Inside a small bag that attaches to a tube in a patient&rsquo;s arm is the future of cancer treatment. Within a bag of thick liquid are cells that have been harvested from the patient&rsquo;s own blood, then re-engineered in a lab to become a personalized army of highly effective, microscopic serial killers with one mission: target and destroy cancer cells on sight. It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it represents the way cancer scientists are harnessing the power of cellular and immune-based cancer therapies at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center &ndash; Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC &ndash; James) and the&nbsp;Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology (PIIO). &ldquo;Science for the sake of science is incredible, but what drives us every day is making discoveries that will positively impact patients at the bedside,&rdquo; said Marcos de Lima, MD, a hematologist at the OSUCCC &ndash; James. &ldquo;Cellular therapies are such an exciting development that are already providing positive outcomes for patients who previously had few treatment options. We have only just begun to unlock the potential of this new modality of treatment.&rdquo; De Lima joined the OSUCCC &ndash; James in April 2021 to lead its Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, which works to conduct research and treat patients with cancers of the blood, also known as &ldquo;liquid&rdquo; tumors. Like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, cellular therapy is used to treat certain cancers. This treatment approach involves modifying either a patient&rsquo;s own cells or cells from a healthy donor to directly destroy specific cancer cells. In October 2017, the OSUCCC &ndash; James was among the first cancer hospitals in the United States to offer cellular therapy for blood cancer: CAR T-cell therapy (chimeric antigen receptor therapy). Since then, four CAR T-cell therapy products have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of various blood cancers. The OSUCCC &ndash; James has treated more than 300 patients with this therapy and remains the only hospital in central and southern Ohio to offer this highly specialized treatment approach. &ldquo;Much of cancer research for blood cancers is now focused on how we reduce side effects and produce more durable, long-term survival &mdash; or even curative treatment &mdash; for our patients,&rdquo; de Lima said.&nbsp; Blood cancers develop when the marrow &mdash; the tissue within bones, where all new cells in the body develop before entering the bloodstream &mdash; become crowded with abnormal, cancerous cells so that normal, healthy cells can no longer grow. These cancer cells then enter the bloodstream, making the person sick and leaving them at serious risk for infection and other side effects. Treatment often involves a bone marrow transplant, which employs heavy chemotherapy to flush these &ldquo;bad&rdquo; cells from the blood and marrow, and introduces new &ldquo;good&rdquo; cells from a donor to help restore the normal balance of blood cell growth. While blood and bone marrow transplantation is a well-established, highly effective treatment for many blood and marrow cancer patients, about 40% of patients will have a relapse (meaning the cancer comes back) and toxicity derived from undesirable cells within the graft (transplanted blood cells), de Lima said. &ldquo;This is where cellular therapies come in and are incredibly exciting for long-term patient outcomes. A common way for cancer to escape immune system detection is to disguise itself as a normal cell. Cellular therapy works by increasing the ability of cells to recognize cancerous cells and also by potentially repairing the underlying driver of malfunction in the blood development process,&rdquo; de Lima said. &ldquo;We know this approach works for several types of blood cancer, and we are exploring this type of therapy&rsquo;s potential in solid tumors, like lung and breast cancer, and even in non-cancer diseases. &ldquo;Ohio State is set to be a powerhouse for this type of research and treatment, and we are honored to bring this to patients in the central Ohio community and beyond.&rdquo; Numerous cellular therapy clinical trials are underway at the OSUCCC &ndash; James. To learn more about treatment and clinical trials, visit cancer.osu.edu or call 800-293-5066.