Abstract Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy is regarded as an effective solution for relapsed or refractory tumors, particularly for hematological malignancies. Although the initially approved anti-CD19 CAR-T therapy has produced impressive outcomes, setbacks such as high relapse rates and resistance were experienced, driving the need to discover engineered CAR-T cells that are more effective for therapeutic use. Innovations in the structure and manufacturing of CAR-T cells have resulted in significant improvements in efficacy and persistence, particularly with the development of fourth-generation CAR-T cells. Paired with an immune modifier, the use of fourth-generation and next-generation CAR-T cells will not be limited because of cytotoxic effects and will be an efficient tool for overcoming the tumor microenvironment. In this review, we summarize the recent transformations in the ectodomain, transmembrane domain, and endodomain of the CAR structure, which, together with innovative manufacturing technology and improved cell sources, improve the prospects for the future development of CAR-T cell therapy.