CAR-T cell-based cancer treatment uses own lymphocytes of individual patients. Its goal is to elicit an immune reponse of one's organism against cancer, while there exists certain risk of that CAR-T cells might turn out to be too aggressive, making such treatment harmful to patients. However, a certain solution has been developed to deal with this drawback.
French-based biotech company Cellectis has developed a treatment that employs CAR-T cells, coupling the therapeutic effects it brings with appropriate protection. This combination may blaze the trail for the creation of "allogeneic" CAR-T-based treatment that will be based on donor-collected cells and offered "off-the-shelf". So far, the therapy has been of the "autologous" nature, since its cells had been collected from each individual patient subject to this treatment. Consecutively, it made the treatment adversely affected in terms the extension of its duration, increase in the cost it entailed and with regard to its complexity.
So-called CubiCAR is a construct of the "All-in-one" type that has been elaborated by Cellectis. It is equipped with an integrated multifunctional tag serving the purification, tracking and removal of CAR-T cells. A study published in scientific reports demonstrated effective destruction of said lymphocytes by the antibody named rituximad during in-vivo tests. This may enable oncologists to deactivate CAR-T cells whenever they elicit dangerous immune reactions.
Complementing a given therapy with a safeguard - a so-called "safety switch" - is not a new idea. Bellicum is currently working on T cell-based therapies, with T cells alone supposed to play the part of a "safe switch" of this kind - being capable of destroying CAR-T cells that might cause side effects. On the other hand, Gilead company that purchased the owner of rights to CAR-T Yescarta therapy (Kite company) is developing its own ways to use small molecules that act like a "side-switch" for CAR-T cells.