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Clinical Trials Begin for CAR-T Immunotherapy for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Nov 24, 2020 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD

November Prostate Cancer Awareness month, Man in blue shirt with hand holding Blue Ribbon for supporting people living and illness. Healthcare, International men, Father and World cancer day concept_AdobeStock_284543299-1Clinical trials have begun with its first round of Metastatic Prostate Cancer patients for immune cell therapy. 

Chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy uses the body’s own immune cells to target tumor cells. T cells are taken from a patient’s body then genetically modified to target specific protein markers on tumor cells. As research and development of the next generation of cell therapies continue, new efforts are underway to discover new targets for CAR-T cell development.

One such effort is the launch of clinical trials by Tmunity to study the efficacy of CAR-T cells that target a prostate-specific antigen that is overexpressed in prostate cancer cells. The Tmunity cells also target the tumor growth-promoting transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. Precision Biosciences has developed a technology that removes the TCR gene and inserts the CAR all in one step. These off-the-shelf cells are engineered to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). 

CAR-T cells are not the only engineered immune-cell therapeutic approach. Natural killer (NK) cells are heavily studied and engineered to provide very promising CAR-NK cell immunotherapies. NK cells from donors can be used without inducing GVHD and are very efficient at targeting and killing tumor cells. However, challenges to overcome include the low numbers at which they are present and their short life span. Only a few companies are striving to meet the challenges of developing effective CAR-NK cells. 

  • Acepodia is testing an NK cell and monoclonal antibody combination to target HER2 found in a number of tumor types, including breast tumors.
  • Artiva also constructs CAR-NK cells with dual targeting via monoclonal antibody combinations and evaluates specific gene editing to enhance NK cell activity in the tumor microenvironment.
  • Nkarta has developed NK cells engineered to better recognize tumor targets. Further efforts are to generate a high supply of allogeneic NK cells and improve their activity duration. 

The development of highly effective anti-cancer therapies with low or no adverse side effects is medical science and patient communities' goal. Studies are continuously uncovering information that can be applied for honing immunotherapy approaches. The new T and NK cell technologies open doors to new and previously untapped approaches that can prove promising in the not-to-distant future. 

HemaCare offers high-quality starting material and immune cells to support the research and development of autologous and allogeneic cell-based therapies. Find out more about our cellular products like NK cells and T cells here. 


From natural killer cells to off-the-shelf CAR-Ts, biopharma targets cancer with next-gen cell therapies. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from


Topics: Cancer, T Cells, NK Cells

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