First Coast News
by Juliette Dryer
Tanis Milicevik and her family love to travel, but for so many years they were unable to plan ahead. Would she be well enough? Would she be getting cancer treatment? Milicevik was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 10 years ago when the younger of her two sons was just a baby. She was treated and went into remission for five to six years before the cancer came back...When the cancer returned, Milicevik turned to Mayo Clinic. Under the care of Dr. Mohamed Kharfan Dabaja, director of the blood and marrow transplant and cellular therapies programs, Milicevik became the first patient to receive CAR-T cell therapy at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. “Here she is over three months later with no evidence of any lymphoma in her body,” Kharfan said.
Reach: First Coast News refers to three television stations in Jacksonville, Florida. WJXX, the ABC affiliate; WTLV, the NBC affiliate; and WCWJ, the CW affiliate.
Context: Mayo Clinic is the first cancer center in Northeast Florida to offer chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR T-cell therapy) for patients with relapsed large B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma who have previously failed two or more lines of treatment. This cell-based immunotherapy is one of the most promising new areas of cancer treatment.
CAR T-cell therapy involves collecting the patient’s own white blood cells (T-cells) and then genetically re-engineering them in the lab to recognize and kill a specific type of cancer cells. Once processed, the modified cells are frozen and returned to the hospital for IV infusion into the patient. Prior to receiving the T-cells, patients undergo a short chemotherapy regimen. Once infused, the CAR T-cells proliferate in the body, and begin to recognize and attack cancer cells. You can read more about CAR T-cell therapy here.
Contact: Kevin Punsky