T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) with tumor specificity have shown remarkable success in treating patients with hematologic malignancies and revitalized the field of adoptive cell therapy. However, realizing broader therapeutic applications of CAR-T cells necessitates engineering approaches on multiple levels to enhance efficacy and safety. Particularly, solid tumors present unique challenges due to the biological complexity of the solid-tumor microenvironment (TME). In this review, we highlight recent strategies to improve CAR-T cell therapy by engineering (1) the CAR protein, (2) T cells, and (3) the interaction between T cells and other components in the TME.
Keywords: CAR-T cells; T cell engineering; cancer immunotherapy; chimeric antigen receptor (CAR); mammalian synthetic biology; solid tumors; tumor microenvironment (TME).
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