University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Engineering proT-cells from stem cells for adoptive cell immunotherapy
In current CAR-T cell therapies, mature T-cells are collected from the patient’s blood, engineered to kill leukemia and lymphoma cells, and transplanted back into the patient. Successful implementation of this strategy is limited by high treatment costs, low cell yields, and long-term safety concerns. Many CAR T-cells recognize both cancerous and healthy cells, causing undesirable side effects. A ‘universal’ source of progenitor (pro) T-cells engineered to target certain cancer cells could be transplanted into the patient where they would develop into mature T-cells that would be tolerated by the patient’s immune system, thus minimizing the potential side effects. We have developed a way to grow proT-cells from stem cells and aim to demonstrate that CAR proT-cells are an effective way to treat blood cancers. Optimization of CAR-proT therapy should reduce targeting of healthy tissue, reduce side-effects, and increase potency against many types of leukemia and lymphoma. Furthermore, development of proT- cells would allow for scalable production of ‘off the shelf’ cancer immunotherapies which would result in lower costs for patients.