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Non-viral precision T cell receptor replacement for personalized cell therapy

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The T cell receptor (TCR) provides the fine specificity of T cells to recognize mutations in cancer cells 1-3. We developed a clinical-grade approach based on CRISPR/Cas9 non-viral precision genome editing to simultaneously knock-out the two endogenous TCR genes, TCRα (TRAC) and TCRβ (TRBC), and insert in the TRAC locus the two chains of a neoantigen-specific TCR (neoTCR), isolated from the patient’s own circulating T cells using a personalized library of soluble predicted neoantigen-HLA capture reagents. Sixteen patients with refractory solid cancers received up to three distinct neoTCR-transgenic cell products, each expressing a patient-specific neoTCR, in a cell dose-escalation, first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial (NCT03970382). One patient had grade 1 cytokine release syndrome, and one grade 3 encephalitis. All had the expected side effects from the lymphodepleting chemotherapy. Five patients had stable disease, and the other 11 had disease progression as best response on therapy. NeoTCR-transgenic T cells were detected in tumour biopsies post-infusion at frequencies higher than the native TCRs pre-infusion. This study demonstrates the feasibility of isolating and cloning multiple TCRs recognizing mutational neoantigens, the simultaneous knock-out of the endogenous TCR and knock-in of the neoTCRs using single-step, non-viral precision genome editing, the manufacturing of neoTCR engineered T cells at clinical grade, the safety of infusing up to three gene edited neoTCR T cell products, and the ability of the transgenic T cells to traffic to the patients’ tumours.

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Correspondence to Susan P. Foy, Antoni Ribas or Stefanie J. Mandl.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This Supplementary Information file includes: Supplemental Figures 1–8, Supplemental Tables 1 and 3, and Clinical Trial Protocol.

Reporting Summary

Peer Review File

Supplementary Table 2

Full length TCR sequences.

Supplementary Table 4

List of flow cytometry reagents.

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Foy, S.P., Jacoby, K., Bota, D.A. et al. Non-viral precision T cell receptor replacement for personalized cell therapy. Nature (2022).

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