CRES) are common, predictable and potentially lethal side effects. Patients frequently require admission to intensive care, and management from a number of medical specialties. This exciting and powerful new therapy requires the formation of new multispecialty medical teams for safe delivery and to successfully manage the resultant complications.

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