CAR T Cells Beyond Cancer: Hope for Immunomodulatory Therapy of Infectious Diseases

Front Immunol. 2019 Nov 21;10:2711. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02711. eCollection 2019.


Infectious diseases are still a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite the progress in drug development, the occurrence of microbial resistance is still a significant concern. Alternative therapeutic strategies are required for non-responding or relapsing patients. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells has revolutionized cancer immunotherapy, providing a potential therapeutic option for patients who are unresponsive to standard treatments. Recently two CAR T cell therapies, Yescarta® (Kite Pharma/Gilead) and Kymriah® (Novartis) were approved by the FDA for the treatments of certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia, respectively. The success of adoptive CAR T cell therapy for cancer has inspired researchers to develop CARs for the treatment of infectious diseases. Here, we review the main achievements in CAR T cell therapy targeting viral infections, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Hepatitis B Virus, Human Cytomegalovirus, and opportunistic fungal infections such as invasive aspergillosis.

Keywords: CAR T cells; CMV; HBV; HCV; HIV; infectious diseases; invasive aspergillosis; mAb engineering.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / etiology
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Communicable Diseases / therapy*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive* / methods
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / genetics
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen