Nat. Biotechnol. (2020)

Macrophages that express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) show promise for targeting solid tumors.

Credit: Science Photo Library/Alamy Stock Photo

CAR T cells have been successful in targeting many blood cancers, but there has been limited success in treating solid cancers with them. It is thought that this is because T cells have difficulty in penetrating the tumor microenvironment. Macrophages are present in the tumor milieu, however, and could be useful to mount an initial anti-tumor response

Klichinsky et al. were able to transduce human macrophages with an adenovirus vector carrying a CAR. They show in humanized mouse models that infusion with this presumably resulted in a proinflammatory tumor microenvironment that activated T cells. The next stage will be a phase 1 trial to test safety in humans.