T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have revolutionized the field of cell therapy and changed the paradigm of treatment for many patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies. Despite this progress, there are limitations to CAR-T cell therapy in both the autologous and allogeneic settings, including practical, logistical and toxicity issues. Given these concerns, there is a rapidly growing interest in NK cells as alternative vehicles for CAR engineering, given their unique biological features and their established safety profile in the allogeneic setting. Other immune effector cells, such as iNKT cells, γδ T cells and macrophages, are attracting interest as well and eventually may be added to the repertoire of engineered cell therapies against cancer. The pace of these developments will undoubtedly benefit from multiple innovative technologies, such as the CRISPR-Cas gene editing system, which offers great potential to enhance the natural ability of immune effector cells to eliminate refractory cancers.

Citation Format: Rafet Basar. CAR NK Cells: The future of cancer immunotherapy [abstract]. In: Abstracts: AACR Virtual Special Conference: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy; 2021 Oct 5-6. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2022;10(1 Suppl):Abstract nr IA05.