T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have revolutionized the field of cell therapy and changed the paradigm of treatment for many patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies. Despite this progress, there are limitations to CAR-T cell therapy in both the autologous and allogeneic settings, including practical, logistical, and toxicity issues. Given these concerns, there is a rapidly growing interest in natural killer cells as alternative vehicles for CAR engineering, given their unique biological features and their established safety profile in the allogeneic setting. Other immune effector cells, such as invariant natural killer T cells, γδ T cells, and macrophages, are attracting interest as well and eventually may be added to the repertoire of engineered cell therapies against cancer. The pace of these developments will undoubtedly benefit from multiple innovative technologies, such as the CRISPR-Cas gene editing system, which offers great potential to enhance the natural ability of immune effector cells to eliminate refractory cancers.
© 2020 by The American Society of Hematology.