Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy is an effective new treatment for hematologic malignancies. Two anti-CD19 CAR-T products, namely axicabtagene ciloleucel and tisagenlecleucel, have been approved for the management of relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two lines of systemic therapy. Additionally, tisagenlecleucel is indicated for refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia in pediatric patients and young adults up to 25 years of age. CAR-T cells are undoubtedly a major breakthrough therapy in hematooncology resulting in up to 90% response rate with durable remissions in population with refractory high-risk disease. However, there are serious side effects resulting from CAR-T therapy, including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS). Manifestations of CRS mostly include fever, hypotension, hypoxia, and end organ dysfunction. Neurologic toxicities are diverse and include encephalopathy, cognitive defects, dysphasia, seizures, and cerebral edema. Since the symptoms are potentially severe, practitioners need to familiarize themselves with the unique toxicities associated with these therapies. In this article, we present a practical guideline for diagnosis, grading and management of CRS and CAR-T neurotoxicity. In addition, infectious complications and late toxicities including prolonged cytopenias and hypogammaglobulinemia are discussed.
The objective of this paper is to present the process of the national and international accreditation leading to the establishment of the first certified chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) Cell Unit in Poland on the basis of the Department of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation in Poznan University of Medical Sciences and first successful CAR-T therapy in Poland. During 12 months from the initial decision to establish the CAR-T Cell Unit to the application of CAR-T cell treatment in the first patient, the center had to undergo the multidisciplinary external and internal training, as well as the adaptation of multiple procedures within the Transplant Unit and Stem Cell Bank. In order to get accreditation for the implementation of CAR-T cell therapy, an initial training of the team involved in handling cellular products and patient care was organized and updated as a continuous process. The Department fulfilled the site-selection international criteria. The first patient diagnosed for refractory/relapsed DLBCL was qualified, and finally CAR-T cells were administered with successful clinical outcome.