Patients with leukemia typically need a bone marrow transplant, a procedure that replaces unhealthy bone marrow with healthy bone marrow. Bone marrow cells are killed with chemotherapy or radiation, and then new, healthy blood-forming cells are given to the patient through an IV. Once the transplant is complete, healthy blood cells begin to develop.
During this treatment, T-cells are taken from the blood and modified in a laboratory. When this process happens, a receptor called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is applied to the T-cells’ outside walls. When your modified T-cells are infused back into your body, the new receptor binds to the cells, enabling the T-cells to target and kill the cancer.
This type of treatment uses injected medications to kill off cancer cells. Because chemotherapy meds travel throughout the body, chemotherapy can be effective in treating acute leukemia that is spreading rapidly.
This type of treatment trains the immune system to fend off and destroy leukemia cells. Immunotherapy may also be called “biologic therapy.”
This type of treatment is typically used in coordination with others. During a stem cell transplant, cells damaged by radiation or chemotherapy are replaced by healthy stem cells, taken either from your own body prior to treatment or from a donor.
This type of therapy uses specialized medications that are focused, or “targeted,” on certain features of leukemia cells. Targeted therapy is often used for treating chronic, slower-moving leukemia.