Cell Therapy Program

Cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy, or immuno-oncology, where a patient’s own immune system helps fight and destroy cancer cells. Hoag’s Cell Therapy Program will conduct a number of cell therapy clinical trials, contributing to the development of promising new therapies for some of cancer’s most advanced diseases.

Hoag is the first hospital in Orange County to offer cell therapy for solid tumors.


Natural Killer Cells

Cell therapy at Hoag studies the use of NK cells, or natural killer cells. These cells are the first responders that help the immune system recognize cancer and initiate a large immune response, resulting in the development of antibodies to fight a patient’s cancer. These NK cells can stay active in the body much longer than traditional chemotherapy drugs.

NK cells are a type of lymphocyte (a white blood cell) and part of the innate immune system. NK cells play a major role in immunity again viruses and the immunity surveillance of tumors. NK cells express various types of immunoreceptors that are designed to detect changes in cells.

NK cell therapy is the newest immunotherapy, following the introduction of CAR T cell therapy. However, unlike CAR T cell therapy, NK cell therapy has shown to be less toxic, resulting in less side effects. NK cell therapy at Hoag is also used for solid tumors, as opposed to blood cancers, where CAR T cell therapy has typically been applied.

“Immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer is here to stay. Cancer experts have seen a number of cell therapy trials that are now meaningfully expanding today’s cancer therapeutics,” said Burton Eisenberg, M.D., Hoag Family Cancer Institute and the Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair, executive medical director. “Hoag is joining the fight and pushing forward on some of the most deadly and challenging cancers to find new trials and therapies to provide new hope to our patients.”


Contact Us

For more information on immunotherapy trials at Hoag, please call 949-764-5543 or email clinicalresearch@hoag.org.