Every day, T cells of our immune system survey the body for cancer and eliminate cells that are potentially malignant. One of the most promising approaches to cancer therapy involves removing a patient’s T cells, reprogramming them to recognize cancer cells, and infusing those reprogrammed T cells back into the patient.

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR T-cell therapy) reprograms a patient’s T cells to recognize tumor associated antigens on the surface of cancer cells. To date, CAR T-cell therapy has proven effective in certain types of blood cancer, but extending this success to solid tumors has been challenging. We believe that the best way to overcome these obstacles is to use naturally occurring TCRs to reprogram a patient’s T cells. With a collection of anti-cancer TCRs, therapies can be designed that are tailored to a patient’s cancer and that address more than one target simultaneously.

TCR T-cell therapy offers a number of potential advantages over CAR T-cell therapy, including:

  • Broader range of tumor targets, including both intracellular and cell surface proteins
  • Decreased chance of toxicity, as naturally occurring TCRs have already been screened by the human immune system for off-target activity
  • Greater penetration of solid tumors, as individual TCRs exhibit lower affinity interactions than CARs
  • Longer persistence, as natural signaling and survival processes are engaged

Despite these advantages, TCR therapy has yet to become a widespread treatment for cancer. By far the largest challenge has been identifying suitable targets for TCR therapy, along with safe and effective TCRs that recognize these targets. Using our proprietary target ID platform, and adopting an approach that starts and ends with patients, TScan is discovering novel TCR/target pairs for therapeutic development.