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CAR T cell infusion

How does this medicine work?

CAR T cell infusion products work by using your own genetically-altered blood cells to treat cancer.  Blood is removed through an IV and needed cells are separated out. Other blood components are returned to you. A virus is used to create a protein (called a chimeric antigen receptor or CAR) on the surface of T cells that allows them to detect cancer cells. When the modified cells are given back they find and destroy targeted cancer cells.

How is the medicine given?

The CAR T cell product is given IV. You will be monitored during and after the infusion for signs of reaction or side effects.  

What are the side effects?


  • Fever
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Liver or kidney changes
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Difficulty walking
  • Headache
  • Blood count changes


  • Loss of appetite
  • Rash
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of bleeding

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • Fever, chills
  • Confusion, tremors
  • Arm or leg swelling
  • Cough, shortness of breath, sore throat
  • Signs of an allergic reaction:

            - rash or hives

            - wheezing

            - trouble breathing-call 911


What else do I need to know?

Following the CAR T cell infusion if you need any emergent care let the staff know you have received this product and should not receive steroids unless absolutely necessary.

You or your child will have regular blood tests before and after receiving this medication. This is to make sure all of the body’s organs are working properly.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child’s care.

If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Reviewed Hem/Onc 7/2017

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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