Why Is a Care Partner Essential for Patients Undergoing CAR T-Cell Therapy?
Why Is a Care Partner Essential for Patients Undergoing CAR T-Cell Therapy? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
How can care partners access support during the CAR T-cell therapy process? Expert Dr. Amitkumar Mehta discusses the support patients may need during CAR T and resources for accessing patient and family support.
Dr. Amitkumar Mehta is Director of the Lymphoma Program and CAR T Program and Medical Director of the Clinical Trials Office at O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Learn more about Dr. Mehta.
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What is the role of a care partner of a patient who is undergoing CAR T-cell therapy?
CAR T-cell therapy is very important therapy and has evolved as a potentially curative therapy in a relapse setting. It does have a downside. And downside, when I say is side effects, which needs to be monitored closely, and it has to be detected early and intervened early, right? Steroids, as well as tocilizumab (Actemra) or anti-IL-6 treatment, are very, very effective in mitigating some of the side effect of CAR T.
But the whole process is very involved, right? You have a patient identified. Then you go through collection. Some people might get some bridging therapy, then chemotherapy, and then they get admitted. Importantly, after the infusion for two months, some of them could have neurological side effect, and that’s why for label and for safety, the patients cannot drive for two months or operate heavy machinery.
So, the whole process requires a good support. In my opinion, when we screen a patient, that “Okay, somebody’s referred to me, or my patient going through a CAR-T process,” how to make sure that they have a caregiver. And caregiver is immensely important, not only for the safety but also moral support for the patient, right?
And, importantly, what I make sure is that they’re part of the whole discussion. When we sit down and discuss the whole process, side effects, what’s going to happen, they are there.
They know what their loved one is going to go through. So, caregiver support is immensely important. In some patients, unfortunately, they don’t have a caregiver support. For the sake of safety, we might have to give them opportunity to see whether they can actually secure some sort of support. Maybe their distant family member living in a different state and if they can live with them, or their neighbor, or their close friends. If they can bring them to the clinic visit so that we can also discuss with them the whole process. So, caregiver is a very, very important and vital part of the whole process of CAR T.