CAR-T therapies capitalize on the activities of T cells, the immune system’s natural hunters that prowl through the body looking for things that don’t belong. Foreign cells, or those infected with a virus, express unusual proteins that serve as a beacon to T cells, some of which release a toxic stew of molecules to destroy the abnormal cells. This search-and-destroy function can also target cancer cells for elimination, but tumours often have ways of disarming the immune system, such as by cloaking abnormal proteins or suppressing T-cell function.
CAR-T cells carry synthetic proteins — the chimeric antigen receptors — that span the cell membrane. On the outside is a structure that functions like an antibody, binding to specific molecules on the surface of some cancer cells. Once that has bound, the portion of the protein inside the cell stimulates T-cell activity, hot-wiring it into action. The result is a tiny, revved-up, cancer-fighting machine.
Poolbeg Pharma plc (LON:POLB) is a clinical stage infectious disease pharmaceutical company, with a novel capital light clinical model which enables us to develop multiple products faster and more cost effectively than the traditional biotech model.