Treatment News

Kansas Mom of Three Among the First in the World to Undergo Latest FDA-Approved Cancer Treatment Therapy

3.0 from 14 votes
Friday, February 23, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - As a mother of three, a blood cancer diagnosis four years ago for 36-year-old Emily Dumler was devastating news. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Dumler wound up undergoing six rounds of outpatient chemotherapy. And while doctors thought the cancer was gone, it returned a year later.

After a stem cell transplant didn't work -- leaving her seemingly out of treatment options and with a prognosis of only six months left to live -- her doctor, Dr. Joseph McGuirk, director of blood cancers and stem cell transplants at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, refused to give up and identified an innovative solution for Dumler. He located a clinical trial at another hospital in Houston and encouraged her to apply. Dumler was accepted and became only the third person in the world to undergo this revolutionary treatment, called CAR-T.

Her story was featured on NBC's TODAY Show as Dumler, her husband and Dr. McGuirk recounted the journey (see the video here).

The therapy involves removing a patient's T cells -- a type of white blood cell -- and genetically engineering them to recognize and attack the patient's tumors. The T cells are then put back into the patient's body.

"A revolution in cancer medicine is ongoing right now," says McGuirk, who previously oversaw a CAR-T clinical trial at The University of Kansas Cancer Center that showed promising results. "When patients develop cancer, the T-cells have failed to do their job, because part of their job is surveillance for misbehaving cells or abnormally shaped cells – recognize that and attack and destroy them."

Unlike traditional intensive chemotherapies or radiation, CAR-T "re-arms" patients' immune systems, allowing them to do the work.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the gene therapy, named Yescarta, to treat adults with large B-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, who have failed to respond to other treatments. The University of Kansas Cancer Center is one of the few facilities to offer this CAR-T therapy.

A full video of Emily's story and the treatment is available here.

The University of Kansas Health System is the region's premier academic medical center, providing a full range of care. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, and their various leading-edge research projects. The constantly growing facility contains 768 staffed beds (plus 24 bassinets) and serves more than 37,500 inpatients annually. Eight of its medical and surgical specialty areas are ranked nationally by the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospital" lists, including Cancer (#25), Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#36), Gastroenterology and GI Surgery (#34), Geriatrics (#18), Nephrology (kidney) (#46), Neurology & Neurosurgery (#46), Pulmonology (#32) and Urology (#17). The cancer program is part of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, one of 69 National Cancer Institute-designated programs in the U.S. The hospital has received Magnet nursing designation three times in a row, reflecting the quality of care throughout the hospital, an honor awarded three consecutive times to only 3.7 percent of the hospitals nationwide. The hospital also houses the region's only accredited burn center, the area's only nationally accredited Level I Trauma Center and a leading quality transplant program in liver, pancreas, kidney, heart and bone marrow. For more information, visit The University of Kansas Hospital receives no state appropriations and is financed through operating revenue, bonding authority and philanthropy.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Mail Stop 1027
Kansas City, KS 66160

Chris Wilson, Director of Public Relations and Communications
Phone: 913-945-6017

Source: The University of Kansas Cancer Center
3.0 from 14 votes
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