AACI Commentary

About Our Editorial Series

Exploring Topics of Interest to AACI Cancer Centers

To promote the work of its member centers, AACI publishes Commentary, an editorial series focusing on major issues of common interest to North American cancer centers. 

Each AACI Commentary is written by a cancer center leader and distributed by email to the more than 2,200 readers of the AACI Update newsletter. 

The publication is designed to cover a specific topic in 750-1,000 words. Recommendations for topics and authors are encouraged. 

Please submit suggestions to: 

Chris Zurawsky
Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Emily Stimmel
Communications and External Relations Coordinator

December 2018

A Revolution in Cancer Care

AACI's New Initiative Will Establish Best Practices in CAR T Therapy
By Joseph McGuirk, DO
Advances in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) technology are revolutionizing cancer treatment. By early 2018, nearly half of AACI cancer centers were approved to provide CAR T therapies. To establish best practices, AACI spearheaded a CAR T working group that became an initiative this fall. As steering committee chair, I am pleased to take the lead as we usher in the next phase of the initiative.

CAR T is a form of cellular immunotherapy – a rapidly evolving approach that harnesses a patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy is now considered the “fifth pillar” of cancer care, alongside surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy. 

CAR T has shown promising results in clinical studies, specifically related to chronic lymphocytic leukemia, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and multiple myeloma. In fact, in 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR T for the treatment of DLBCL and ALL. Yet despite a remarkable expansion of CAR T clinical trials for a broad array of hematologic malignancies—and, increasingly, solid tumors—many challenges remain.

Addressing these challenges is a tall order, but AACI is tackling them head-on through its CAR T Initiative. 

Read Dr. McGuirk's December 2018 Commentary. 
Learn more about the AACI CAR T Initiative.