Our understanding of how the immune system responds to cancer has increased by leaps and bounds in the past two decades, allowing us to develop a new approach to fight cancer that uses the power of the body’s own immune system to prevent, target, control, and eliminate the disease. Collectively, this technique of battling cancer is known as cancer immunotherapy. Such an approach encompasses many methods from broad ones like applying immune checkpoint blockers (ICB) or using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target known cancer antigens to more personalized ones like adoptive T cell transfer including the use of Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.
It is this personalized immunotherapy approach that has sparked a great deal of interest among researchers. This method involves the extraction of a patient’s T cells and the subsequent stimulation of the rare T cells populations that can fight cancer with specific antigens. For this form of therapy to work there needs to be an exact knowledge of the peptide sequences derived from tumor cells (neo-epitopes) that can be used to artificially stimulate a patient’s T cells to fight them.
Previously, we have described how by using the QuickSwitchTM Quant Platform peptides, they can be tested for their ability to bind MHC Class I molecules. This test does not involve prediction algorithms or large swaths of data with a great deal of false positives but provides an in vitro result of whether or not the peptide can be presented on the MHC molecule in about 8 hours. It is our hope that by using our kit, researchers will be able to discover and validate neoantigen peptide sequences more effectively, which would open up new ways for adoptive T cell transfer in cancer immunotherapy.
Once streamlined, our QuickSwitchTM platform can do more than just diagnose the right peptides to use for adoptive cell transfer. The QuickSwitchTM MHC molecules are uniquely positioned to be able to bind the right peptides based on an individual patient’s HLA haplotypes and effective peptide antigens. Given how little time it takes to switch out the QuickSwitchTM placeholder peptide and bind the desired peptide, it can be possible to personalize the adoptive T cell transfer therapy for each individual patient. Given our experience in generating MHC tetramers, we would be able to put our monomers on a scaffold different from streptavidin together with signal 2 ligands to stimulate the right population of T cells to expand and fight cancer cells.