CHOP Researchers Develop a New Class of CAR-T Cells that Target Previously Untargetable Cancer Drivers

In a breakthrough for the treatment of aggressive solid cancers, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have developed a novel cancer therapy that targets proteins inside cancer cells that are essential for tumor growth and survival but have been historically impossible to reach. Using the power of large data sets and advanced computational approaches, the researchers were able to identify peptides that are presented on the surface of tumor cells and can be targeted with “peptide-centric” chimeric antigen receptors (PC-CARs), a new class of engineered T cells, stimulating an immune response that eradicates tumors.

The discovery, which was described today in Nature, opens the door to treating a broader array of cancers with immunotherapy as well as applying each therapy across a greater proportion of the population.

“This research is extremely exciting because it raises the possibility of targeting very specific tumor molecules, expanding both the cancers that can be treated with immunotherapy and the patient population who can benefit,” said Mark Yarmarkovich, PhD, an investigator in the Maris Laboratory at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and first author of the paper. “By using a multi-omics approach, we were able to identify peptides specific to neuroblastoma tumors, but this method could be used in any cancer, allowing for a more personalized approach to cancer treatment.”

Published on Nov 03, 2021 in CHOP News