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Armoring multifunctional T cells for cancer therapy

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ARMOR-T (Armoring multifunctional T cells for cancer therapy)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

Cellular therapies, the therapeutic use of T cells are part of the standard of care in certain blood-borne indications. Their field of application is however, currently limited to a very limited number of patients. From basic studies, it is expected that this type of treatment should be applicable to more frequent situations and diseases such as solid cancer types. In contrast, clinical studies so far failed to demonstrate activity in these diseases. A major reasons lays in a very different biology between solid and hematological cancers. These key differences have so far been overlooked in cell therapy development. ARMOR-T has taken up the challenge to solve these problems by means of engineering of cells. When successfull ARMOR-T will lay the basis for clinical translation and testing. Such novel therapeutic pipeline has the potential to offer promissing treatments to patients suffering from a wide variety of cancer types such as pancreatic, colon or breast cancer. ARMOR-T will a) establish novel methods of engeneering, b) select the most promising engeneering combinations and c) test and characterize such novel strategies.
ARMOR-T has set out to validate novel tumor targeting platforms utilizing specific immune cells, so called T cells (Karches et al., Clin Can Res 2019). ARMOR-T could also establish a novel technique of genetic modification of T cells and prove its efficacy. ARMOR-T further performed studies on dual engineering with proprietary technologies and will now move on with multiple engineering steps that will be assessed and compared in various models.
Previous work has mainly focused on effectively targeting the cancer cell and has already led to the approval of gene engineered T cells for distinct indications. The particular biology of non-hematological cancer types has however been mostly disregarded. ARMOR-T has proposed to specifically address said differences through multiple engineering. Such approach has the potential to offer a unique therapeutic avenue for patients suffering from multiple cancer types. By the end of the project, ARMOR-T will have set the basis for clinical trials which might be practice changing.