Advancements in genetics, bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy are leading to better outcomes for blood cancer patients at Ohio State. &ldquo;When a patient comes in, we get a sample from their bone marrow to know the genetics of their leukemia,&rdquo; says Sumithira Vasu, MBBS, the scientific director of The James Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and a member of Ohio State&rsquo;s Leukemia Research Program. &ldquo;We want to know what is causing the leukemia to grow and cause so much damage, and these genetics help us decide if is likely to be cured with chemo alone, or does it need a bone marrow transplant or cellular therapy.&rdquo; That initial work allows specialists such as Vasu to team with patients to formulate comprehensive treatment plans tailored to each individual case, many of which include groundbreaking therapies studied at the OSUCCC &ndash; James, one of the nation&rsquo;s leading Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Vasu shares more details about blood cancer innovation at Ohio State on our Cancer-Free World Podcast. Listen via the video player above, or on SoundCloud. New cellular therapies, such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T-Cell therapy) have showed great early promise at The James and have since proven to be game changers for many patients. &ldquo;We take stem cells out of the body of a patient or a donor, send them to the lab and super charge them [through genetic modification] and then put them back in the patient&rsquo;s body,&rdquo; Vasu explains. These new super-charged T cells can now better detect, target and kill the cancer cells in the blood. Learn more about blood and marrow transplant at Ohio State. To accomplish this feat, the modified T cells hunt for CD19, a protein that binds itself to the outside of cancer cells, tricking the immune system into leaving them alone. &ldquo;Now, because of the gene modification, they recognize the CD19,&rdquo; Vasu says. Learn more about genetic counseling at the OSUCCC &ndash; James. The OSUCCC &ndash; James was one of a small group of Comprehensive Cancer Centers that conducted the first clinical trials of CAR T-Cell therapy. Now, Vasu and her colleagues are among the leaders in the next phase of the process. In the past, the bone marrow taken from patients was sent to a lab across the country for the genetic kick start. &ldquo;We are now one of only a handful of labs in the United States that have the capability of manufacturing these cells in our facilities,&rdquo; Vasu says, adding that OSUCCC &ndash; James researchers have identified two other targets in leukemia cells to attack &mdash; CD20 and CD22. In the coming years, the advances and technologies utilized in CAR T-Cell transplants could help patients with cancers of the lungs, breasts and more. &ldquo;I am very optimistic about the future and our ability to help the maximum number of patients,&rdquo; Vasu says. Learn more about blood cancer, including risks, symptoms and treatment options at Ohio State.