Engineering lymphocytes to recognize cancer cells is a strategy that has already produced convincing clinical results thanks to CAR-T therapy. But this is not the only approach on the horizon. An emerging alternative is TCR-engineered lymphocytes, where TCR stands for T-cell receptors.
CRISPR was recently used to replace this kind of endogenous receptors with other TCRs, previously isolated from the blood of healthy donors. The resulting cells are able to recognize a specific tumor protein (WT1) and are expected to remain in circulation longer, ready to reactivate in case of relapse, according to Chiara Bonini and colleagues at San Raffaele in Milan.
Their partner Intellia Therapeutics has obtained the green light to test this approach in patients with acute myeloid leukemia in the US and UK. To learn more please see the paper published in Science Translational Medicine this month.