Immunotherapy Offers Options in Cancer Care

Therapy uses patient's own immune system to fight cancer

Immunotherapy and cellular therapeutics represent the future of cancer care – and they are happening today, right here at our cancer center. Immunotherapy is a treatment in which the body’s own immune system is harnessed to fight back against cancer. The treatment can take several forms, including: 

  • Stem cell transplant, in which the patient receives healthy donor cells to grow a new immune system
  • Medication infusion, in which injected antibodies manipulate the patient’s existing T cells to attack cancer cells 
  • T-cell re-engineering, in which the patient’s own T cells are extracted from the body, genetically modified in a laboratory to fight cancer cells and returned by infusion to the patient’s body

The University of Kansas Cancer Center offers extensive experience in stem cell transplant, having performed more than 3,400 procedures in our program’s 40-year history. As a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and the region’s premier academic medical center, we are deeply committed to clinical trials that offer patients more options and greater access to the latest treatment discoveries.

Recently, our cancer center became one of the first sites in the nation to offer FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies. These include YESCARTA™ for treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in adults and KYMRIAH™ for treatment in patients up to 25 years old who have relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Learn more about these precision cancer therapies and explore our immunotherapy FAQ.

Heloise Gray's aggressive leukemia demanded aggressive treatment. With no full match to be found in the donor registry, Heloise opted to take part in a clinical trial  –   an infused immunotherapy that brought about complete remission.

How it works

Immunotherapy is a biological therapy that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma. For example, specific cells can be removed from the body and genetically modified or reprogrammed. When they are reintroduced into the patient, those cells have the ability to hunt and destroy the dangerous cancer cells.

Immunotherapy is one piece of personalized cancer care, considered the future of medicine by the National Cancer Institute. With this approach, treatment is tailored to the cellular level, with experts studying the individual’s cancer cells and then determining which type of therapy is most likely to destroy those cells. Other types of more traditional treatment include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

Immunotherapy at The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Immunotherapy is not yet as widely used as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but it has been approved to treat people with many types of cancer. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, our experts perform a high volume of procedures, including immunotherapy, to treat the most critically ill patients.

Because it’s a new type of treatment, many immunotherapies are being studied in clinical trials. And patients at The University of Kansas Cancer Center have greater access to more clinical trials.

In fact, we are the only cancer center in the area that offers access to National Cancer Institute clinical trials.

Concierge assistance for patients and families

At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, the rarest cases aren’t rare. We specialize in caring for patients with the most complex conditions. Our dedication to healthcare excellence and patient-focused care attracts patients from around the region and across the country.

Our central location makes us easily accessible by interstate, rail and air travel. No matter where patients come from, they can be here in a matter of hours.

Still, planning for a trip and being in an unfamiliar place for medical care can be overwhelming.

Our dedicated travel consultant and concierge assistant will help patients and visitors arrange their visit to The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Concierge services are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit our travel page or request a Patient Comfort & Travel Guide for information on nearby lodging, dining and other amenities. Call toll-free 844-323-1227, then press 4 to talk to a travel concierge. For international inquiries, call us at 00-1-913-588-1227.

Contact us about an immunotherapy clinical trial

  • •  Use this form to inquire about an immunotherapy clinical trial.
  • •  You can also call us at 913-588-1227 or toll-free at 844-323-1227. For international inquiries, call us at 00-1-913-588-1227.

View our immunotherapy FAQ page or download the PDF for more information, including eligibility and travel.

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The Future of Cancer Care

Immunotherapy works by using a patient's own immune system to attack cancer cells.

Immunotherapy for blood cancers is a breakthrough treatment. Learn more about the groundbreaking CAR T-cell treatment that helped Emily, YESCARTA®.