Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. The overall 5-year survival rate is 8.5%. Glypican-1 (GPC1) is a cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan protein overexpressed in pancreatic cancer. Due to preferential expression, GPC1 represents a potential candidate for targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer and other GPC1-expressing cancers, such as prostate.
Researchers at National Cancer Institute (NCI) developed novel Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) specific for GPC1 that include short Immunoglobulin subclass 4 (IgG4) hinge sequences between the extracellular antigen recognition domain and the transmembrane domain. Hinge changes in CAR design can achieve the threshold of antigen density required for optimal CAR-T cell activity. Significantly, the optimized GPC1-IgG4 hinge CARs have shown rapid and complete tumor regression in mouse models.