Approved CAR T-cell therapies have led to remarkable regressions in cancers of the blood and bone marrow, so-called liquid cancers. Scientists are now hoping to apply CAR T therapy to treat solid tumors. Both types of cancer present challenges.

Brain tumor


Blood cancer


Solid tumorsLiquid cancers
HeterogeneityCells of a solid tumor do not all present the same mix of antigens on their surfaces, so a given CAR will likely miss some of the cancer.Although all cancerous B cells present the CD19 antigen targeted by approved CAR T therapies, normal B cells do as well, which can lead to severe side effects when healthy cells are destroyed.
MicroenvironmentSolid tumors produce immune-suppressing agents such as the checkpoint molecule PD-L1.The blood is T cells’ home turf, and engineered CAR T cells readily expand once they are introduced...

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The Scientist April 2019 Issue

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