New cell therapy shows potential against solid tumors with KRAS mutations

A new technology for cellular immunotherapy developed by Abramson Cancer Center researchers at Penn Medicine showed promising anti-tumor activity in the lab against hard-to-treat cancers driven by the once-considered “undruggable” KRAS mutation, including lung, colorectal, and pancreatic.

3D illustration of a T cell

The study, published in Nature Communications, successfully demonstrates using human cells that a T-cell receptor, or TCR, therapy could be designed to mobilize an immune system attack on mutated KRAS solid tumors and shrink them. The preclinical work has laid the groundwork for the first-in-human clinical trial now in the planning stages for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer in patients whose tumors harbor specific KRAS mutations and express a specific type of human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, the therapy is built to recognize.

“We’ve shown that targeting mutant KRAS immunologically is feasible and potentially generalizable for a group of patients with lung, colorectal, and pancreatic tumors,” says senior author Beatriz M. Carreno, an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine and a member of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, the Abramson Cancer Center, and Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn. “We look forward to taking this research to the next level and closer to clinical study.”

Read more at Penn Medicine News.