Research Explores CAR T-Cell Therapy to Treat Autoimmune Diseases, Viral Infections, and More

A recent article in the journal Biomedicines reviewed the potential of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in disease states beyond cancer. The article, part of a special issue titled “Recent Therapeutic Advances in Natural Killer Cells,” outlined several specific targets and disease states where CAR T-cell therapy holds promise.

“CAR T cells have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment of refractory pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia to diffuse large B cell lymphoma,” Wrote the authors, led by Ekaterina Zmievskaya of the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology at Kazan Federal University in Russia. “Major successes in oncology have led to a growing scientific and clinical interest in using CAR Ts as a treatment for other types of diseases.”

The authors discussed the following specific disease states currently being examined for susceptibility to CAR T-cell treatment as well as the specific targets involved:

  • autoimmunity diseases, including pemphigus vulgaris, hemophilia A, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Ulcerative colitis, allergy, and allergic asthma
  • infectious diseases, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human cytomegalovirus, Aspergillus, influenza A, human immunodeficiency virus, and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)
  • cardiac fibrosis

“Despite differences in etiology, there are common features in pathogenesis of the diseases … that potentially allow them to be treated with CAR T cells,” the authors wrote. “This includes a specified disease-linked cellular component that marks cells as infected, hyperactive, or overexpanded. Moreover, in many instances, CAR Ts operate as a powerful alternative to human immune system that are partly dysfunctional due to a disease.”