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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Beyond CAR T Cells: The Future of Adoptive Cell Therapies

In 2017, the FDA approved the world’s first adoptive cell therapy – a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy designed to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia – forever changing the face of cancer treatment. As the science continues to progress, biopharmaceutical executives, healthcare professionals, and patients alike are brimming with optimism about the future of this advanced technology. But CAR T cells are just one type of adoptive cell therapy in development today; at least three others could reach the market soon, potentially making adoptive cell therapy even cheaper, safer, and more effective against a wider range of cancers.

Adoptive cell therapies supercharge the immune system to recognise and destroy tumour cells. By the end of this decade, patients may have access to a variety of adoptive cell therapies, including more advanced CAR T cells, T cell receptor (TCR) cells, tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), and natural killer (NK) cells. Here is an overview of how these adoptive cell therapies work, their benefits and limitations for manufacturers and patients, and when we might see them appear in the clinic.
 
CAR T Cells

Once the immune system recognises a pathogen, T cells become activated and destroy the foreign invader. Unfortunately, tumours can be just as destructive as foreign pathogens, but T cells do not recognise them as targets. T cells that have been genetically modified to express the CAR protein, however, can be trained to identify and kill tumour cells.

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Marwan Alsarraj is the Biopharma Segment Manager at Bio-Rad. He has been at the forefront of developing, marketing, and commercialising technologies in the past 15 years in the life science research industry. Marwan obtained his MS in Biology at the University of Texas, US
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