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Treatment of refractory and relapsed (R/R) B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is an unmet medical need in both children and adults. Studies carried out in the last two decades have shown that autologous T cells engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) represent an effective technique for treating these patients. Antigens expressed on B-cells, such as CD19, CD20, and CD22, represent targets suitable for treating patients with R/R B-ALL. CD19 CAR-T cells induce a high rate (80-90%) of complete remissions in both pediatric and adult R/R B-ALL patients. However, despite this impressive rate of responses, about half of responding patients relapse within 1-2 years after CAR-T cell therapy. Allo-HSCT after CAR-T cell therapy might consolidate the therapeutic efficacy of CAR-T and increase long-term outcomes; however, not all the studies that have adopted allo-HSCT as a consolidative treatment strategy have shown a benefit deriving from transplantation.
For B-ALL patients who relapse early after allo-HSCT or those with insufficient T-cell numbers for an autologous approach, using T cells from the original stem cell donor offers the opportunity for the successful generation of CAR-T cells and for an effective therapeutic approach.
Finally, recent studies have introduced allogeneic CAR-T cells generated from healthy donors or unmatched, which are opportunely manipulated with gene editing to reduce the risk of immunological incompatibility, with promising therapeutic effects.
Keywords: CAR T; Acute Lymphoid Leukemia; Allogeneic CAR-T; Autologous CAR-T.
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