Immune Cell Therapies for Cancer: Successes and Challenges of CAR T Cells and Other Forms of Adoptive Therapy

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education activities for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

AACR has designated this live activity for a maximum of 16.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Credit certification for individual sessions may vary, dependent upon compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria. The final number of credits may vary from the maximum number indicated above.


Claiming (CME) Credit

Physicians and other health care professionals seeking AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM for this live continuing medical education activity must complete the online CME Request for Credit Survey by Tuesday, September 3, 2019. Certificates will only be issued to those who complete the survey. The Request for Credit Survey will be available via a link on this webpage and via email. Your CME certificate will be sent to you via email after the completion of the activity.

Statement of Educational Need, Target Audience, and Learning Objectives

The field of adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has the potential to be one of the most promising in cancer research. Utilizing the body's immune cells to fight cancer is often safer and better tolerated than traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Study and understanding of the immune system's response to cancer has increased exponentially over the past several years, and this has given rise to many breakthrough cancer treatments. ACT has given second chances to patients who were initially considered terminal, and enthusiasm for the technology is very high.

The first successful clinical applications of adoptive cell therapy were performed in the 1980s and chimeric antigen receptors were genetically developed in the 1990s. In the years since, CAR and other forms of ACT are now being used to treat leukemias, lymphomas, myeloma, as well as solid tumors in the CNS and liver. This conference will feature some of the world's premier oncologists and researchers who are responsible for the very existence of these therapies. They will report on the status of these studies and provide critical updates about clinical applications, as well as scientific significance.

ACT involves collecting a patient's immune cells (usually T cells) – this may include engineering chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs) and transferring them into T cells, tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), or natural killer (NK) cells – activating the immune cells; and transferring them into patients. This is a precision therapy that can target a patient's specific cancer, and augments their immune cell function to better fight their cancer.

One shortcoming of ACT is it is currently limited to treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia and certain lymphomas, but several researchers at this conference will report on their work to target other types of cancer, including solid tumors. Additionally, to expand the field, researchers will offer their perspectives on discovering new target antigens, utilizing other immune cells besides T cells, and utilizing novel forms of gene delivery. Another drawback to ACT is the potential side effects, such as cytokine release syndrome and edema, and this will also be addressed by the clinician-scientists. Finally, ACT is a very expensive treatment because of the very time- and labor-intensive process, but as it may be the only answer for some patients, industry professionals will discuss how to potentially drive down costs.

Only through a thorough understanding of the basic immunological science, the benefits, and the side effects behind these new technologies, and collaboration between basic scientists, oncologists, and industry professionals can new treatments be developed and approved. For physicians to best aid patients, they must have a solid and current understanding of the complexities of immune cell therapies and new advances taking place in the lab that can eventually be applied to patients. Physicians will leave this conference with knowledge of novel advancements in immune cell therapies in the lab and the potential thereof for therapeutic applications.

After participating in this CME activity, physicians should be able to:

  1. Explain current clinical cellular therapy practices.
  2. Evaluate alternative immune cell types for their potential use in adoptive cellular therapy.
  3. Integrate novel combination and targeted therapies for personalizing cancer immune responses.
  4. Identify novel target antigens, genetically engineered vectors, and delivery systems that can be exploited for adoptive therapy.
  5. Assess the benefits versus the shortcomings of adoptive cell therapy.


Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of the AACR that the information presented at AACR CME activities will be unbiased and based on scientific evidence. To help participants make judgments about the presence of bias, AACR will provide information that Scientific Program Committee members and speakers have disclosed about financial relationships they have with commercial entities that produce or market products or services related to the content of this CME activity. This disclosure information will be made available in the Program/Proceedings of this conference.


Acknowledgment of Financial or Other Support

This activity is supported by a Professional Educational Grants and will be disclosed at the activity.


Questions about CME?

Please contact the Office of CME at (215) 440-9300 or