Hunt for Novel Cancer Treatment Options and Rise of T-Cell Immunotherapies

Novel Cancer is known to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for more than 600,000 deaths in 2018 in the US alone. As per the recent reports by, the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of new cancer cases globally is expected to rise by 70% in the coming 20 years. Despite cancer being one of the most active areas in terms of drug development, there is still a significant unmet need in this space.

Global Cancer Burden is going to rise by more than 70% in next 20 years

Problems with available treatment options and the rise of immunotherapies 

Conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, have demonstrated very limited efficacy in late-stage cancers. Specifically, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also associated with several side effects. Their non-specific nature has severe detrimental effects on the patients’ quality of life.

Amidst the current initiatives to develop more targeted anti-cancer therapies, immunotherapy has emerged as a highly potent option to selectively eliminate tumor cells with minimal side effects. Immunotherapies essentially make use of the body’s own immune system, or its components, to fight cancer. It is a relatively new concept, currently having achieved pharmacological success with targeted antibody-based therapeutics, including monoclonal and conjugated antibodies. However, over the years, a number of different classes of immunotherapies have emerged for the management and treatment of cancer; these include therapeutic cancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses, cytokines, immune checkpoint inhibitors and certain whole cell-based therapies (adoptive cell therapies). These immunotherapies offer several key advantages.

Benefits of immunotherapy includes high specificity, patient centricity and long term advantages

The increasing popularity of immunotherapies, especially T-cell therapies, on social media platforms

An exponential increase in the number of tweets featuring the terms T-cell immunotherapy, CAR-T therapy, TCR therapy and TIL therapy was observed on Twitter; the number has increased from around 80 tweets in 2012 to around 7,406 tweets between 2017 to 2018.

Growing popularity of immunotherapies on social media suggests the market is posed to expand significantly in coming years

With two approved therapies and close to 650 clinical/preclinical product candidates, the T-cell immunotherapy pipeline has evolved significantly over the past few years

Presently, T-cell immunotherapies are primarily being designed to treat various cancer indications, specifically hematological malignancies, and solid tumors.

T-Cell Immunotherapy Pipeline through popular targets, distribution by indicator and different players as analysed by Roots team

CAR-T Therapies lead the T-cell immunotherapy space

In the last 10 years, over 450 clinical trials, evaluating various types of CAR-T therapies, were registered across different geographies.

CAR-T Clinical Trials timeline analysis shows significant jump in China in 2016-2019 period as compared to pre-2016 period

Other types of T-cell therapies are also gaining traction

Apart from CAR-T, TCR and TIL-based products, there are several other types of T-cell therapies under development for the treatment of oncological and non-oncological indications

A positive outlook from industry stakeholders is driving the growth of T-cell therapies market

With a promising development pipeline and encouraging clinical results, the market is anticipated to witness a CAGR of over 40% during the next decade. As new blockbuster therapies emerge, we expect the market to spread across different geographical regions; several key / emerging players will tap the growing opportunity.

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