In the past few years cell therapies had a major breakthrough due to the enormous success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in liquid cancer treatment. Since then the field of cell and gene therapy has rapidly evolved and numerous novel approaches are being investigated. One important challenge is surely the optimization of CAR T cell products in regards to potency, safety and persistence. In addition, the concept of using allogeneic off-the-shelf CAR T cell products to cut down vein-to-vein time and manufacturing costs is becoming more and more attractive. Last but not least, genetically modified T cells are also currently being investigated as treatment option for several other indications.
All of these revolutionary new approaches in cell and gene therapy require complex multi-step gene-engineering, which strongly emphasizes the need for non-viral gene modification options in addition to the currently popular viral strategies. However, translation of such a complex research workflow into a GMP environment still represents a major challenge, and perhaps even a breaking point in novel cell therapy development.