Are CAR-T cells used for therapeutic purposes?

As of the end of 2016, 220 CAR-T cell trials have been documented, with 188 still ongoing (including nine long-term follow-up studies).2 The majority of these (128) are Phase I clinical trials, which primarily evaluate safety and proper dosing. The number of ongoing and newly-initiated CAR-T cell clinical trials has risen sharply since 2014, with the United States (97) and China (66) leading the way.2 While hematological cancers have historically received the bulk of the attention, investigations into CAR-T cell therapeutic potential in solid tumors now accounts for roughly one-third of ongoing trials.2

CAR-T cell therapy has proven to be particularly effective against B-cell malignancies, with a more mixed record for other blood cancers and a somewhat poor record against solid tumors.1,2 Solid tumors in particular present several obstacles to CAR-T cells, including hostile microenvironments and poor accessibility.1 However, CAR design provides researchers with almost a blank slate, and the future will likely bring many more CAR-T cell-based products designed to overcome these issues.2

For the most recent data as well as trial-specific information, please visit

1. S. Yu, et al., “Chimeric antigen receptor T cells: a novel therapy for solid tumors,” J Hematol Oncol 10(1):78, 2017
2. J. Hartmann, et al., “Clinical development of CAR T cells-challenges and opportunities in translating innovative treatment concepts,” EMBO Mol Med 9(9):1183-1197, 2017.