From antibodies to living drugs: Quo vadis cancer immunotherapy?
AbstractIn the last few decades, monoclonal antibodies targeting various receptors and ligands have shown significant advance in cancer therapy. However, still a great percentage of patients experiences tumor relapse despite persistent antigen expression. Immune cell therapy with adoptively transferred modified T cells that express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) is an engaging option to improve disease outcome. Designer T cells have been applied with remarkable success in the treatment for
... te B cell leukemias, yielding unprecedented antitumor activity and significantly improved overall survival. Relying on the success of CAR T cells in leukemias, solid tumors are now emerging potential targets; however, their complexity represents a significant challenge. In preclinical models, CAR T cells recognized and efficiently killed the wide spectrum of tumor xenografts; however, in human clinical trials, limited antitumor efficacy and serious side effects, including cytokine release syndrome, have emerged as potential limitations. The next decade will be an exciting time to further optimize this novel cellular therapeutics to improve effector functions and, at the same time, keep adverse events in check. Moreover, we need to establish whether gene-modified T cells which are yet exclusively used for cancer patients could also be successful in the treatment for other diseases. Here, we provide a concise overview about the transition from monoclonal antibodies to the generation of chimeric antigen receptor T cells. We summarize lessons learned from preclinical models, including our own HER2-positive tumor models, as well as from clinical trials worldwide. We also discuss the challenges we are facing today and outline future prospects.