Solid tumors make up 90% of the cases in cancer patients worldwide but the standard of care has not changed in decades. Chemotherapies are still widely used and are non-specific, often with a wide range of negative side effects for the patient.
To address this, Dr Felix Lorenz and his team started the Captain T-Cell project. Based at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin and supported by GO-Bio and SPARK Berlin, they are developing a T-cell receptor (TCR) therapy for tackling solid tumors in a targeted and safe manner for cancer patients. TCRs have the ability to target a wide range of antigens and can be expressed intracellularly, which is important for recognizing those antigens that are not transported to the cell surface.
Their technology relies on engineering a patient's own T-cells to recognize specific antigens for solid tumors and reinfused back to the patient where they can find and kill the tumor with high specificity. Initially, they are targeting Epstein-Barr Virus antigens that are expressed throughout tumors called by this disease.
In this episode of the BioInnovation Spotlight podcast, we ask Felix what technology lies behind the Captain T-Cell project, how it can help transform cancer therapy for patients, and why he wanted to start a company.