Tag Archive for: B-Cell Maturation Antigen

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About CAR T-Cell Therapy

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About CAR T-Cell Therapy from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What should you know when considering CAR T-cell therapy for myeloma? This animated explainer video provides an overview of key questions to ask your healthcare team and advice for patients and care partners when considering CAR T-cell therapy.

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Considering CAR T-Cell Therapy for Myeloma_ Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor

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Accessing Myeloma CAR T-Cell Therapy Clinical Trials


While receiving a myeloma diagnosis and choosing a therapy can be overwhelming, advancements in research are providing more options and more hope for patients than ever.  

And these advancements include CAR T-cell therapy a treatment in which a patient’s T cells, a type of immune system cell, are laboratory-altered to attack cancer cells in the body.  

If you are curious about this option, consider asking your healthcare team these key questions: 

  • Am I a candidate? 

CAR T-cell therapy patients must meet specific criteria. 

  • What are the risks? Common side effects of this type of therapy are cytokine release syndrome (CRS), neurotoxicity, suppressed immune system, and low blood counts. 
  • Is the timing right for me? The current approval is for patients who are later in their myeloma journey. 
  • Are there alternatives? Ask about other treatment options that may be appropriate for your myeloma. 
  • Is there a clinical trial that may be right for me? There are many myeloma treatments available in clinical trials, there may even be CAR T-cell therapy options. 
  • What is the cost? Every person’s insurance situation is different so it’s important to understand what the financial impact will be. 
  • What is the center’s experience with CAR T-cell therapy? Your healthcare team should be well-versed in this type of treatment. 

Beyond asking these questions, it’s also critical to research the therapy on your own –– ask your doctor where to find reliable information about the options you are considering.   

You should also discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option with your healthcare team, inquiring about potential side effects, and understand how the treatment is administered and the frequency of appointments. 

And it’s always a good idea to review your treatment choices with a care partner, such as a friend or loved one – someone you trust. 

Finally, always speak up and ask questions. Remember, you have a voice in YOUR myeloma care. 

To learn more about myeloma and to access tools for self-advocacy, visit powerfulpatients.org/myeloma.  

What Is CAR T-Cell Therapy for Myeloma?

What Is CAR T-Cell Therapy for Myeloma? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How does CAR T-cell therapy work to treat myeloma? This animated video provides an overview of the CAR T-cell process, explains which patient this treatment could be appropriate for, and reviews potential side effects.

See More From Innovative Myeloma Therapies

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What Is Myeloma CAR T-Cell Therapy?

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How Is CAR T-Cell Therapy Changing the Myeloma Treatment Landscape?

What Are the Risks of CAR T-Cell Therapy?


CAR T-cell therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient’s own immune system cells, also known as T cells, are reprogrammed in a laboratory to attack cancer cells.  

The process involves removing T cells from the patient’s blood. Then, the T cells are sent to a laboratory where a gene for a special receptor that binds to a protein on the patient’s cancer cells is added to the T cells. The special receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor.  

When this process is complete, the cells are put back into the patient’s body by infusion. The altered T cells then attack and destroy cancer cells in the patient’s body. 

In myeloma patients, the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies recognize a protein called B.C.M.A. on the surface of myeloma cells. 

Now that you know how CAR T-cell therapy works, who is CAR T-cell therapy right for? 

  • While still a new treatment, CAR T-cell therapy is currently approved for people with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have already received four or more lines of therapy. 

While every patient reacts differently to CAR T-cell therapy, some of the potential side effects may include: 

  •  Cytokine Release Syndrome, which occurs when the immune system responds to infection or immunotherapy drugs more aggressively than it should. Symptoms may include fever, nausea, fatigue, and body aches.
  • Another potential side effect is neurotoxicity, which may cause negative effects on the nervous system such as confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding, loss of balance or consciousness, tremors and seizures. 
  • And blood count recovery can be slower following CAR T-cell therapy.   

So, what should you ask your doctor about CAR T-cell therapy? 

  • Is CAR T-cell therapy available at this cancer center? 
  • Is CAR T-cell therapy an option for me now or in the future? 
  • What is the cost of this therapy? 
  • What are the risks and benefits of this approach? 
  • What can I expect during the recovery process? 

To learn more about innovative myeloma therapies and to access tools to help you become a pro-active patient, visit powerfulpatients.org.