Since the discovery of the T cell receptor in the 1980s, known before as the "Holy Grail of Immunology", many investigations aimed to elucidate its structure and functioning. Our group share the fascination by this unsolved enigma. The T cell receptor is one of the most complex membrane receptors known; it is express on the surface of T cells and it is crucial to initiate the immune responses. Understanding the functioning of the T cell receptor has become most needed in the time of immunotherapy. Chimeric antigen T cells, known as CAR T cells, combine the binding potential of antibodies with the activation potential of the T cell receptor to redirect T cells to target tumours. The high efficiency and potency of CARs to activate T cells is surprising, taking in consideration the complicated, and still unsolved, biology of the TCR. However, this initial enthusiasm has been tempered by the life-threating side effects observed in many clinical CAR trials and the little success in the treatment of solid tumours. In our group, we focus in unravel the mechanisms controlling T cell receptor functioning across scales to innovate in the design of T cell-based immunotherapies against cancer.
Signaling, Immunity, Lymphocyte, T cell, Immunotherapy, Cancer