Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) uses cancer reactive T-cells to effectively treat patients. However, several obstacles inhibit the successful use of ACT for cancer treatment. Current approaches for the expansion of T-cells may produce T-cells with a terminally differentiated phenotype that is associated with diminished anti-tumor activity and poor capacity for long-term persistence. Thus, there is a need for improved methods of obtaining an isolated population of effective T-cells for ACT.
Researchers at the NCI have developed a method of producing large populations of minimally-differentiated T-cells using an Akt inhibitor. The researchers discovered that inhibition of the serine/threonine kinase, Akt, also known as protein kinase B, effectively uncouples T-cell expansion from differentiation. This uncoupling allows for the generation of more robust T-cells with greater anti-tumor efficacy than differentiated T-cells. The researchers found that Akt inhibition also promotes the genetic and metabolic characteristics of long-lived memory T-cells. This discovery provides a method of producing an isolated population of cancer reactive T-cells suitable for ACT.
The National Cancer Institute, Surgery Branch, is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize a novel method of producing effective T-cell populations using Akt inhibitors.