The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Johanna Olweus

Cancer-targeted T cell Receptors – the next generation immunotherapeutic drugs

Main content

Johanna Olweus
Institute of Immunology, Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Medical Centre, University of Oslo

Immune responses to established cancer are difficult to evoke by vaccination of patients. In contrast, transfer of immunity by T cells in allogeneic (from donor to patient) stem cell transplantation can cure a number of hematological malignancies. However, severe side effects due to unknown T cell specificities causing attack of normal cells, and the need to identify matched donors, limit the applicability of this treatment. A generic approach conferring T cell-mediated immunity would therefore be attractive. The specificity of a T cell is dictated by its T cell Receptor (TcR). Recently, technology has become available allowing treatment of patients with T cells that have been genetically manipulated to express TcRs directed at malignant melanoma. The challenge is to identify TcRs that effectively mediate killing of other cancer types. Each TcR must be reactive with a known peptide from cancer cells in complex with a defined tissue-type molecule (HLA). The main objective of our project is to generate recombinant TcRs reactive with cancer cells. A panel of such TcRs represent generic drug candidates in a novel immunogenetic cancer therapy. Information about patient tissue type and protein expression is used to select among the TcRs. We will use two novel approaches to generate cancer-targeted TcRs.

Chair: Roland Jonsson <roland.jonsson[@]gades.uib.no>, The Gade Institute