It was like seeing your first child being born,” said Michael Bishop, MD. “I was at the bedside, watching those cells go in, several million modified lymphocytes from just this little package. To see them flow in is exciting, even amazing. Then, suddenly, it’s over. My first thought was: Is that it? That’s all it takes, that little amount of cells?”
It was Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Bishop, professor of medicine and director of the Hematopoietic Cellular Therapy Program at the University of Chicago Medicine, was carefully observing, along with about a dozen members of his team, the first chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) infusion, a newer form of immunotherapy, at the University of Chicago Medicine.
The process began around 9:30 a.m. Just after 10, the cells arrived, in a metal cooler packed with liquid nitrogen. The cell processing lab technician removed the small packet of frozen cells and gently began to thaw them.