Tiffany Williams |

Several sessions have been presented at the 2020 American Society of Hematology’s Annual Meeting, highlighting research data and findings specifically related to myeloma novel targeting agents. There were 2 terms, off-the-shelf and Allogeneic CAR, referred to many times yesterday during immunotherapy sessions. While I felt I understand the context of the discussions, I was immediately aware that they were being used interchangeably.

We are often told, if one person has a question, someone else does also. So, I thought it might be helpful for someone to clarify exactly what off-the-shelf in relation to Allogeneic CAR T means.

More familiar is the traditional autologous CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T, as we know involves taking blood from the myeloma patient, separating white blood cells, and genetically modifying/engineering the immune cells to specifically attack the patient’s cancer and reinfusing them into the patient. These T cells are genetically engineered to recognize and attach cancer cells.

Off-the-shelf is also known as Allogenic CAR T when referring to immunotherapy agents. Large quantities of T cells are taken from healthy donors and stored until the patient needs them. These white blood cells are not unique to the patient. For this reason, allogeneic T cells are considered off the shelf, and are readily available and do not require the patient to wait the process of having his/her blood harvested and engineered.

Additional benefits shared by researchers for use of off-the-shelf allogenic CAR T shelf are:

  • avoids the need for bridging therapy
  • reduces manufacturing time
  • readily available
  • less expensive than autologous CAR T

The future of off-the-shelf allogenic CAR T is promising and worth watching closely.

Wishing you Hope,

Tiffany H. Williams @MyelomaHope

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