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Advice on Charting an Innovative Path Forward for Cell Therapies

Cellular advances in the field of immunotherapy such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are generating great interest in oncology even as scientists, manufacturers, and regulators grapple with the challenges of bringing them to the clinic.

To address key issues and obstacles inherent in designing cell therapies for the future, the Friends of Cancer Research (FOCR) and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) held a conference in Washington, D.C., and released a detailed new white paper, “Designing the Future of Cell Therapies.”

[…]While some T-cell based therapies have shown activity in some solid tumors, no T-cell therapy has received FDA approval for treating solid tumors, which the new white paper notes comprise 90 percent of all cancers and the majority of cancer deaths. The paper states that the challenges of using T-cell based therapies in solid tumors include issues related to antigen selectivity and expression, the immunosuppressive nature of the tumor microenvironment, tumor T-cell infiltration, and T-cell exhaustion.

“Today’s meeting is about moving the field forward,” said Jeff Bluestone, PhD, President & CEO of PICI and the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He noted that cell therapies represent a nascent field with new opportunities and new regulatory issues. “We have to work very closely with the regulatory agencies,” he stated.

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