AdaptEr-controlled chimeric antigen receptor t-cell (car-t) therapy
Adapting a patient’s immune system to target their cancer
Endocyte is leveraging its targeting ligand conjugate technology to develop an adapter approach to enable greater control and universality of CAR-T based therapy. Traditional CAR-T therapies rely on the activity and specificity of T-cells that have been engineered to recognize a single naturally expressed target, that in an ideal situation is only present on cancer cells, with no cross-reactivity to or targeting of healthy tissues. An alternative strategy being developed by Endocyte to better harness the tremendous anti-cancer effects of CAR-T therapy is to use an adapter-controlled approach that instead uses CAR T-cells that express a high affinity receptor for a molecule called FITC, which is not naturally present in the human body. The activity and specificity of these CAR T-cells is then dependent upon the administration of Endocyte’s proprietary two-part CAR-T adapter molecule (CAM), created using targeting ligand conjugation chemistry wherein the CAR-T target, FITC, is conjugated to a tumor homing ligand. By administering Endocyte’s CAMs, a patient’s cancer cells are rapidly “painted” with the targeted FITC molecule which then attracts, and bridges, the anti-FITC CAR T-cells at the site of disease, causing the well-characterized anti-cancer immune response of a traditional CAR-T therapy. However, unlike existing CAR-T technologies, Endocyte’s unique CAM-dependent approach makes possible the engineering of a single universal CAR T-cell that can be used to treat various cancer types. This is accomplished by developing multiple CAMs, each one containing a distinctive cancer targeting ligand, but the same FITC molecule. By design, the adapter approach allows for novel control strategies to increase the safety of the potent immune response of CAR-T therapy.
Adapter-controlled CAR-T is currently being evaluated pre-clinically.