2022 - SpecifiCAR

For the first time, this years team will be managed and supervised by the lab of Prof. Dr. Matthias Feige in Garching. The current plans for the 2022 iGEM Team of TUM & LMU is to break boundaries in CAR T-cell engineering.

What are CAR T-cells?

In recent years, modified immune cells (CAR T-cells) have gained a lot of traction as a very effective cancer treatment. The modification undertaken by scientists is the design and implementation of a receptor onto a human T-cell, which on recognizing the tumor will activate said T-cell and kill the tumor cell.

What do we want to improve?

The problem is that the receptors of the CAR T-cells may also recognise and subsequently kill other, healthy cells. To avoid this, we want to engineer a pH sensitive mask. The mask will only unveil the receptor if the pH levels drop, which is the case in the acidic cancer environment. This, in theory, should increase specificity of the modified T-cells.

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