To redirect T cells against tumor cells, T cells can be engineered ex vivo to express cancer-antigen specific T cell receptors (TCRs), generating products known as TCR-engineered T cells (TCR T). Unlike chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), TCRs recognize HLA-presented peptides derived from proteins of all cellular compartments. The use of TCR T cells for adoptive cellular therapies (ACT) has gained increased attention, especially as efforts to treat solid cancers with ACTs have intensified. In this review, we describe the differing mechanisms of T cell antigen recognition and signal transduction mediated through CARs and TCRs. We describe the classes of cancer antigens recognized by current TCR T therapies and discuss both classical and emerging pre-clinical strategies for antigen-specific TCR discovery, enhancement, and validation. Finally, we review the current landscape of clinical trials for TCR T therapy and discuss what these current results indicate for the development of future engineered TCR approaches.
Keywords: CAR; T cell receptor; TCR; TCR T; TCR-engineered T cells; adoptive cell therapy; chimeric antigen receptor.
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