To simply put it, this is a therapy where a patient’s T-cells are changed to defend against cancerous cells. T-cells are pulled out from the patient itself. These cells are then breaded in the chemical workshop and infused in the patient.
Although cell therapy does not treat all types of cancers, the research and study to cure all kinds of cancers are ongoing at government and private hospitals in Adelaide.
Here are the three most important things you must know when you want to get cell therapy.
Collection of the T-Cells
The first and foremost step is the removal of white blood cells from the patient. This procedure is known as leukapheresis. For this procedure, two IV lines are required – blood is removed through one and white blood cells are separated, and then the blood is put back into the body through another line.
In some private hospitals in Adelaide, a particular type of line, CV Catheter, is used, which has both lines built-in. The patient needs to stay seated or to lie down for around 2-3 hours during this process. A particular side effect of this procedure is that some patients feel numbness because the calcium levels drop during this transfer. But nothing to worry about; it can be treated by replacing the calcium.
Making and Receiving T Cells
Once the collection process is over, the samples are sent to the testing location, and then genes are added for a specific receptor. This is the moment when cells are brought to life. These cells are then grown and multiplied, but the process can take up to several weeks.
However, before the infusion, the patient must go through chemotherapy. This process helps to weaken the number of other immune cells and gives the new cells a better chance to fight cancer.
Some very complex cancer treatments do benefit from cell therapy, but it can also cause severe or even life-threatening side effects. One of which is the Cytokine Release Syndrome. As cells multiply, they can release large amounts of chemicals into the blood, called cytokines.
These can damage the immune system, and serious side effects from this release cause – high fever and chills, choked breathing, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Also, headaches and fast heartbeat, fatigue, and joint pains are some common symptoms. Other severe allergic reactions during the infusion can also cause complications.
If you notice any such side effects, it is crucial to inform your doctor as soon as possible.