Advances in administering T-cell therapies, TCR-T or CAR-T cell therapies, are changing the way we fight cancer, and Alaunos is at the forefront of this change. Specifically, we are implementing a non-viral cell therapy platform that has the potential to produce T-cell therapies that are scalable to meet the needs and numbers of patients at a fraction of the cost and time of currently approved therapies.
T-Cell Receptors and Neoantigens
Advances in genetic sequencing have empowered us to identify new therapeutic approaches to target neoantigens that result from genetic mutations that give rise to cancer cells. These neoantigens are not present on any healthy cells or tissue. TCRs have the potential to be genetically modified so T cells can identify the neoantigen expressed by the patient’s cancer cells and then attack them. Alaunos is using Sleeping Beauty to genetically modify TCRs to target these neoantigens utilizing TCR-T cell therapy.
T-Cell Receptors or TCRs are molecules on the surface of cancer fighting T cells that have the ability to interrogate individual cancer cells and see beneath the cell membrane.
Antigens are the unique proteins that help immune cells identify and fight cancer cells. Neoantigens that come from mutations in critical genes can be found in tumors of unrelated people and, therefore, can be targeted with a library of TCRs.
Sleeping Beauty’s non-viral gene transfer system is well suited for developing genetically modified TCR therapies that target neoantigens. For patients receiving genetically modified TCRs targeting their own neoantigens in their cancer cells, there will be a need for a manufacturing process that is fast, scalable and cost effective, like Sleeping Beauty. See, “Stable, Nonviral Expression of Mutated Tumor Neoantigen-specific T-cell Receptors Using the Sleeping Beauty Transposon/ Transposase System,” published in the journal Molecular Therapy (5 March 2016, doi:10.1038/mt.2016.51).
The Sleeping Beauty system allows care providers to use TCRs that target neoantigens – unique markers that help the immune system identify certain cancers. Sleeping Beauty has the versatility to target multiple antigens and provide therapeutic options for solid tumors.