Tumorigenicity Assessment of Cell Therapy Products: The Need for Global Consensus and Points to Consider

Pluripotent stem cells offer the potential for an unlimited source for cell therapy products. However, there is concern regarding the tumorigenicity of these products in humans, mainly due to the possible unintended contamination of undifferentiated cells or transformed cells. Because of the complex nature of these new therapies and the lack of a globally accepted consensus on the strategy for tumorigenicity evaluation, a case-by-case approach is recommended for the risk assessment of each cell therapy product. In general, therapeutic products need to be qualified using available technologies, which ideally should be fully validated. In such circumstances, the developers of cell therapy products may have conducted various tumorigenicity tests and consulted with regulators in respective countries. Here, we critically review currently available in vivo and in vitro testing methods for tumorigenicity evaluation against expectations in international regulatory guidelines. We discuss the value of those approaches, in particular the limitations of in vivo methods, and comment on challenges and future directions. In addition, we note the need for an internationally harmonized procedure for tumorigenicity assessment of cell therapy products from both regulatory and technological perspectives.

Full text online: https://www.celltherapyjournal.org/article/S1465-3249(19)30861-8/fulltext