Over the last decade, immunotherapy has established itself as an important novel approach in the treatment of cancer, resulting in a growing importance in oncology. Engineered T cell therapies, namely chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and T cell receptor (TCR) T cell therapies, are platform technologies that have enabled the development of products with remarkable efficacy in several hematological malignancies and are thus the focus of intense research and development activity. While engineered T cell therapies offer promise in addressing currently intractable cancers, they also present unique challenges, including their nonclinical safety assessment. A workshop organized by HESI and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was held to provide an interdisciplinary forum for representatives of industry, academia and regulatory authorities to share information and debate on current practices for the nonclinical safety evaluation of engineered T cell therapies. This manuscript leverages what was discussed at this workshop to provide an overview of the current important nonclinical safety assessment considerations for the development of these therapeutic modalities (cytokine release syndrome, neurotoxicity, on-target/off-tumor toxicities, off-target effects, gene editing or vector integration-associated genomic injury). The manuscript also discusses approaches used for hazard identification or risk assessment and provides a regulatory perspective on such aspects.
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