Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy
Cellular therapy has emerged as an attractive option for the treatment of cancer, and adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) expressing T cells has gained FDA approval in hematologic malignancy. However, limited efficacy was observed using CAR-T therapy in solid tumors. Natural killer (NK) cells are crucial for tumor surveillance and exhibit potent killing capacity of aberrant cells in an antigen-independent manner. Adoptive transfer of unmodified allogeneic or autologous NK cells
... autologous NK cells has shown limited clinical benefit due to factors including low cell number, low cytotoxicity and failure to migrate to tumor sites. To address these problems, immortalized and autologous NK cells have been genetically engineered to express high affinity receptors (CD16), CARs directed against surface proteins (PD-L1, CD19, Her2, etc.) and endogenous cytokines (IL-2 and IL-15) that are crucial for NK cell survival and cytotoxicity, with positive outcomes reported by several groups both preclinically and clinically. With a multitude of NK cell-based therapies currently in clinic trials, it is likely they will play a crucial role in next-generation cell therapy-based treatment. In this review, we will highlight the recent advances and limitations of allogeneic, autologous and genetically enhanced NK cells used in adoptive cell therapy.