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EHA 2021 | Where are we with allo-CARs?

Niels van de Donk, MD, PhD, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, shares an update on allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells (allo-CARs), highlighting promising activity seen in heavily treated patients, and allo-CARs targeting SLAMF7. Dr van de Donk gives an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using allo-CARs, commenting on the potential impact of new manufacturing strategies. This interview took place at the virtual European Hematology Association (EHA) Congress 2021.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

So, allo-CARs are being evaluated by different parties. There are allo-CARs targeting BCMA, and we have seen at last ASH that these allo-CARs are very promising in heavily pretreated patients with high activity and a manageable safety profile. There are also allo-CARs targeting stem of seven being investigated in clinical trials. And the big advantage of allo-CARs is potentially that they are directly available for patients that need treatment urgently and do not have the time to wait for the manufacturing of autologous CAR T-cells...

So, allo-CARs are being evaluated by different parties. There are allo-CARs targeting BCMA, and we have seen at last ASH that these allo-CARs are very promising in heavily pretreated patients with high activity and a manageable safety profile. There are also allo-CARs targeting stem of seven being investigated in clinical trials. And the big advantage of allo-CARs is potentially that they are directly available for patients that need treatment urgently and do not have the time to wait for the manufacturing of autologous CAR T-cells.

But the disadvantage of allo-CARs is that they are from a third party. So, from a healthy donor or, and that may lead to rapid rejection. So, you have to manipulate these allogeneic T-cells, for example by eradicating the T-cell receptor or by eradicating beta two microglobulin, to improve the persistence of these allo-CARs and also to prevent graft-versus-host disease. And I think in the next few conferences we will learn more about allo-CARs.

On the other hand, we also have now new manufacturing strategies that are much faster than the ones that we are using now. So, also these new manufacturing strategies where we can produce CAR T-cells in one week. So, this will also lead to a much shorter bench-to-end time, will hopefully be of benefit for patients that need treatment urgently.

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Disclosures

Niels van de Donk, MD, PhD, has received research support from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, AMGEN, Celgene, Novartis, and BMS; and serves in advisory boards for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, AMGEN, Celgene, BMS, Takeda, Roche, Novartis, Bayer, and Servier.

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