SPECT imaging of radiolabeled TCRs offers a completely new imaging modality for the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases. SPECT-TCR would revolutionize diagnosis of diabetes at an early stage where there is currently no diagnostic agent available; current diagnosis relies on measurement of blood glucose levels which only rise relatively late in the disease, after destruction of approximately 90% of beta-cell mass. A diabetes SPECT- TCR would also facilitate disease monitoring since it could give a measure of remaining beta-cell mass. SPECT-TCR imaging agents for cancer would permit diagnosis of tumours expressing a particular target antigen (where biopsy is impossible or difficult to perform) and can identify patients suitable for treatment with a TCR-based therapy.
Soluble T cell Receptors (TCRs) are an entirely novel class of targeting agent for cancer and diabetes since they target antigens not accessible to monoclonal antibodies. T cell Receptors (TCRs) recognise disease-associated peptide epitopes presented on the cell surface by Class I HLA molecules. Immunocore Ltd has unique, proprietary technology to engineer soluble T cell Receptors with greatly enhanced affinity for target antigens, which it is using to develop anti-cancer and anti-diabetic therapeutic agents. Nuclear imaging technology is the most sensitive method of imaging diseased tissue in animals and humans. Animascope has leading expertise in this recently developed preclinical approach. ANIDIAG aims at developing SPECT imaging agents based on radiolabeled TCRs. These would be far more sensitive than other imaging agents on the market or in development and would be applicable to a range of previously inaccessible disease targets.