Chimeric antigen receptor natural killer (CAR-NK) cell design and engineering for cancer therapy

Y. Gong, R.G.J.K. Wolterink, J.X. Wang, G.M.J. Bos, W.T.V. Germeraad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Due to their efficient recognition and lysis of malignant cells, natural killer (NK) cells are considered as specialized immune cells that can be genetically modified to obtain capable effector cells for adoptive cellular treatment of cancer patients. However, biological and technical hurdles related to gene delivery into NK cells have dramatically restrained progress. Recent technological advancements, including improved cell expansion techniques, chimeric antigen receptors (CAR), CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and enhanced viral transduction and electroporation, have endowed comprehensive generation and characterization of genetically modified NK cells. These promising developments assist scientists and physicians to design better applications of NK cells in clinical therapy. Notably, redirecting NK cells using CARs holds important promise for cancer immunotherapy. Various preclinical and a limited number of clinical studies using CAR-NK cells show promising results: efficient elimination of target cells without side effects, such as cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity which are seen in CAR-T therapies. In this review, we focus on the details of CAR-NK technology, including the design of efficient and safe CAR constructs and associated NK cell engineering techniques: the vehicles to deliver the CAR-containing transgene, detection methods for CARs, as well as NK cell sources and NK cell expansion. We summarize the current CAR-NK cell literature and include valuable lessons learned from the CAR-T cell field. This review also provides an outlook on how these approaches may transform current clinical products and protocols for cancer treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number73
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Hematology & Oncology
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Keywords

  • Adoptive cell therapy
  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Chimeric antigen receptor
  • Genetic modification
  • Natural killer cells
  • ACTIVATION
  • SPECIFICITY
  • LYMPHOCYTE SUBSETS
  • PROTEIN-L
  • SELECTION
  • EXPRESSION
  • EFFICIENCY
  • T-CELLS
  • TUMOR MICROENVIRONMENT
  • LENTIVIRAL TRANSDUCTION

Cite this