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The


ImmunoRevolution

How the global rise in immunotherapy is changing medicine

Using a patient's own cells to fight disease

CAR-T cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy, was first developed by Penn Medicine and was the first gene therapy to be approved by the FDA. It retrains healthy cells to hunt down and eliminate cancer cells. Penn Medicine is leading the world in delivering the promise of immunotherapy to you.

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The Story of Immunotherapy at Penn Medicine

The groundwork for immunotherapy began in 2003 with the mapping of the human genome. For the first time, we knew which genes affected which traits in the body. But actually changing those genes would require something more.

Over the next decade, Penn Medicine built on this knowledge, creating the first FDA-approved immunotherapy, called CAR-T cell therapy. CAR-T cell therapy is a groundbreaking technique for retraining the body’s T cells that Penn Medicine has used to treat hundreds of patients with cancer. It was first approved for treating leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

Today, Penn Medicine's world-leading researchers are developing new immunotherapies to treat cancer, as well as other diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, infectious diseases and more.

To learn more, call us at 215-316-5127 or request a call-back.

Hunting Cancer from the Inside

Cancer spreads quickly for a simple reason: The body can’t see it. Cancer cells start out as healthy cells, so when they mutate, they still look like healthy cells to the immune system. They’re camouflaged. The immune cells never attack.

With CAR-T cell therapy, we teach immune cells to recognize cancer cells. We take some of the body’s T cells (a type of white blood cell) and genetically retrain them to find a specific chunk of biological code — the cancer fingerprint. When the T cells are returned to the body, they hunt down and destroy all cells with that fingerprint. These engineered "hunter cells" live on in the body as a permanent defense long after the cancer is gone.

First developed by Penn Medicine, CAR-T cell therapy is now in clinical trials around the world in thousands of permutations for many diseases. At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center alone, clinical trials have already led to groundbreaking, FDA-approved therapies for lymphoma and leukemia. We hope to see similar results soon for glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. 

Although still in its infancy, CAR-T represents a turning point in the history of human medicine, a genuine revolution in our approach to disease.

Welcome to the ImmunoRevolution.

Interview with CAR-T Pioneer, Dr. June

Carl June, MD, is one of the pioneers of immunotherapy research, and he leads the team responsible for the historic CAR-T cell therapy FDA approval.

Listen to him discuss the journey that led to the first FDA approval of CAR-T cell therapy and how he believes cancer will be treated in the future.

Carl June with employees celebration FDA approval of CAR-T therapy at the Perelman Center

Additional Cutting-Edge Immunotherapy Treatments at Penn

Our dynamic research program is always growing. In addition to CAR-T cell therapy, we focus on other types of immunotherapy research, such as vaccine therapy and checkpoint inhibitors.

Interview with CAR-T Pioneer, Dr. June

Carl June, MD, is one of the pioneers of immunotherapy research, and he leads the team responsible for the historic CAR-T cell therapy FDA approval. Listen to him discuss the journey that led to the first FDA approval of CAR-T cell therapy and how he believes cancer will be treated in the future.

 

Donate to Support Immunotherapy Research

Our success with CAR-T cell therapy is all thanks to the help we’ve received from our partners, researchers, philanthropists, and fellow cancer visionaries. Donate today, so we can continue creating immunotherapy treatments to put more and more people in remission.