CAR-T therapy gives dramatic responses in a few blood cancers – but these only cover 1.4% of cancers in the US and about 1% of deaths, 6,500. These new CAR-T therapies use powerful, targeted, killer white immune cells: T-cells. However, the major T-cell therapy opportunities are in other blood cancers and major solid cancers with over 1.2m new US patients needing therapy each year, of whom 450,000 die. Yet the CAR-T approach of products like Kymriah cannot be easily adapted to solid cancer therapy. Other approaches are in development that might extend T-cell therapy to broader patient groups.
NKR CAR T-cell therapy targets cancer cell ‘stress antigens’ with multi-indication potential in blood and solid cancers. The modified T-cell receptor approach has exquisite specificity and cross-cancer potential versatility, but is constrained to defined patient subgroups. Non-cellular therapies (BiTEs and checkpoint inhibitors) could be synergistic. These new approaches could advance rapidly if they show clinical success.