Seattle Children’s doctors and researchers are leading efforts to better treat cancer in children, adolescents and young adults by boosting the immune system with immunotherapy. Clinical trials developed at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research – PLAT-02 and ENCIT-01 – focus on T-cell therapy. Seattle Children’s is the only hospital enrolling pediatric patients in these trials.

Is T-cell therapy effective?

The clinical trials necessary to answer that question are ongoing, but early results are very promising:

  • In June 2016, Seattle Children's announced that 39 of 42 patients treated thus far in the Phase 1 PLAT-02 clinical trial using immunotherapy to treat relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have achieved complete remission. This is a 93% remission rate. Learn more.

How does T-cell therapy work?

T cells are white blood cells in the immune system that fight infection. In T-cell therapy, T cells are taken from the child’s own blood. Using laboratory techniques, we reprogram the T cells to recognize cancer cells, and we grow the reprogrammed T cells into billions of cells. When returned to the child’s body, the T cells seek out and destroy cancer cells without harming normal, healthy cells.

Our doctors hope T-cell therapy will transform care for some childhood cancers, making treatment more effective, in less time, with milder side effects. We develop clinical trials of novel therapies like this so we can continue to provide the highest level of care for each child.


Discover a World Without Childhood Cancer

Watch Dr. Michael Jensen describe this new immunotherapy treatment for childhood cancer.

Who can benefit from the studies?

  • PLAT-02 – Children and young adults with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or other CD19+ acute leukemia who are not likely to survive with current treatments
  • ENCIT-01 – Children and adolescents with recurrent or refractory neuroblastoma who are not likely to survive with current treatments

Are there side effects?

The side effects of T-cell therapy are similar to having a bad infection. This new targeted therapy is used earlier in a child’s treatment, reducing the need for chemotherapy and radiation, which often have more severe side effects.

For many children, the T-cell therapy may be the last treatment they need. If T-cell therapy puts these patients into remission and the remission provides a long-term cure, this means T-cell therapy is more effective than their previous therapy. Such results could support replacing traditional cancer therapies with T-cell therapy.

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Strong Against Cancer logo transparentThrough our Strong Against Cancer initiative, we’re leading the fight against childhood cancer with new immunotherapy treatments. Learn how you can get involved.