The human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 and E7 oncoproteins are constitutively expressed by HPV+ cancers and they are absent from healthy tissues, making them ideal targets for immunotherapy using T cells. However, poor results of early clinical trials have shown that HPV+ tumor cells possess diverse means of immune evasion. In the present study, the researchers have genetically engineered tumor-infiltrating T cells from an HPV+ cancer patient to express an oncoprotein-specific TCR and tested for specific reactivity against HPV+ epithelial tumor cells. Engineered cells showed great affinity specifically to HPV+ cells and a capacity to kill them. The study demonstrates that HPV+ tumours can be targeted by E6 specific T cell receptor gene engineered T cells, and they provide the foundation for a novel cellular
therapy directed against HPV+ malignancies.
Targeting of HPV-16+ epithelial cancer cells by TCR gene engineered T cells directed against E6
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