What are Chimeric Antigen Receptors?

A chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR for short, is a type of genetically engineered receptor that is designed to help the immune system recognize & attack cancer cells. 

CARs are typically made up of two main components: an extracellular antigen recognition domain and an intracellular signaling domain.

The extracellular domain of a CAR is usually composed of a single-chain variable fragment (scFv), which is derived from an antibody that specifically recognizes a protein on the surface of cancer cells. 

The scFv is connected to a transmembrane domain, which anchors the receptor in the cell membrane.

The intracellular domain of a CAR is usually composed of signaling molecules that activate the immune response when the scFv recognizes the target antigen. 

These signaling molecules can include components of the T-cell receptor signaling pathway, such as CD3zeta, as well as co-stimulatory molecules such as CD28 or 4-1BB.

When a CAR-expressing T-cell encounters a cancer cell expressing the targeted antigen, the scFv on the CAR binds to the antigen on the cancer cell surface. 

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