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Synthetic CAR controls

How Chimera is using riboswitches to turn on CAR T cells

September 15, 2016 7:00 AM UTC

An ongoing challenge with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells is controlling expression of the engineered CARs to prevent cytotoxic side effects while still promoting efficacy. Chimera Bioengineering is applying synthetic biology to create a control technology capable of responding to any designated compound and switch on expression of the CAR only on demand.

Chimera utilizes synthetic RNA enzymes dubbed riboswitches, which it combines with an aptamer - a single stranded RNA or DNA strand designed to bind any trigger molecule of choice. The engineered construct is incorporated into the CAR and expressed on T cells to create SM(a)RT CARs: small molecule-responsive, titratable CARs...