At CERo, we are integrating the most recent insights from synthetic and T cell biology to create a new generation of engineered T cells for treatment of cancer and potentially other diseases.
Leveraging a natural immune process
Chimeric engulfment receptor (CER) T cells uniquely combine and enhance the favorable anti-tumor attributes of both innate and adaptive defenses.
Phagocyte receptors are used by the body’s natural clearance system for removing excess, damaged, or dying cells. The efficient disposal of cells and antigens requires a coordinated orchestration of multiple steps, through which phagocyte receptors are triggered via recognition of stress ligands on the cell surface. Each day, billions of cells in the human body are cleared by this process. The external receptor component of CER T cells specifically recognizes stress ligands exposed on the surface of tumors and endows the CER T cell with novel engulfment activity.
Antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as mature dendritic cells, express receptors and intracellular machinery to capture, internalize, process, and display tumor-associated antigens on their surface, which then triggers recognition by tumor antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells. CER T cells harness this additional capability to induce and enhance an endogenous broad spectrum immune response against tumor-derived neoepitopes, which further enhances the therapy’s overall anti- tumor effect.
Cytotoxic T cells represent the adaptive immune system’s capacity to specifically recognize and kill cancer or virally infected cells. The killing function of CER T cells is induced upon recognition of the tumor stress ligand via activation of the CER’s engineered T-cell signaling domain(s).