The difference between gene and cell therapy is that gene therapy involves using a carrier, or vector, to transfer genetic material. The genetic material is inserted into the genome of targeted cells in the body.
In comparison, cell therapy involves introducing or injecting cells that function as desired into the patient's body. Cells may come from the patient (autologous cells) or a donor (allogeneic cells) and are expanded and/or modified before injecting them. Genetic modification, for example to produce CAR T-cell therapies or a modified stem cell therapy, can be achieved using viral vectors, mRNA or gene editing technologies like CRIPSR.Both gene and cell therapies improve body functions, but only gene therapy alters the patient's cellular genetics.
Another difference between gene and cell therapy is in bioprocessing. Gene therapy can be easier to manufacture at larger scales when compared to cell therapy. One reason is that gene therapy upstream bioprocessing is comparable to recombinant manufacturing. Cell therapy bioprocessing remains manual and requires customization that limits its manufacturing capacities.