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CAR-T cell therapy UPSC NOTE

 

  • Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy involves genetically modifying a patient’s T cells to fight against malignant tumor cells. 

    • T cells are a type of white blood cell developed from the stem cells in the bone marrow and are a vital part of the immune system, defending the body against infections

  • T-cells are collected from the patient through a process called leukapheresis

  • They are then modified in the lab to express proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. 

  • The gene responsible for encoding CAR is developed synthetically in the lab, and a vector acts as a vehicle to deliver CAR into the patient’s T-cell. 

  • Commonly, viral vectors, such as lentiviral vectors, are used, as seen in NexCAR19. 

    • NexCAR19: India's Indigenously Developed CAR-T Therapy

    • NexCAR19 is designed to target cancer cells carrying the CD19 protein, a marker on cancer cells, enhancing precision in treatment.

    • It has been developed in India by ImmunoACT, which is a company incubated at IIT Bombay

  • The re-engineered T cells are then multiplied by millions in the lab and sent back to the hospital, where they are infused into the patient. 

  • The patient usually undergoes chemotherapy before receiving the CAR-T cells.

  • The CAR comprises several components that enable it to identify cancer cell antigens and stimulate an immune response. 

  • Each CAR spans across the cell membrane, with a portion extending outside the cell and a portion inside. 

  • The exterior segment is made of fragments of laboratory-generated antibodies selected for their affinity to bind to the targeted antigen. 

  • The internal segment of CAR consists of two components responsible for transmitting signalling once the receptor interacts with an antigen

  • While CAR-T therapy has shown remarkable progress in cases that looked hopeless, its efficacy varies from person to person, and it remains too early to declare it a complete cure. 

  • Moreover, it entails several side effects, the cytokine release syndrome (CRS) being the most common — an inflammatory response triggering immune system hyperactivity.

  • Neurotoxicity is another common side effect but it wasn’t observed in any early-stage clinical trial patients, potentially because of the ‘humanised’ antibody fragments used. 

  • Additionally, infections and low blood cell counts are other side effects doctors anticipate

  • While NexCAR19 is priced at a fraction of its U.S. counterpart, it remains relatively high for many Indians, ranging from ₹40 to 45 lakh

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: CAR-T cell therapy UPSC NOTE
CAR-T cell therapy UPSC NOTE
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