Cellular Therapy Service

The Mount Sinai Health System is a leader in cellular therapy research and clinical applications for cancer and other conditions. Cellular therapy is a type of immunotherapy. It uses your immune system to attack tumors and kill harmful cells.

The immune system helps the body fight infections and diseases. It also can prevent or curb the growth of many cancers. However, cancer cells have ways to avoid destruction by the immune system. For example, genetic changes can make them less visible to the immune system. As cancer progresses, the immune system may become more and more compromised. This can contribute to tumor growth. Our Cancer Immunology Research Program is working on this area. We strive to identify the mechanisms that make it difficult for the immune system to defend itself against cancer. With this information, we will be better able to develop new immunotherapies.

There are several types of immunotherapy, as listed by The National Cancer Institute. This video from the National Cancer Institute explains how immunotherapy works.

One of the tools we use to treat cancer is adoptive cell therapy. This technique is also called T-cell transfer therapy T-cell transfer therapy. One of the most effective types of adoptive cell therapy is CAR T-cell therapy. It is particularly helpful for patients who have not benefited from other treatments. 

CAR T-cell therapy involves genetically engineering your T cells and then using them to recognize and kill your cancer cells.

In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two CAR T-cell therapies:

  • Kymriah for patients up to 25 years old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and adults with advanced lymphomas
  • Yescarta® for adults with advanced lymphomas

At Mount Sinai, we use Yescarta to treat relapsed/refractory lymphoma. We also use CAR T-cell therapies and similar cellular therapies in clinical trials. We are testing them with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells. We plan to test CAR T-cell therapies in other blood cancers, such as leukemia as well as non-malignant conditions such as pemphigus vulgaris and viral hemorrhagic cystitis associated with allogeneic bone marrow transplants. Other areas of interest for cellular therapies include solid tumors, such as metastatic melanoma, urothelial cancers, breast cancer, and brain cancer.

CAR T-cell therapy and adoptive cell therapy are not available everywhere. You can only receive this state-of-the-art treatment at authorized cancer centers with highly specialized expertise, such as The Tisch Cancer Institute. We conduct many of our clinical trials with the Early Phase Trial Unit at The Tisch Cancer Institute.

Click here for our clinical trials using CAR T-cell therapies and other adoptive cell therapies for multiple myeloma.