Advances in administering T-cell therapies, like CAR-T or TCR therapies, are changing the way we fight cancer, and Ziopharm is focused on changing the way we think about cell therapies. Specifically, we are implementing a non-viral cell therapy platform that has the potential to produce T-cell therapies that are scalable to meet the needs and numbers of patients at a fraction of the cost and time of currently approved therapies.
T-Cell receptors and neoantigens
Advances in genetic sequencing have empowered researchers to identify new therapeutic approaches to target neoantigens, the new or “neo” genetic mutations that give rise to cancer cells. These neoantigens are typically unique to each patient’s cancer and not present on any healthy cells or tissue. Ziopharm is using Sleeping Beauty to genetically modify TCRs to target these neoantigens to make a truly personalized cell therapy.
Sleeping Beauty’s non-viral gene transfer system is well suited for developing genetically modified TCR therapies that target neoantigens. For patients receiving genetically modified TCRs targeting their own neoantigens in their cancer cells, there will be a need for a manufacturing process that is fast, scalable and cost effective, like Sleeping Beauty. See, “Stable, Nonviral Expression of Mutated Tumor Neoantigen-specific T-cell Receptors Using the Sleeping Beauty Transposon/ Transposase System,” published in the journal Molecular Therapy (5 March 2016, doi:10.1038/mt.2016.51).
Ziopharm’s Sleeping Beauty system allows care providers to use TCRs that target antigens – a unique marker that helps the immune system identify certain cancers. Sleeping Beauty has the versatility to target multiple antigens and provide therapeutic options for blood cancers and solid tumors.