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Engineered T Cells that Target Tumor-Specific Mutations

The National Cancer Institute's Surgery Branch seeks partners interested in collaborative research to co-develop or license T-cell receptors reactive with tumor associated antigens.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • T-cell receptor, TCR
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

Scientists at the National Cancer Institute's Surgery Branch have developed a method to identify and generate T-cell receptor (TCR) engineered T- cells for personalized cancer therapy. The TCR is a complex of integral membrane proteins that recognizes antigens and activates T cells. Human cancers contain genetic mutations that are unique in each patient. The researchers found cancer-specific mutations by sequencing tumors and comparing with normal cells. Using tandem minigene constructs encoding all of the patient's tumor mutations, they first identified T cells that were reactive with the unique mutated antigens expressed only in the patient's tumors. Next, they isolated the mutation-reactive TCRs and engineered peripheral blood T cells from the same patient to express these mutation-reactive TCRs. These personalized TCR engineered T cells can be expanded and infused back into the same patient with the potential to induce tumor regression.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Personalized immunotherapy to treat primary and recurrent epithelial cancer.
  • A research tool to identify patient-specific immunogenic mutations in tumors.
  • A research tool to identify and isolate mutation-specific T cell receptors.  
Competitive Advantages
  • This patient-specific therapy has the potential application to most epithelial cancers, which account for about 90% of cancer deaths in the United States.
  • Personalized TCR engineered T cells target tumor cells and spare normal tissues. This therapy has no tissue toxicities comparing to traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 
  • The infusion of a highly pure population of these T cells expressing mutation-specific TCRs may maximize therapy and result in regression of all target lesions.

Eric Tran (NCI), Yong-Chen W. Lu (NCI), Paul F. Robbins (NCI), Steven A. Rosenberg (NCI)

Development Stage

E. Tran et al. [PMID 24812403]

P. Robbins et al. [PMID 23644516]

E. Tran et al. [PMID 25046408]

A. Gros et al. [PMID 24667641]

Patent Status
  • PCT: PCT Application Number PCT/US2014/058805, Filed 02 Oct 2014
Therapeutic Area
Tuesday, November 19, 2019