CAR-T is getting a lot of attention, mainly in blood born cancers. There are two FDA-approved CAR-T, one for diffuse large B cell lymphoma, the other for relapsed/refractory B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The idea with CAR-T is that you genetically engineer the T cell to express an antibody receptor that targets a receptor on the cancerouscells. This has proven to be effective in blood cancer that has specific targets, but not so easy in the majority of cancers,which are of the solid type. In most solid cancers, it would not be enough to target just one mutation because cancer can generally outsmart one-dimensional treatments targeting one mutation by hiding the expression of that protein. In addition, CAR-T has been plagued with side effects issues, such as cytokine release syndrome (CRS). However, in Chapter 11, I discuss how this may now not be as much of a problem with the use of an IL-1 blocking drug in combination with CAR-T. Certainly as the technology improves, there is a good future with these drugs, and at the moment they are gaining a lot of attention from the media and investors, but their transition to clinical use in patients has been more challenging. The huge price tag they come with does not help either.
Reference: Jason R. Williams, 15 Oct 2019, The Immunotherapy Revolution: The Best New Hope For Saving Cancer Patients’ Lives, https://williamscancerinstitute.com/the-immunotherapy-revolution