Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Cell Engineering at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, recently sat down with Jennifer Adair, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to discuss the remarkable progress being made in the field of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) engineered T-cell therapies to treat cancer.
CAR T-cell therapies consist of collecting a patient’s own immune cells, engineering them to target a specific marker, and reinfusing the cells back into the patient. In 2017, two CAR T interventions were approved by the FDA to treat B-cell lymphoma and B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Dr. Sadelain has a long history with the field and remains one of its leading pioneers. In the interview, he recounts his early interest in T-cell engineering, reflects on how the field has advanced, and shares his views on the path forward.
Dr. Sadelain highlighted some key challenges for the next generation of CAR T cells.
(1) Decrease the toxicities, such as cytokine release syndrome (CRS), that restrict how the therapy can be administered.
(2) Extend the approach to solid tumors and other cancers by identifying suitable targets and adapting the CAR design.
(3) Generate T cells at a lower cost.
We look forward to continued innovations that address these hurdles. The interview is available free for download on the Human Gene Therapy website until June 18, 2018.