In the community of regenerative medicine, manufacturers and developers are investigating new allogeneic CAR-T therapies. And to keep tabs on the latest developments in this field, the team at RegMedNet put out a survey to medical professionals to find out more about their current work.
They found, for example, that manufacturers are focused on improving their supply chain for obtaining standardized raw materials. They are looking at what they need now in the way of automation in their laboratories.
The more information gathered on this topic, the easier it will be for scientists to get an overview of current obstacles preventing the advance of new allogeneic CAR-T therapies.
Therapies in Development
A number of manufacturers are examining the use of chimeric antigen receptor or CAR-T therapy, according to the survey results. The most common types of CAR therapy now in development for allogeneic projects include:
* Commercially available therapies in cell banks (33.3% of respondents)
* Cells sourced by harvesting them directly from patients (35.9%
* Cells that researchers obtain after being harvested by third parties (12.8%)
For context, about 72.7% of polled researchers indicate that allogeneic sources will be used for CAR-T cells in 15 years, while 27.3 think the focus will be on autologous sources.
Tools Used to Make Changes in Genes
Researchers in laboratories across the country can benefit from knowing how their colleagues are setting up their laboratories and what protocols they follow.
In response to a question about what tools the scientists are using to make changes after they’ve inserted the CAR, about 22.7% said they made no further genetic modifications. The most-used tools were:
* CRISPR: 28.9%
* TALENs: 12.0%
* Transduction: 20.0%
* Transfection: 10.7%
* Zinc fingers: 4.0%
* Other: 2.7%
Major Challenges With CAR-T Therapy
Given the complex nature of identifying genetic disorders and then coming up with therapies to improve people’s health, there are bound to be many challenges along the way for researchers to face.
Among the most pressing challenges reported by the survey, participants cited such factors as the need to maintain safety (in the lab as well as for patients undergoing tests). Another challenge is how to help patients cope with immunosuppression, which is often part of the CAR-T therapy experience.
Automation in CAR-T therapy is seen as another challenge, given that there will be a need to massively scale up the manufacturing technology used in developing, testing and manufacturing CAR-T solutions.
A Look at the Future of Medicine With CAR-T Therapy
Widespread use of CAR-T has yet to occur yet. Approximately 45.5% of the survey participants said CARs will be widely available as they are currently developed, while 34.5% said the therapy is not yet ready for such expanded use.
One big question on many researchers’ minds has to do with whether the CAR-T approach to therapy could be viable for other conditions beyond liquid tumors, looking forward. A majority, some 87.3% of respondents said they do believe CAR-T can help with additional conditions. About 10.9% of the researchers said they weren’t sure and only 1.8% were confident the answer is “no.”
Of course, researchers are hoping to get results in a timely manner. That way, they can deliver treatments to patients who have not done well with current conventional healing techniques. So researchers are anticipating that going forward, there will be a fast track on their phase 3 and 4 trials. That will take more coordination, such as standardizing protocols, which will be essential later when it comes time to scale up production.