T-Cell Immunotherapy at UNC Lineberger

UNC Lineberger is leading a major initiative to harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Major investments in facilities and research are underway to bring life changing T-cell immunotherapy to the people of North Carolina. Clinical trials are expected to be opened in early 2016.


• Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight and defeat cancer with fewer side effects for the patient
• Immunotherapy is a powerful approach that systematically attacks cancer in the body
• Immunotherapy trains the immune system to target only the cancerous cells in the body
• Early clinical trials for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have shown more than 70% of patients with refractory leukemia responded to the treatment  

How does T-Cell Immunotherapy work?

T cells are taken from the patient and then genetically altered in the “clean” facility to have specific antigen receptors (called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs) on their surface. These receptors will attach to proteins on the surface of cancer cells. The T-cells are then multiplied in the facility and infused back into the patient’s blood.  These “super” cells then seek out the cancer cells and launch a precise immune attack against them. T-cell therapies have shown very encouraging results in early clinical trials against some advanced, hard-to-treat types of leukemia and lymphomas.  For many patients in these trials, there is no cancer found following the therapy.