When traditional approaches are no longer effective, novel approaches that harness the power of the body’s innate immune cells to overcome cancer could help certain patients with B-cell lymphoma, B-cell leukemia, myeloma and even solid tumors. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy was the first cancer treatment made of immune cells and is the harbinger of significant advances on the horizon.

CAR T-cell therapy has been shown to provide patients with B-cell malignancies or myeloma with a sustained rate of remission after a single treatment. When it is successful, these patients do not need follow-up therapies such as maintenance chemotherapy to stay in remission.

World-renowned pioneers with a history of innovation in the field of immunotherapy, Medical College of Wisconsin physicians and researchers developed a type of CAR T-cell therapy that is dual-targeted against CD19 and CD20 cancer antigens. This first-in-human clinical research has paved the way for further study on a national scale.

Our researchers and physicians have access to the MCW cell-processing lab on the Froedtert & MCW campus — the only such onsite lab in Wisconsin. With this resource at their disposal, they are studying ways to make CAR T-cell therapy more potent and safer with fewer side effects. Their research is also designed to gain a better understanding of the specific characteristics of the patient population for which CAR T-cell therapy is most effective.

The ultimate goal is to be able to offer CAR T-cell therapy as a frontline treatment — and to extend it to patients with diseases beyond lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma. With many clinical studies underway, CAR T-cell therapy is likely next in line to gain Food and Drug Administration approval for myeloma treatment. Clinical research is also ongoing to discover new targets for CAR T-cell therapy so patients with other malignancies — including solid tumors — will, one day, benefit.

CAR T-cell therapy is just one among a host of immune effector treatments available for your patients through clinical trials at Froedtert & MCW Froedtert Hospital. Other examples include:

  • Natural killer cells: Donor lymphocytes that recognize abnormal cells and eliminate them — typically infused into patients after an infusion of their own stem cells.
  • Autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL): Cultured in a lab with lymphokines and infused into the patient to eradicate certain tumor cell targets.
  • T-cell receptor therapy (TCR): T cells that are engineered in a lab to recognize tumor-specific proteins on the inside of a cancer cell.

Open Immunotherapy Clinical Trials

View a complete listing of open cancer clinical trials at froedtert.com/research/clinical-trials. If you have questions, please call our Clinical Trials Office at 414-805-8900.

For Our Referring Physicians:

Access to clinical trials

The Froedtert & MCW health network gives patients and their referring physicians a distinct advantage.

Contact our physician liaison team for more information about our cancer programs or clinical trials or if you would be interested in meeting with any of the cancer team members.