Two-pronged Cell Therapy: Engineering T Cells to Redirect Bystander T- and NK-Cells to Pediatric Cancer
Immunotherapy with genetically modified T cells has the potential to improve outcomes for children with cancer. We have recently developed a new class of antigen-specific T cells, Engager T cells, that not only recognize tumor cells, but also redirect bystander T cells to tumors. This was achieved by genetically modifying T cells to secrete bispecific T-cell engagers. However, cancer patients also have a large reservoir of NK cells that could be harnessed to destroy malignant cells.
We now hypothesize that T cells that secrete NK-cell engagers in addition to T-cell engagers will recruit T and NK cells locally resulting in enhanced antitumor effects. This hypothesis will be tested for B-cell malignancies co-targeting CD19 with T-cell engagers and CD22 with NK-cell engagers since targeting two antigens should also decrease the inevitable risk of immune escape.
"We are extremely grateful for the support of ALSF. Our Innovation Grant will allow us to develop a novel T-cell immunotherapy approach for blood cancers. If our pre-clinical approach is successful and a clinical study is justified, we will develop such a study in the future." 6/2014