Experimental cancer therapy holds great promise — but at great cost

Soon after she received the treatment, medicine Karen Koehler’s brain swelled. Her blood pressure plummeted. As she fell into a coma, patient her husband and sister sat at her bedside — urging the doctors to keep pushing her farther along the razor’s edge between life and death.

Koehler was undergoing a promising — and terrifying — experimental therapy that her oncologists hoped could rid her body of cancer entirely. It’s called CAR-T therapy, advice and it works by engineering the patient’s own immune cells to attack cancer.

One of the hallmarks of CAR-T: It has to nearly kill you if it’s going to save you.

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