Dr Reona Sakemura Discusses Barriers to the Success of CAR T-Cell Therapies

Toxicities like cytokine release syndrome, along with other factors, limit widespread use of CAR T-cell therapies, said Reona Sakemura, MD, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

What are some of the barriers that are limiting the success of CAR T-cell therapies?
So, the widespread use of CAR T-cell therapy is limited due to lingering toxicities such as cytokine release syndrome, CRS, or neurotoxicity. Also, another limiting factor is CAR T-cell dysfunction, such as the poor T-cell expansions or poor traffic into tumor size, which is led by the bidirectional interaction between the tumor cells into a micro environment.

As CAR T-cell therapies are being used more, how has management of cytokine release syndrome improved?
The current way to manage Cytokine Release Syndrome, neurotoxicity, is the use of IL-6 receptor blockade, along with steroids. Early this year, we published that the perfect use of germs is neutralizing antibodies to not only prevent CRS but also to prevent the neurotoxicity in our mouse model. We're currently expanding this to a phase 2 clinical trial.
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