Nearly one million people are diagnosed with cancer in the United States per year, according to The American Cancer Society, and although cancer therapeutics are among the most active areas in drug development, treatment still falls short of meeting patients’ needs.

However, experts believe that immunotherapeutics – in particular T-cell immunotherapy – could help fill a vital gap, with Roots Analysis’ “T-Cell Immunotherapy Market, 2015-2030” report predicting the market will be worth $30 billion USD by 2030.

Robust products in T-cell immunotherapy

Shannon Flynn, a consultant at Pennside with 3 years’ experience in gene therapy, explains that T-cell immunotherapy is an emerging therapeutic modality in which tumor-targeting T-cells are administered to the patient as a sort of “living drug.”

The therapy involves collecting T-cells, either from the patient (autologous) or a donor (allogeneic), as the active ingredient for treatment.  The cells are then modified to enhance their anti-tumor potential, before being expanded to increase total cell numbers for an optimized final product which can be administered to the patient.

Separated into three segments – CAR-T, TCR, and TIL therapies, the market is characterized by a robust pipeline of products targeting hematological cancers and solid tumours.

Researchers identified more than 180 T-cell therapies across various phases of development: at 56%, CAR-T therapies are the most common – and likely to gain the most attention – followed by TCR (25%) and TIL (19%) therapies. Engineered CAR-Ts with switch technologies are among the latest additions to the T-cell immunotherapy pipeline.

Pennside’s analysts note that some of the most recent developments in the field involve engineering CAR-T cells with sophisticated switch technologies which serve to modulate the activity of the cells in vivo. These technologies are primarily aimed at improving safety of the cells by migrating on-target/off-tumor toxicities.

For example, cells can be designated to turn “on” or “off” in the presence of a small molecule drug, while others might be engineered to activate only in response to stimuli from the tumor itself. Novel technologies such as these afford the CAR-T cells with mechanisms to enhance their tumor targeting potential and avoid damaging healthy tissues.

Driving factors behind T-cell developments

As for progress, the numbers speak for themselves: the report identified investments in T-cell research nearing USD 3 billion across start-ups and small firms. Big industry players are also driving research in the field.

Further helping push the T-cell market forward are lucrative rounds of VC funding, the discovery of novel targets, encouraging clinical trial results, and developments in immunotherapy products.

Meanwhile, various providers have pioneered improved efficacy and safety in developing platforms for engineering T-cells. The market has also attracted interest from technology providers with capabilities in genome editing, and viral and non-viral gene transfer. Other providers are developing innovative safety switches to manage side effects, such as cytokine release syndrome and B-cell aplasia.

The report, published by Roots Analysis, provides a comprehensive view of the market, which is still in its infancy.

This blog is based on the press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/t-cell-immunotherapy-market-2015-2030-300234571.html and report http://www.rootsanalysis.com/reports/view_document/t-cell-immunotherapy-market-2015-2030/108.html