Background Success of immune checkpoint inhibitors, e.g., anti-PD1 antibodies have revolutionized cancer immunotherapy by demonstrating that a patient’s own T-cells recognize and treat cancer. The efficacy of PD-1 blockade is driven by recruitment of new T-cells from blood rather than via activation of pre-existing tumor infiltrating lymphocytes.1 However, anti-PD1 therapy is most effective in ~5% of malignancies i.e., cancers with high mutational burden. Hence, the challenge of addressing most lower mutational burden cancers (the ~95%) needs an alternate treatment strategy.
Methods We address this challenge by using RNA to prime and expand peripheral T-cells to cancer-specific mutations ex-vivo. Using our proprietary, patented, and robust manufacturing method, we can generate T-cell populations reactive to as low as 8 and as high as 40 cancer-specific mutant proteins.
Results In in-vitro cytotoxicity assays, our T-cells have cancer mutation-specific cytotoxicity and do not kill the normal cells. Further, the T-cells express homing receptors enabling them to infiltrate tumors and express high levels of TNFα and IFNγ, which are associated with effective tumor cytotoxicity and pro-inflammatory modification of tumor microenvironment (TME). Additional characterization shows these cells to be predominantly CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells bearing central and effector memory phenotypic with negligible regulatory or exhausted T-cells.
Conclusions We believe our T-cells can be used for cellular therapy in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat lower mutational burden cancers present in most patients.
Yost KE, et al. Nat Med. 2019 Aug;25(8):1251–1259.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.