CAR Talk: How Cancer-Specific CAR T Cells Can Instruct How to Build CAR T Cells to Cure HIV

Front Immunol. 2019 Sep 27;10:2310. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02310. eCollection 2019.


Re-directing T cells via chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) was first tested in HIV-infected individuals with limited success, but these pioneering studies laid the groundwork for the clinically successful CD19 CARs that were recently FDA approved. Now there is great interest in revisiting the concept of using CAR-expressing T cells as part of a strategy to cure HIV. Many lessons have been learned on how to best engineer T cells to cure cancer, but not all of these lessons apply when developing CARs to treat and cure HIV. This mini review will focus on how early CAR T cell studies in HIV paved the way for cancer CAR T cell therapy and how progress in cancer CAR therapy has and will continue to be instructive for the development of HIV CAR T cell therapy. Additionally, the unique challenges that must be overcome to develop a successful HIV CAR T cell therapy will be highlighted.

Keywords: T cell; clinical trials; immune escape and surveillance; immune privilege; lentiviral (LV) vector.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD19 / immunology
  • Antigens, CD19 / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / immunology*
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD19
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen