Dr. Brentjens Discusses Targets for CAR T-Cell Therapy

Renier J. Brentjens, MD, PhD
Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2018



Renier J. Brentjens, MD, PhD, associate professor, chief, Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses targets for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.

It is important to distinguish whether CAR T-cell therapy is a technology that will work against a specific antigen, or if there are other antigens that can be targeted in other tumors. Both CD19 and BCMA have proven to be targets in hematologic malignancies for CAR T-cell therapy. In solid tumors, it has been more difficult to find an application for CAR T-cell therapy, Brentjens explains.

The idea of moving CAR T-cell therapy to solid tumors has a number of immunological issues, Brentjens says. First, target antigens in solid tumors are not as ideal as CD19 or BCMA. Second, antigens are not as universally expressed by all solid tumor cells. Third, solid tumors tend to scaffold themselves with immune inhibitory elements such as regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and inhibitory ligands such as PD-L1. It is going to be more challenging to get CAR T-cell therapy to work in solid tumors, but it is not impossible, Brentjens says.
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Renier J. Brentjens, MD, PhD, associate professor, chief, Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses targets for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.

It is important to distinguish whether CAR T-cell therapy is a technology that will work against a specific antigen, or if there are other antigens that can be targeted in other tumors. Both CD19 and BCMA have proven to be targets in hematologic malignancies for CAR T-cell therapy. In solid tumors, it has been more difficult to find an application for CAR T-cell therapy, Brentjens explains.

The idea of moving CAR T-cell therapy to solid tumors has a number of immunological issues, Brentjens says. First, target antigens in solid tumors are not as ideal as CD19 or BCMA. Second, antigens are not as universally expressed by all solid tumor cells. Third, solid tumors tend to scaffold themselves with immune inhibitory elements such as regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and inhibitory ligands such as PD-L1. It is going to be more challenging to get CAR T-cell therapy to work in solid tumors, but it is not impossible, Brentjens says.



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