Improved harmonization of critical characterization assays across cell therapies
The field of cell therapy has blossomed, providing exciting new options for treating a variety of diseases. While few cell therapy products have US FDA approval, there are thousands of cell treatments at various stages of development, pointing to a potential revolutionary shift in patient care. The expanding number and nature of cellular therapies necessitate greater standardization. Several international organizations are collaborating to pursue some level of global standardization, especially concerning cell banking. However, less harmonization surrounds assays used for critical quality characterization including: identity, purity, safety and potency. Frequently, there is divergence regarding the terms describing the characterization assays across regulatory authorities and guidances. This review summarizes the critical quality assays currently used for different categories of cell therapies. Areas of harmonization and an absence of standardization are highlighted. We propose potential solutions to facilitate harmonization of critical quality characterization assays and the language used to describe them.