Researchers have identified a protein that may represent a new therapeutic target for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Using this protein as a target, the team successfully created CAR T cell therapy (a type of immunotherapy) that killed pancreatic cancer cells in a preclinical model.
“It’s an exciting development,” said John Marshall, a professor at Queen Mary University in London.
“Finding that CEACAM7 allows us to kill pancreatic cancer cells specifically with CAR T cells without having significant toxicity in non-tumor tissues gives us hope that this strategy can be effective in the future,” Marshall added. .
CAR T cell therapy is an immunotherapy that has shown great promise for the treatment of some blood cancers; however, the treatment of solid tumors using this therapy has been shown to be very difficult.
One of the barriers to success is toxicity in tissues other than cancer, as most of the proteins currently used to target CAR T cells to cancer cells in the pancreas and other solid tumors are present. at low levels in other normal tissues, causing toxic side effects. dit.
In this study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the team identified a protein called CEACAM7 that may represent a safer treatment target for the development of therapies for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common type of pancreatic cancer.
Using a specialized technique called immunostaining, the team examined a group of human PDAC samples and normal tissues to detect the presence of CEACAM7.
A large subset of tested PDAC samples expressed CEACAM7, but the protein could not be detected in a panel of normal tissues including the amygdala, lung, liver, and prostate, suggesting that CEACAM7 may be an ideal target for cell development. T CAR cells against pancreatic cancer.
To determine the potential of CEACAM7 as a treatment target, the team developed TAC cells targeting CEACAM7 and applied them to PDAC cell lines, as well as a preclinical model of PDAC.
CAR T cells were effectively targeted to cells expressing CEACAM7 in PDAC cell cultures and eliminated cancer cells in a preclinical late-stage model of PDAC.