For many years, the cornerstones of cancer treatment have been surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Recent years have seen the emergence of cancer immunotherapy, in which treatments harness the power of a patient’s immune system to combat their disease.
T-cells are a type of white blood cell that form part of the immune system’s natural protection against cancer and infection. Normally our T-cells can detect and eliminate abnormal or cancerous cells but sometimes these cells can escape detection and develop into tumours.
To overcome this problem Autolus is applying its advanced cell programming technologies and specialised manufacturing processes to develop engineered T-cell immunotherapy products.
We use powerful Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) or T-cell receptors (TCRs) to reprogramme T-cells to recognise and kill the tumour cell.
We maintain and enhance their natural ability to kill cancer cells through our specialised manufacturing process.
These novel therapies harness the anticancer potential of a patient’s own T-cells and enable the effective targeting and eradication of cancer cells.
CARs are membrane-bound proteins, combining the tumour-recognition properties of an antibody with the naturally occurring T-cell activation mechanism.
TCRs are naturally occurring membrane-bound T-cell activating proteins, engineered to recognise cancer-specific proteins presented on the surface of cancer cells.
A personalised treatment
Immune cells are collected from the patient’s blood at the treatment centre in a process called Leukapheresis. The cells are then transferred to a specialist manufacturing facility where they are manipulated outside the body to introduce a gene encoding a CAR or a TCR. The resulting engineered T-cell is returned to the treatment centre and administered to the patient by infusion.
Advanced cell programming technology
Engineered T-cell immunotherapy products show significant efficacy for haematological malignancies. However, realisation of the potential of this approach across a broad range of tumour types will require multiple technology solutions to address limitations of the current generation of therapies. Autolus is applying its extensive cell programming capability to develop a pipeline of precise, controlled and highly active products.
Autolus is applying pattern recognition technology to engineer T-cells with exquisite selectivity for tumour cells over healthy tissues and prevent unwanted toxicity.
Autolus has developed technologies to modulate T-cell activity or eliminate engineered T-cells in the event of severe side effects that have been observed with these types of therapies.
Autolus has developed a suite of technologies to enhance persistence of T-cells and boost activity of the T-cells in a hostile tumour microenvironment.