CAR T CELLS: ENGINEERING IMMUNE CELLS TO TREAT CANCER

November 7, 2019 | 1:00 - 1:50 PM
CAR T-cell therapy is a promising treatment for patients with many types of blood cancer, including leukemia and lymphomas. It is a highly-specialized therapy that involves genetically modifying a patient's own T cells to attack their cancer.

ABOUT THE SESSION

For years, the foundations of cancer treatment was surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Over the past several years the use of  immunotherapy—therapies that enlist and strengthen the power of a patient’s immune system to attack tumors—has emerged .

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses specially altered T cells — a part of the immune system — to fight cancer. The patient’s T cells are collected from the blood, then modified to produce special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. When these CAR T cells are reinfused into the patient, the new receptors enable them to latch onto a specific antigen on the patient’s tumor cells and kill them. In 2017, two CAR T-cell therapies were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one for the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the other for adults with advanced lymphomas. Clinical trials of CAR T-cell therapy for other types of blood cancer are on going along with the use of CAR T-cell therapy for solid tumors.

CHAIR / MODERATOR

Cathleen Rowland, MSN, MPH, RN, OCN, BMTCN

Professional Development Manager in Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Nursing, Division of Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

 

PANELISTS

Devin Curley, BSN, RN, OCN

Staff Nurse, Department of Nursing, Division of Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

Caron Jacobson, MD

Medical Director, Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program, Department of Immune Effector Cell Therapy, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Alexandra E. Lynch, PA-C

Physician Assistant, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

Daria Mlynarski, BSN, RN, OCN

Staff Nurse, Department of Nursing, Division of Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

Lauren Spendley, MSN, NP

Program Manager, Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program, Immune Effector Cell Therapy, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

SPEAKERS

Alexandra E. Lynch, PA-C

Physician Assistant, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center

Alex Lynch is a physician assistant working in inpatient medical oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Duke University and her Masters of Medical Science and Physician Assistant degrees from Tufts University School of Medicine. She joined the DFCI team in 2016 after graduating from PA school and has been a part of the inpatient hematologic malignancies team since that time.

Caron Jacobson, MD

Medical Director, Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program, Department of Immune Effector Cell Therapy, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Caron Jacobson is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a clinician within the lymphoma group at Dana-Farber. Her research is in engineered cellular therapies, including CAR T-cell therapies, and she is the Medical Director of the Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program at DFCI. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Brown University and her Medical Degree from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she stayed for a residency program and chief residency in Internal Medicine before moving to Boston to complete a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the combined Dana-Farber/Massachusetts General Hospital program. She has been on faculty since 2012.

Cathleen Rowland, MSN, MPH, RN, OCN, BMTCN

Professional Development Manager in Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Nursing, Division of Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center

As a Professional Development Manager Cathleen Rowland is a nursing professional development specialist who promotes excellence and innovation in nursing care delivery, contributes to the professional growth and development of nursing staff and demonstrates clinical expertise by incorporating nursing theory and evidence informed practice. Cathy has been practicing in Oncology Nursing for 35 years with a focus on stem cell transplant. As a Professional Development Manager in Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant  she has developed, presented and evaluated educational programs for nursing orientation and competency. She has presented locally, nationally and internationally on topics related to Hematologic Malignancies, Chemotherapy, Stem Cell Transplant, Car -T Cells and Sepsis. She received a Master of Nursing Education from Walden University and Master of Public Health/Health Service Administration from Boston University School of Public Health. She has certifications from the Oncology Nursing Society in Oncology Nursing and Blood and Marrow Transplant.

Daria Mlynarski, BSN, RN, OCN

Staff Nurse, Department of Nursing, Division of Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center

Daria Mlynarski has been a registered nurse at the Dana Farber / Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center since 2004. She has dedicated her career to educating, caring, and mentoring cancer patient’s and their families through their journey. Her areas of expertise include Hematology/ Oncology / Immunology, Stem Cell Transplant and Car T Cell Therapy. In addition to her passion as a bedside nurse, her other responsibilities include serving as a charge nurse, precepting new nurses to Oncology, and staff education. She serves as a member of the Oncology Divisional Committee and the co-chair of her Unit Based Practice Council. Through her leadership on these two committees she has helped to create an Auto discharge pilot which helped to streamline BMT discharge education and improve the multidisciplinary communication involved with getting a patient and family discharged after transplant. She received a bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing and a minor in Biology from Rivier College. She holds a certification from the Oncology Nursing Society in Oncology Nursing. Daria has been practicing in Oncology Nursing for 19 years with a focus on stem cell transplant and heme malignancies. In addition to her Oncology career, her greatest achievement is being a mom to her 3 beautiful children.

Devin Curley, BSN, RN, OCN

Staff Nurse, Department of Nursing, Division of Oncology, Brigham Health/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center

Devin first started her nursing career graduating Magna Cum Laude from Curry College where she received her BSN in nursing. After graduating and passing her boards Devin started as a newly licensed nurse at Brigham and Women’s hospital working on 7B a Hematology/Oncology unit. Working there, Devin found a passion for quality improvement and joined the Unit Based Practice Committee. Devin now works on 4C where is she has a special interest in Car- T cells and Stem Cell Transplant. Devin has a certification from the Oncology Nursing Society in Oncology Nursing. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical Nurse Leadership Masters Program at Regis College and will be graduating in December of 2020.

Lauren Spendley, MSN, NP

Program Manager, Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program, Immune Effector Cell Therapy, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

Mrs. Spendley received her bachelor of science in nursing, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. She received her master of science in nursing from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a certified Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner and a certified Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 

Mrs. Spendley co-authored “Neurological toxicities associated with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy” which was published in Brain and she co-authored “Anti-CD19 CAR T-cell Therapy for Adult Patients with Refractory Large B-Cell Lymphoma”, published in the Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology (JADPRO).

Mrs. Spendley has been an integral part in the development of the Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and has been the program manager since its inception in March 2017. She has aimed to ensure that clinicians, particularly nursing, have a strong knowledge base in recognition and management of CAR T cell-related toxicities and that the institution has proper processes in place to continue to provide safe, high-quality care to a growing volume of patients. The program has become nationally known by patients and fellow cancer centers.