Adoptive Cell Transfer (ACT)

A form of cancer treatment in which the immune cells are removed from a patient, modified to enhance their ability to fight cancer, and then reinfused back into the patient.


The process by which blood is drawn from a patient and separated into its different components, typically used to collect the T cells for CAR-T cell therapy.

Autologous Cells

Cells that come from the same individual. In CAR-T cell therapy, the T cells are typically autologous.

B Cells

A type of white blood cell that is responsible for producing antibodies as part of the immune response.

Cancer Immunotherapy

Treatments that enhance the immune system's ability to fight cancer.

CAR (Chimeric Antigen Receptor)

A receptor that is genetically engineered and added to T cells to help them recognize and attack specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells.

CAR-T Cell Therapy

A type of cancer immunotherapy where a patient's T cells are removed, genetically modified to express a CAR that targets cancer cells, and then reinfused back into the patient.


Proteins that are produced by immune cells and play a role in cell signaling.

Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS)

A systemic inflammatory response that can occur after infusion of CAR-T cells, potentially leading to high fever, low blood pressure, and other symptoms.

Immune Checkpoint

A regulator of the immune system that can either stimulate or inhibit immune responses. Some cancer cells can manipulate these checkpoints to avoid being targeted by the immune system.


A type of white blood cell, which includes T cells and B cells.


The intentional reduction of lymphocytes in the patient's body, usually through chemotherapy, to enhance the effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapy.

T Cells

A type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in the immune system's ability to recognize and kill foreign or abnormal cells.

Tumor Antigens

Proteins on the surface of cancer cells that can be recognized by the immune system.


A tool used by molecular biologists to deliver genetic material into cells. In the case of CAR-T cell therapy, a vector is used to introduce the CAR gene into the T cells.


A potential side effect of CAR-T cell therapy, which can lead to neurological symptoms like confusion, aphasia, seizures, and others.

Bridging Chemotherapy

Treatment given to manage cancer growth and symptoms while waiting for CAR-T cells to be produced. This typically involves chemotherapy or other anticancer treatments.


A type of cancer that originates in the blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow. It leads to the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells.


A type of cancer that begins in the cells of the lymphatic system, a part of the body's immune system. There are several types, including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Multiple Myeloma

A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell responsible for producing antibodies. It typically affects the bone marrow, leading to anemia, bone pain, kidney dysfunction, and a weakened immune system.


Reduction of the activation or efficacy of the immune system. It can be a side effect of some cancer treatments, including high-dose chemotherapy used before CAR-T cell therapy.

Relapsed/Refractory Disease

Terms used to describe the course of the disease. "Relapsed" means the disease came back after a period of improvement or remission. "Refractory" means the disease does not respond (or no longer responds) to treatment.


A period in which the signs and symptoms of cancer are reduced or have disappeared.

Cell Persistence

The extent to which the modified T cells remain alive and functional in the patient's body over time.

Cell Expansion

The process by which the modified T cells multiply in the body after being reinfused.

Off-the-Shelf CAR-T

A term for CAR-T cell products that are derived from T cells of healthy donors, rather than the patient, and are engineered to be universally compatible.

Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD)

A potential complication of allogeneic transplants, such as off-the-shelf CAR-T, in which the donated immune cells attack the recipient's body.


A measurable indicator of some biological state or condition, such as a specific protein level, gene mutation, or other characteristic that can indicate the presence of disease or predict response to treatment.

Monoclonal Antibody

A type of protein made in the lab designed to bind to specific targets on cells. They can be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive substances directly to cancer cells.

Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs)

A type of targeted therapy that combines a monoclonal antibody with a chemotherapy drug. The antibody directs the drug to the cancer cell to deliver the chemotherapy directly to the cancer, reducing the impact on normal cells.

B-Cell Aplasia

A potential side effect of CAR-T cell therapy, especially in treatments targeting CD19, a protein found on B cells. This results in the lack of normal B cells in the body, leading to a risk of infections.

Immune Effector Cell-Associated Neurotoxicity Syndrome (ICANS)

A condition that can occur following CAR-T cell therapy, causing various neurological side effects including confusion, difficulty speaking, seizures, and sometimes severe complications like cerebral edema.


A condition characterized by a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood, which can be a side effect of CAR-T cell therapy.


A condition characterized by an abnormally low count of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps fight off infections by bacteria and fungi.


A condition characterized by abnormally low levels of platelets in the blood. Platelets are necessary for the blood clotting process, so thrombocytopenia can lead to increased bleeding and bruising.

Infusion Reaction

Symptoms that occur during or immediately after the CAR-T cell infusion. These reactions can range from mild (fever, chills, nausea) to severe (difficulty breathing, low blood pressure).

Delayed Onset Toxicity

Side effects that occur weeks to months after CAR-T cell therapy, including prolonged cytopenias, hypogammaglobulinemia, and others.

Emily Whitehead

The first patient treated with CAR-T therapy was a child named Emily Whitehead. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and received this treatment at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 2012 after traditional treatments failed. She had a dramatic response to the CAR-T cell therapy and her story has become well-known as a landmark moment in cancer treatment.


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