Introduction: Following recent breakthrough developments in the application of CAR T-cell treatments for hematologic cancers, the potential of this approach to achieve meaningful impact against solid tumors now warrants careful consideration.
Areas covered: Effective deployment of CAR T-cell immunotherapy for solid tumors has proven challenging to date, due to a series of formidable hurdles. The first of these is the paucity of safe targets for this highly potent, expensive and potentially toxic form of treatment. Compounding this, the tumor microenvironment (TME) constitutes a nexus of cellular and molecular elements that conspire to suppress effective immunological function at that site, corrupting the physiological reparative processes that operate during wound healing. These obstacles are considered with a view to addressing how next-generation CAR T-cell approaches may be effectively applied to different cancer types.
Expert opinion: A variety of novel synthetic biology and combinatorial strategies are being developed that can improve CAR T-cell specificity and combat immunosuppressive pathways found in the TME. In addition, recent advances in genome editing techniques are paving the way toward the production of universally applicable CAR T cells.
- CAR T cell
- Chimeric antigen receptor
- solid tumor