Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell based immunotherapy that can be used concomitantly with chemotherapy.
- T lymphocytes are engineered to be resistant to various chemotherapy agents, allowing for dual cell and chemotherapy-based approaches.
- Lymphocytes can be made to express a variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to allow for more precise tumor targeting.
Chemotherapeutics are among the most used and successful cancer treatments, but they can cause harmful and undesirable side effects. Many of these effects stem from the drug’s inability to differentiate between the body’s own rapidly growing cells and the tumor. Cancer immunotherapy is another successful cancer treatment that provides greater selectivity toward tumors. Selectivity can be enhanced using VLR CARs to target the tumor. However, cell-based immunotherapies cannot be used concomitantly with chemotherapy due to the susceptibility of these cells to chemotherapy agents. Chemotherapy-resistant, VLR CAR-modified immune cells would allow for dual therapy that may be a more effective treatment for certain tumors.
Researchers at Emory have developed a way to confer chemotherapy resistance to T lymphocytes using genetic engineering. Tumors treated with both these lymphocytes and chemotherapy showed a more rapid decrease in tumor size compared to either treatment alone. These lymphocytes may be modified with a variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that is specific for a tumor antigen, allowing greater targeting of the immune cells against tumors.
Each component of the technology has been developed and the combined use of drug resistant VLR chimeric antigen receptor immunotherapy is being tested using appropriate animal models.