T-cell Receptor Gene Therapy for Treatment of Lethal Prostate Cancer

About T-cell Receptor Gene Therapy for Treatment of Lethal Prostate Cancer
  • Immunotherapy has resulted in long term, potentially curative responses in some patients with melanoma and other solid tumors, and with further development, holds much promise for the treatment of prostate cancer.
  • Dr. Baltimore and team are studying how T-cells recognize prostate tumor cells in order create a T-cell gene therapy that has the potential to eliminate prostate cancer.
  • T-cell receptors (TCR) are unique genes that are genetically different in every individual T-cell, and allow each T-cell to recognize a different protein antigen. Recognition of these antigens – usually uniquely expressed by pathogen infected-cells or other dangerous cells such as tumor cells, allows the T-cell to become activated and kill the target cell.
  • T-cells that infiltrate prostate tumors will be studied in order to identify the sequences of T-cell receptor (TCR) genes that recognize prostate tumors and the tumor antigens that they recognize.
  • The sequences of these TCRs will be used to make a gene therapy in which a patient’s T-cells are genetically modified with prostate tumor-targeting TCR genes. The activity and delivery of this therapy will be optimized using in vitro assays and mouse tumor models to evaluate the potential therapeutic efficacy of this immunotherapy approach.

What this means for patients: Immunotherapy has demonstrated powerful effects in some patients with melanoma and other cancers, but needs further development in prostate cancer. If successful, this project will create a platform for a novel TCR gene therapy for the treatment of lethal prostate cancer that will lead to new clinical trials.

Principal Investigator:

David Baltimore, PhD (California Institute of Technology)


Owen Witte, MD (University of California, Los Angeles), Lili Yang, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles), Michael Bethune, PhD (California Institute of Technology)