Corewell Health is the new name for Beaumont.

One Unified System of Care: Find out how we’re creating a better experience and updating your MyChart.

8/4/2023 5:22:33 PM Reporting from Detroit,MI
Three-time cancer survivor hopes to walk daughter down aisle, thanks to CAR-T therapy
https://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/news/three-time-cancer-survivor-hopes-to-walk-daughter-down-aisle-thanks-to-car-t-therapy
8/4/2023 5:22:33 PM
These days, Peter Grantz has one thing on his mind: walking his daughter down the aisle in September, something he wasn’t sure he’d be able to do after a cancer recurrence in 2021. But now, Grantz is hopeful he will be there to give her away.

Three-time cancer survivor hopes to walk daughter down aisle, thanks to CAR-T therapy

Corewell Health

Three-time cancer survivor hopes to walk daughter down aisle, thanks to CAR-T therapy

Friday, August 04, 2023

These days, Peter Grantz has one thing on his mind: walking his daughter down the aisle in September, something he wasn’t sure he’d be able to do after a cancer recurrence in 2021. But now, Grantz is hopeful he will be there to give her away.

“I think everything is going to be fine,” said Grantz, 65, of Bloomfield Hills. “We have a couple months to pick out the song for our daddy-daughter dance. She’s going to make the most beautiful bride.”

The beginning

Originally diagnosed in 2016 with diffuse large B cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or blood cancer, Grantz received chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

“But unfortunately, he recurred in 2021, which is a lot later of a recurrence than you typically expect,” Matthew Cotant, M.D., a hematologist and oncologist at Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, said. “Usually, if someone has a recurrence, it happens within two years, so that was super disappointing.”

Grantz then had a stem cell transplant, but his lymphoma progressed, leaving him with just one more thing to try: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy.

What is CAR-T therapy

CAR-T therapy is an advanced immunotherapy now offered at Corewell Health in southeast Michigan for patients with certain types of blood cancers. It harnesses the patient’s immune system in the fight against cancer by training the patient’s T-cells – white blood cells that protect the body from infection or disease – to recognize, attack and destroy the cancer cells.

“It’s like you trained an army to go after this lymphoma,” Dr. Cotant said. “It’s incredible. Years ago, we wouldn’t have any good treatment options for a patient after having an autologous (stem cell) transplant, and now, we’re talking about a 40% cure rate.”

During this customized cancer treatment, the patient’s T-cells are removed through a process called apheresis. Using IVs, their blood passes through a machine that separates out white blood cells and returns the remaining components to the patient.

The millions of T-cells are then genetically modified by adding a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR), which arms the cells with a GPS-like ability to find cancer cells. The T-cells are then infused back into the body, ready to recognize, target and destroy cancer cells.

“All I want for Christmas is CAR-T Therapy”

On Dec. 19, 2022, Grantz said he received the best Christmas gift of all: CAR-T therapy. Grantz was the first patient to receive CAR-T therapy at Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

“It’s a little bit anticlimactic because the actual infusion takes about five minutes,” Grantz said.

But those five minutes changed the course of his life.

“Without CAR-T therapy, we don’t know where Peter would be today,” Ishmael Jaiyesimi, M.D, the Cellular Therapies Clinical Program director, said. “But now, he is in remission and should be able to enjoy his daughter’s wedding.”

Grantz said he’s grateful he was able to get the treatment so close to home because it made it easier for his wife and kids to be by his side.

“Having CAR-T therapy at Corewell Health in southeast Michigan helps support our mission of providing continuity of care and brings another hope, another possibility, for patients like Peter,” Dr. Jaiyesimi said. “To relieve suffering, extend life and bring a smile to somebody’s face is the greatest feeling.”

For more information about CAR-T therapy, visit beaumont.org/services/oncology/car-t.

view all stories

CAR-T therapy at Beaumont

Learn More