Medical oncologist Renier Brentjens describes an innovative therapy developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering in which a patient’s own T cells are modified in the laboratory with an artificial receptor (chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR) that can be focused on specific cancer cell proteins. Researchers used this approach to modify T cells to recognize the CD19 protein, which is active in some patients with leukemia and lymphoma. In a phase I clinical trial designed to determine the optimal dose of the therapy and to assess its effectiveness, investigators witnessed a dramatic response, with all participants achieving remission. Isabelle Rivière, Director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cell Therapy and Engineering Facility, notes that Memorial Sloan Kettering’s ability to modify these T cells on-site makes it possible for the institution to be the first to evaluate this novel treatment in patients. Memorial Sloan Kettering is now looking for partners at other centers to participate in a larger multicenter phase II study of this promising therapy.