Elvira D'Ippolito
Group leader

Translational TCR Therapy

T cells evolved over millions of years to protect the host from infections through the specific recognition and efficient killing of diseased cells. This concept has been widely used therapeutically over the last decade to treat infections and tumors via the adoptive transfer of naturally occurring, antigen-specific T cells. Recently, the engineering of T cells with antigen-specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) has opened up new possibilities for generating more reliable and versatile “living drugs”. This involves introducing a transgene encoding a TCR of interest into autologous patient-derived lymphocytes ex vivo, thereby redirecting the TCR-engineered T cells against diseased cells once reinfused into the patient. Our goal is to contribute to the accessibility of TCR therapy by developing T-cell manufacturing processes suitable for clinical application, in addition to exploring novel immunotherapeutic approaches. To realize these aims, we will employ innovative CRISPR-Cas9-mediated cell engineering methodologies, alongside high-throughput identification of clinically relevant TCRs and the utilization of informative pre-clinical models.