May 21, 2024

St. Jude Researchers Discover 156 New Potential Targets for CAR T-cell Immunotherapy Against Various Cancers, Validating COL11A1 and Launching SCE-Miner Portal

The challenge of targeting cancer cells specifically while leaving healthy cells untouched is a significant hurdle in cancer therapy, particularly for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy. This approach, which involves re-engineering a patient’s immune cells to attack cancer cells, has shown promise but faces limitations in treating solid and brain cancers due to the lack of effective targets.

Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have recently conducted a comprehensive analysis to identify potential targets for cancer immunotherapy. Their findings, published in Nature Communications, have revealed 156 promising targets, one of which, COL11A1, was validated in mouse models.

“We believe these targets could potentially be translated into curative approaches for various cancers in the future,” said co-corresponding author Stephen Gottschalk, MD, Chair of the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at St. Jude.

The researchers validated COL11A1 in vivo and also explored other targets, such as anti-fibronectin CAR T cells, which showed promise in cell lines. Although most targets remain untested, they are publicly available for other researchers to pursue.

In addition to validating the selected targets, the team has developed a data resource, SCE-Miner, for the scientific community. The final list of targets is accessible through the St. Jude Cloud platform, allowing external researchers to evaluate the evidence and pursue any of these targets.

“Our portal empowers users to explore these targets and the underlying data,” Gottschalk said. “They can determine if a particular target is present in a specific pediatric cancer subtype and conduct their own analysis using the internal analysis tools provided on the St. Jude Cloud platform.”

The SCE-Miner portal is freely available to the scientific community, enabling collaborative research efforts and potentially accelerating the development of new CAR T-cell immunotherapies for various cancers.

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