PerspectiveIMMUNOTHERAPY

Boosting engineered T cells

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Science  12 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6449, pp. 119-120
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax6331

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Summary

After decades of work, researchers have finally begun to see broadly reproducible success of engineered T cells in the treatment of cancer. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic molecules that combine the antigen specificity of monoclonal antibodies with the signaling of the T cell receptor (TCR) to direct patient-derived (autologous) T cells to seek out and destroy cancer cells. T cells engineered to express CARs targeting the B cell antigen CD19 can induce durable remissions in many patients with refractory B cell neoplasms (13), and two CAR–T cell products have recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat B cell leukemia and lymphoma. Despite these successes in hematological cancers, CAR–T cell activity against solid tumors has been limited. On page 162, Ma et al. (4) describe a platform that uses a vaccine-boosting strategy to improve the efficacy of CAR–T cells to target solid tumors.