Cell Therapy – Challenges & Success Stories

CARAT approach mentioned as solution for challenges in GoingPublic Magazin

CAR T cell therapy as an approach of a new immunotherapy, i.e. a therapy that strengthens the patient’s own immune system to tackle cancer, has been rapidly emerging over the past few years. The approval of two CAR T-cell therapies by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one to treat children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the other to treat adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, in 2017, has been considered a breakthrough by the FDA. The news continued in 2018 announcing the takeover of the company Juno by Celgene for 9 billion USD for its CAR T programme. There seems to be something for everyone. But the complex processes involved in the CAR T cell therapy continue to pose challenges to scientists and manufactures.

An article in the German GoingPublic Magazin summarizes the complex process of CAR T cell therapy and features the work done in the CARAT project as one way to tackle the multiple challenges.

The current problem is that the complex process of taking blood from patients to modify the patient’s cells and to re-introduce the modified cells in the patient takes a long time, can only be managed in very few central facilities that comply with the very strict requirements under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and that the quality of the cells suffers from these circumstances. Another challenge is the upscaling of the therapy. Currently only a few hundred patients can be treated with the new therapy. Making it available to an increased number of patients involves improving the manufacturing processes and making them available at more facilities.

The CARAT project is working on the automatization and standardisation of all processes involved in the CAR T cell therapy to match the increased demand for individualized CAR T cells. At the end of the project, the developed CARAT technology platform should enable the automatic, secure, GMP compliant production of CAR T cells. This automatization is also supposed to lead to a significant cost reduction and a wider use at smaller facilities throughout Europe to make it easily accessible to a larger number of patients.

The full article is available in German here.