Fifteen years of gene therapy based on chimeric antigen receptors: "are we nearly there yet?"

Hum Gene Ther. 2009 Nov;20(11):1229-39. doi: 10.1089/hum.2009.142.


"T-body" or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology, which combines the specificity of an antibody with the homing, tissue penetration, and target cell destruction of T cells, was first described in 1993. After many years of unmet promise, significant improvements in gene transfer, including the development of efficient retroviral vectors for transduction of human T cells, and better understanding of immunological pathways and immune cell interactions, are allowing this technology to reach a critical phase of evaluation, in which we will learn whether the approach can truly meet expectations. In this review we summarize the concept of CAR-based immunotherapy, describe the steps accomplished, and outline the future progress we need to make if this approach is truly to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Transfer Techniques / trends
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / trends
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / trends
  • Lentivirus
  • Models, Immunological
  • Receptors, Antigen / genetics*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics*
  • Retroviridae
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tumor Escape / genetics*
  • Tumor Escape / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins