The BC Cancer Agency's Cancer Immunotherapy Program aims to use genomic and related technologies to develop precise and potent immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer. To this end, the team is developing a Phase I clinical trials program focused on adoptive T cell transfer – a procedure where tumor specific cytotoxic T cells are infused into cancer patients with the goal of recognizing, targeting, and destroying tumor cells.
To support these trials as well as those within the BioCanRx network, the Cancer Immunotherapy Program established the Immunogenomics Core in Vancouver. This core, which is lead by Dr. Rob Holt, focused on genomics-based immune profiling technologies, including tumor genome and transcriptome sequencing, and T-Cell Receptor/B-Cell Receptor sequencing.
The Immunogenomics Core supported clinical trials by creating a manufacturing platform for clinical grade adoptive T cells and their associated vectors. The core also developed assays to ensure these cells are contamination-free. Through the technical development of the Immunogenomics core, a new technology for T cell epitope discovery was characterized and patented leading to the creation of the BC Cancer spin-out company, Immfinity Inc. The support of these clinical trials helped bring Canadian made immunotherapeutic strategies closer to cancer patients within Canada and the development of intellectual property helped establish and grow small and medium immunotherapy enterprises within BC. Support of core facilities such as the Immunogenomics Core helps keep BC at the forefront of the application of genomics for the development of cancer therapeutics.