2019 NBF Grant Recipient Develops Shortened CAR T-Cell Therapy Manufacturing Process

May 25, 2022

A team of investigators co-led by 2019 National Blood Foundation grant recipient Saba Ghassemi, PhD, has developed a new abbreviated approach to processing and generating functional chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. The novel approach, reported recently in Nature Biomedical Engineering, could lead to reductions in the time, materials and labor required to generate CAR T cells.

Ghassemi and her colleagues demonstrated that functional CAR T cells can be generated within 24 hours from T cells derived from peripheral blood without the need for T-cell activation or ex vivo expansion. Additionally, in murine xenograft models of human leukemias, investigators found that the rapidly generated non-activated CAR T cells exhibited higher anti-leukemic in vivo activity per cell than the corresponding activated CAR T cells produced using the standard protocol.

According to investigators, the study is a catalyst for more clinical research to investigate how the engineered CAR T cells, through this shortened approach, may work in patients who would otherwise be ineligible for CAR T-cell therapy.

“This innovative approach is remarkable in that it may be able to help patients who might otherwise not be able to benefit from CAR T cell therapy such as those with rapidly progressing cancer due to significant time currently need to generate these therapies,” Ghassemi said. “Efficient reprogramming of T cells with a CAR in as little as 24 hours in a more simplified manufacturing process without T cell activation or extensive culture outside the body also offers the possibility of expanding where and when these therapies are produced.”