The major hurdle to the creation of cancer-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAb) exhibiting limited cross-reactivity with healthy human cells is the paucity of known tumor-specific or mutated protein epitopes expressed on the cancer cell surface. Mutated and overexpressed oncoproteins are typically cytoplasmic or nuclear. Cells can present peptides from these distinguishing proteins on their cell surface in the context of human leukocyte antigen (HLA). T cell receptor mimic (TCRm) mAb can be discovered that react specifically to these complexes, allowing for selective targeting of cancer cells. The state-of-the-art for TCRm and the challenges and opportunities are discussed. Several such TCRm are moving toward clinical trials now.
Keywords: T cell receptor (TCR); TCR like antibody; TCR mimic antibody; immunotherapy; monoclonal antibody.