In August 2016, doctors gave 33-year-old Nicole Gularte three to four weeks to live.
She had relapsed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) seven times over the last decade. ALL is a type of fast-moving blood cancer that causes the bone marrow to produce too many immature white blood cells, which can spread the disease to other parts of the body. If left untreated, ALL is deadly.
Nicole had exhausted all her treatment options – except one.
Her last hope was an experimental treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy.
In cell therapy, immune cells (T-cells) are extracted from the patient and sent to a manufacturing facility where they are carefully reengineered and reprogrammed to identify and destroy cancer cells. The reprogrammed T-cells are then sent back to the patient’s treatment location, where they are injected back into the patient’s bloodstream to find the disease and remove it from the body.
Nicole completed her CAR T-cell treatment on October 4, 2016. Five days later, she was declared cancer-free.