Innovation Research

Is CAR T-cell therapy the future of cancer treatment?

University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Care Center is dedicated to advancing the treatment and prevention of cancer. This involves researching, developing, and offering the newest, most effective cancer treatment options.  

Holden is the first and only institution in Iowa authorized to administer CAR T-cell therapy, an innovative immunotherapy that trains the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells.  

The benefits of CAR T-cell therapy 

While this treatment is still relatively new, researchers and providers are seeing the benefits of CAR T-cell therapy and its potential to become the standard of cancer care. These benefits include: 

  • A shorter, one-time treatment, only requiring one transfusion and a two- to three-week hospital stay.  

  • No aggressive chemotherapy, which shortens the recovery time for most patients. 

  • CAR T-cell therapy is a “living drug,” meaning the CAR T-cells can persist in the body long-term, helping prevent relapse or worsening cancers.  

  • High remission rates. Clinical trials show that 80% of lymphoma patients went into remission and 50% into complete remission.  

CAR T-cell therapy is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat three specific types of cancer in children and adults: lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma.  

CAR T-cell therapy to treat solid tumors 

With their success in treating these forms of cancer, Iowa researchers are now actively exploring CAR T-cell therapy as a treatment for solid tumors. Iowa has ongoing clinical trials studying the effects of CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumors from: 

These clinical trials on solid tumors could extend this lifesaving treatment to many more cancer patients in the coming years. The results also could spur the development of additional clinical research trials focused on expanding the types of cancer treated with CAR T-cell therapy.  

As CAR T-cell therapy continues to provide effective treatment for various cancers, Iowa researchers are optimistic that it will play a vital role in the future of care for all forms of cancer.

Back to News