Overcoming immunosuppression and activating a cytotoxic T cell response has the potential to halt the progression of cancer and, in some circumstances, eradicate it. Designing therapeutic interventions that achieve this goal has proven challenging, but now a greater understanding of the complexities of immune responses is beginning to produce some notable breakthroughs. ImmTACs (immune-mobilising monoclonal TCRs against cancer) are a new class of bispecific reagents, based on soluble monoclonal T cell receptors, which have been engineered to possess extremely high affinity for cognate tumour antigen. In this way, ImmTACs overcome the problem of low affinity tumour-specific T cells imposed by thymic selection and provide access to the large number of antigens presented as peptide-HLA complexes. Once bound to tumour cells the anti-CD3 effector end of the ImmTAC drives recruitment of polyclonal T cells to the tumour site, leading to a potent redirected T cell response and tumour cell destruction. Extensive in vitro testing coupled with promising early clinical data has provided an enhanced appreciation of ImmTAC function in vivo and indicates their potential therapeutic benefit in terms of a durable response and ultimately the breaking of T cell tolerance. This review introduces ImmTACs in the context of immunotherapy, and outlines their design, construction and mechanism of action, as well as examining target selection and aspects of preclinical safety testing.
Keywords: Anti-CD3; Bispecific; Cancer; ImmTAC; Immunotherapy; T cell receptor.
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