What happened

Shares of the clinical-stage cancer-cell therapy company Alaunos Therapeutics (TCRT 4.35%) were up 18.6% on heavy volume on Thursday. The biotech's shares have been blasting higher over the past three months. 

After this latest uptick, Alaunos' stock has now gained about 400% since the middle of May. Investors have been piling into this developmental cell therapy stock in response to a series of bullish notes from the investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald.

So what

Cantor is optimistic that Alaunos' cell therapy pipeline, which is based on the non-viral Sleeping Beauty gene-engineering platform, will prove to be an important new treatment option for a variety of solid tumors. Keeping with this theme, the company recently said that it expects to release initial data from an ongoing phase 1 trial in advanced non-small cell lung cancer earlier than expected.

In fact, these highly anticipated data appear to be the subject of the company's scheduled presentation at the International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference on Sept. 30.  Alaunos probably wouldn't be accelerating its data-release time line if it didn't have something impressive to say to the investing world. And investors do indeed appear to be anticipating some type of clear-cut win from these early-stage data.  

Now what

Is Alaunos' stock still a screaming buy? The biotech's novel cell-therapy platform is targeting an array of high-value indications. A single win in any of these solid tumor settings would propel its shares much higher than they are now.

That being said, anti-cancer cell therapies have had a tough time in the solid tumor arena. That's not to say that Alaunos can't succeed in this particular setting, but investors definitely shouldn't buy shares without considering the downside potential in this case.