Fighting Cancer

‘Hijacking’ cells that normally attack common infections to target cancer instead could offer the body a ready-made army against the killer disease University researchers and Oxford-based biotech company, Immunocore Limited have uncovered. Published in Nature Medicine, the study examined the potential of molecules on the surface of anti-cancer killer T cells, known as T cell receptors (TCRs) to be used to treat cancers for which few disease-specific targets are available. The Immunocore team engineered a range of TCRs to bind very tightly to cancer cells and equipped them with the ability to activate non-cancer specific T cells. This new class of drug, named ‘ImmTACs’ (Immune Mobilising mTCR against Cancer), can be used to ‘hi-jack’ the body’s existing T cells that normally kill viruses and redirect them to kill cancer cells instead.

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