Right now, doctors at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) are working to unlock the potential that immunotherapy holds for cancer patients, one amazing discovery at a time. Many of the world’s leading immunotherapy researchers are based here at SCCA and our founding institutions, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine.
We are home to extraordinary resources specific to immunotherapy.
Realizing the promise of cellular immunotherapy
The promising research and results on CAR T-cell therapy are taking place in our brand-new and innovative Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic at SCCA. One place, where doctors, nurses, clinicians and each staff member plays a vital role in leading to better outcomes for our patients.
Opened in December 2016, the immunotherapy clinic at SCCA doubles our capacity to conduct trials of promising new cellular immunotherapy. The clinic features world-class oncology researchers and a support team of highly-trained nurses, technicians, clinicians and data experts: All working together to perfect a breakthrough cancer-fighting therapy that already has produced exceptional results.
David G. Maloney, MD, director of the immunotherapy clinic at SCCA, describes the treatment known as CAR T cells: “We can now take T cells from a patient and genetically modify them with a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, that’s actually based on an antibody. These modified CAR T cells then attack the patient’s own cancer. This has been remarkably effective, even in cases where cancer has been very advanced and has failed every known therapy—including bone marrow transplants.”
Together is better: T cells and antibodies
Redirected immune cells are what we now know as the most efficient destroyer of cancer cells, so it’s not surprising that cellular immunotherapies are the principal avenue of study in cancer research at our immunotherapy clinic. In addition to CAR T cells, clinical trials are underway that involve tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and cellular therapies using genetically modified T cells. Intensive research on antibody-based treatments is also underway with our partner organizations, Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine. Antibodies interact with T cells in the body, so it’s logical to design clinical studies that investigate the combined power of both.
SCCA thrives on bringing medical advances to patients. Our doctors not only know the latest clinical studies that may make a difference in combating your cancer, they are in many instances lead investigators in these studies.
Currently, the immunotherapy clinic is enrolling patients for clinical trials. In addition to acute lymphoblastic leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, clinical trials have expanded to include solid tumors such as non-small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. New clinical trials on a number of acute leukemias, mantle cell lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia are also being studied.
One team dedicated to your care and outcome
But beyond this, as an SCCA patient, you enter a community of caregivers and researchers who are dedicated to helping you and your family navigate the treatment complexities that cancer poses. An SCCA medical oncologist who specializes in your type of cancer will coordinate every aspect of your treatment. Together, you’ll create a short- and long-term treatment plan. And your cancer care team will make it easy for you to access all of the resources you need.
If your plan includes immunotherapy clinical trials, your oncologist will know what’s available and help you choose the treatment that has the most potential for you. Communication between your oncologist and the doctor leading the clinical trial happens in an efficient and timely way. Our goal is to make sure you always know exactly where your treatment is going.