T-cell immunotherapy mainly consists of T-cell receptor (TCR), Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) T-cell therapy. TCR is a complex integral membrane protein that activates T-cells in response to an antigen. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules activates TCR by the presence of an antigen. The activation of TCR initiates positive and negative cascades that leads to cellular proliferation, cytokine production, cellular differentiation, and/or activation of induced cell death. These signaling positive and negative cascades regulate T-cell development, homeostasis, activation, acquisition of effector’s functions and apoptosis.
TILs, defined by NCI, the U.S. federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training, as a preparation of cells consisting of autologous tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, that are manipulated in vitro and, upon administration in vivo, re-infiltrate the tumor to initiate tumor cell lysis. In vitro, TILs are isolated from tumor tissue and cultured with lymphokines such as interleukin-2. The therapeutic TILs are then infused into patients, where after re-infiltration of the tumor, they may induce lysis of tumor cells and tumor regression. The use of therapeutic TILs is considered as an adoptive immunotherapy.
The high prevalence of cancer and increased safety and efficacy across the globe fuels the extensive research and development for the T-cell immunotherapeutic. T-cell immunotherapy is emerging as novel and promising approach for the treatment of cancer as it has several advantages over conventional therapies such as very low or no side effects and high specificity.
The T-cell immunotherapy pipeline is very strong with a total of 139 drug candidates in different stages of development.
Some of the key players developing T-cell immunotherapies are Novartis AG, Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc., Kite Pharmaceuticals Inc. and others.
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