A lab engineered receptor designed to bind certain proteins, such as surface proteins on cancer cells, that is added to immune cells for immunotherapy strategies such as directing T cells to fight cancer.
Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are recombinant protein molecules that cause cell activation upon encountering the target antigen. The antigen-recognition domain of a CAR is usually derived from monoclonal antibody sequences. This region interacts with tumor cell surface proteins and signaling motifs in the intracellular portion of the CAR ensure cell activation. The interaction occurs in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-unrestricted manner.This means the interaction does not require MHC compatibility between effector and target cell. This is important because tumors often lose MHC expression as a mechanism of evading detection by endogenous T cells.