Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital, formerly Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, is now offering Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T therapy, an advanced immunotherapy treatment for patients with certain types of blood cancer.
“Having CAR-T therapy at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, benefits our community and our patients through increased access to novel cancer therapy,” says Dr. Ishmael Jaiyesimi, director of the cellular therapies clinical program. “Now that our patients can get this complex form of immunotherapy close to home with the support of friends and family, it will hopefully reduce emotional stress.”
CAR-T therapy harnesses the patient’s immune system in the fight against cancer. It helps the patient’s T-cells — white blood cells that protect the body from infection or disease — recognize, attack, and destroy cancer cells.
During this customized cancer treatment, the patient’s white blood cells are removed from their bloodstream through a process called apheresis. Using IVs, their blood passes through a machine that separates out white blood cells and returns the remaining components to the patient.
The millions of T-cells removed from the body are then genetically modified by adding a Chimeric Antigen Receptor or CAR, which arms the cells with a GPS-like ability to navigate to cancer cells. The T-cells are then infused back into the body, enhanced with the greater ability to recognize, target, and destroy cancer cells.
“This new approach helps support Beaumont’s mission of providing a continuity of care and top-notch quality cancer care in a safe environment,” says Jaiyesimi.
CAR-T therapy is the newest innovation in the treatment of blood cancers that are not responsive to traditional treatment. The first CAR-T therapy was FDA approved in 2017 and since then has continued to expand across many kinds of blood cancer.
The treatment is now used to fight hematologic malignancies, including refractory/relapse diffuse B-cell malignant lymphomas, follicular lymphomas, mantle cell lymphomas, multiple myelomas, and acute lymphoid leukemia in young adults.
The treatment has lasting effect due to the CAR T-cell’s ability to continue to replicate within the body for months to years after the initial infusion. Patients who responded to CAR-T therapy reported a meaningful increase in quality of life in certain areas such as general health, mental health, vitality, and physical and social functioning.
In related news: the Beaumont Accountable Care Organization is again the top performing ACO in Michigan in terms of earned savings generated, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The ACO generated $10.7 million in gross savings and earned $7.9 million for contract year 2021.
“Our strong partnerships between Beaumont Health (now part of Corewell Health) and physicians continues to help us transform health care by improving efficiency, reducing costs and improving care,” says Dr. Belal Abdallah, board chairman for Beaumont Health ACO. “We are proud to provide the best care to patients in a cost-effective manner.”
The Beaumont ACO is a physician and health system partnership with more than 4,000 physician members. It is built on the guiding principles of trust, transparency, and physician leadership. This partnership has allowed physicians and hospitals to share in cost savings resulting from their efforts to improve patient care and outcomes.
“The Beaumont ACO continues to exceed the target and create savings. We are always searching for ways to help patients manage their health by strengthening their relationships with physicians,” says Walter Lorang, executive director and COO at Beaumont ACO. “We collaborate with physicians to improve communication and information sharing among primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals.”
This is the 10th consecutive year the Beaumont ACO achieved significant cost savings, dating back to its origin as the Oakwood ACO. ACOs must meet financial and quality targets set by Medicare to achieve shared savings.