Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, together with checkpoint inhibition, has been celebrated as a breakthrough technology due to the substantial benefit observed in clinical trials with patients suffering from relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the clinical trials performed so far worldwide and analyze parameters such as targeted antigen and indication, CAR molecular design, CAR T cell manufacturing, anti-tumor activities, and related toxicities. More than 200 CAR T cell clinical trials have been initiated so far, most of which aim to treat lymphoma or leukemia patients using CD19-specific CARs. An increasing number of studies address solid tumors as well. Notably, not all clinical trials conducted so far have shown promising results. Indeed, in a few patients CAR T cell therapy resulted in severe adverse events with fatal outcome. Of note, less than 10% of the ongoing CAR T cell clinical trials are performed in Europe. Taking lead from our analysis, we discuss the problems and general hurdles preventing efficient clinical development of CAR T cells as well as opportunities, with a special focus on the European stage.
Keywords: ATMPs; cancer; immunotherapy; regulatory issues; toxicities.
© 2017 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.