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TRUCKS = T cells redirected for universal cytokine-mediated killing

The Leibniz Institute aims to use CAR T cells not simply as ‘living drugs’ in themselves, but also as ‘living factories’ producing a transgenic protein which delivers a therapeutically active agent to the organ of interest. The T cells are engineered with a CAR and an inducible expression cassette to produce a therapeutic protein which is triggered by CAR signaling. This ensures the protein is only produced and released when the CAR T cell engages the cognate target antigen, delivering the payload at the targeted site: If no target antigen is recognised by the CAR, no payload protein is released.

The concept is universal and multiple proteins can basically be delivered to act in the targeted tissue environment, including cytokines such as IL-12 or IL-18. This strategy, developed by the LIT and initially named TRUCKS (T cells redirected for universal cytokine-mediated killing), is now recognized as ‘fourth-generation’ CAR T cells.


Prof. Hinrich Abken
Head of Research Division | Genetic Immunotherapy

Tel: +49 941 944–38111

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