Cancer immunotherapy using a patient’s own T cells redirected to recognize and kill tumor cells has achieved promising results in metastatic melanoma and leukemia. This technique involves harnessing a patient’s T cells and then delivering a gene that encodes a new T cell receptor (TCR) or a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that allow the cells to recognize specific cancer antigens. The prospect of using engineered T cell therapy for persistent viral infections like hepatitis B virus (HBV) and their associated malignancies is promising. We recently tested in a first-in-man clinical trial, the ability of HBV-specific TCR-redirected T cells to target HBsAg-productive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and demonstrated that these redirected T cells recognized HCC cells with HBV–DNA integration  We discuss here the possibility to use HBV-specific TCR-redirected T cells targeting hepatitis B viral antigens as a tumor specific antigen in patients with HBV-related HCC, and the potential challenges facing the development of this new immunotherapeutic strategy.
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