Cell therapy manufacturing studies suggest industry still needs better tech

Cell therapies show real curative potential. However, recently published research suggests the industry still needs faster, more effective production methods to fulfil its potential.

For one thing, turning candidate cell therapies into commercial products will require innovation in manufacturing systems according to a study by researchers at the US National Institutes of Health.

The study – published in International Reviews of Immunology – looked at the use of engineering T cell therapies (including those based on CAR-T cells and TCR-T cells) and found that while production systems have improved there is still more to do.

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According to the authors “In the past few years there have been a number of technical innovations that enable robust clinical manufacturing in functionally closed and often automated systems.”

However, they go on to say that “Continued improvement in cell manufacturing technology will help enable world-wide implementation of engineered T cell therapies.”

The recommendation is based on the comparative analysis of case studies of engineered T cells manufactured for phase I clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Specifically, the team looked at three different methods used to make CD30 CAR-T cells for the treatment of lymphoma, CD19/CD22 bispecific CAR-T cells as therapies fort a range of B cell malignancies and E7 TCR T cells for human papilloma virus-associated cancers.

Manufacturing

The NIH team’s conclusion is in keeping with the findings of researchers at Penn Medicine, who suggested earlier this year that innovation was the key to the growth of the cell therapy sector.

Writing in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the Penn team outlined an accelerated production method that they claim can generate functional CAR-T cells within 24 hours of them being derived from peripheral blood samples.

According to the authors, “The rapid manufacturing of CAR T cells may reduce production costs and broaden their applicability.”