Medicine stands at the threshold of a new era heralded by the vast potential of cell engineering. Like advances made possible by genetic engineering, current prospects for purposeful control of cell functions through cell engineering may bring breakthroughs in the treatment of previously intractable diseases.
Engineering of cytotoxic T cells for expression of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) instructs them to attack and destroy malignant cells and thus provides an exciting new approach in oncology. A decade of practical experience and first-in-human trials encourage the search for new and broader uses of CAR technology, including in autoimmune diseases.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an example of a broader category of autoimmune diseases, for which cell engineering will provide a powerful new therapeutic approach. This article describes different types of CAR T cell strategies that will provide new treatment options for patients with autoimmune diseases and replace conventional therapies.