Suitable for PhD or Honours Students
Long-lasting infections with high-risk human papillomavirus-16 (HPV16) can cause epithelial cancers, which include squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and adenocarcinomas of the cervix, oropharynx, anus, vulva, vagina, and penis. Oncogenic HPV virus accounts for approximately 600,000 cases worldwide every year and advanced HPV-associated cancers are generally incurable and resistant to chemotherapy. However, T cell receptor (TCR)-based adoptive T cell therapies (ACT) hold great promise for the treatment of HPV associated cancer, targeting viral antigens which are absent in healthy tissues, making them attractive targets for genetically engineered T-cell therapy. We have been working on the oropharyngeal cancer patient’s samples and identified HPV16 antigens specific high-avidity CD4+ and CD8+ TCRs directed against different HPV16 antigens by single cell TCR sequencing.
This project involves characterisation of HPV16 specific transgenic TCR T cells and standardisation of culture conditions to further improve their effectiveness and applicability.