Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Garrett discusses HIV/AIDS

March 11, 2016

Adaptimmune Limited is focused on the use of T cell therapy to treat HIV and cancer. It aims to utilize the body??s own machinery ?? the T lymphocyte cell ?? to target and destroy cancerous or infected cells. 

Established in July 2008, Adaptimmune was set up to develop Immunocore Ltd??s (formerly Avidex/MediGene Ltd??s) unique T cell receptor engineering technology for adoptive T cell therapy. Specifically, Adaptimmune makes use of the body??s ability to recognize infected or cancerous cells by enhancing the power of the T cell receptor (TCR) on killer T cells. Cancerous or virally infected cells will typically present small parts or peptides of larger viral proteins or abnormal cancer proteins on their surface, offering a "molecular fingerprint" called an epitope for killer T-cells from the immune system to identify. In a healthy individual, this triggers an immune response, eliminating the affected cell. However, viruses such as HIV mutate rapidly, swiftly disguising their fingerprints to allow them to hide from killer T-cells whilst cancer proteins are usually derived from self-proteins against which natural TCRs do not respond. Adaptimmune??s technology uniquely enhances the natural TCR affinity to either viral or cancer protein epitopes on an individual patient??s cells overcoming these obstacles for therapeutic benefit.

Adaptimmune has undertaken significant preclinical development with a number of pipeline TCRs to demonstrate their potency and specificity in vitro.  The TCRs in the current melanoma study are specific to the cancer testis antigen targets NY-ESO-1 157-165 (HLA A2; SLLMWITQC) and MAGE A3168-176 (HLA A1; EVDPIGHLY) and were engineered using Adaptimmune??s proprietary TCR engineering platform. It is poised to gather clinical safety and efficacy data on these and other TCRs with regulatory approvals for human trials in HIV and multiple cancers now in place.