Researchers have developed a universal receptor system that allows T cells to recognize any cell surface target, enabling highly customizable CAR T cell and other immunotherapies for treating cancer and other diseases. The new approach involves engineering T cells with receptors bearing a universal “SNAPtag” that fuses with antibodies targeting different proteins. By tweaking the type or dose of these antibodies, treatments could be tailored for optimal immune responses. The researchers showed that their SNAP approach works in two important receptors: CAR receptors, a synthetic T cell receptor that coordinates a suite of immune responses, and SynNotch, a synthetic receptor that can be programmed to activate just about any gene. In a mouse model of cancer, treatment with SNAP-CAR T cells shrunk tumors and greatly prolonged survival, an important proof-of-concept that sets the stage to test this approach in clinical trials in partnership with Coeptis Therapeutics, which has licensed the SNAP-CAR technology from Pitt. The discovery could extend into solid tumors and give more patients access to the game-changing results CAR T cell therapy has produced in certain blood cancers. With the addition of SNAP, the possibilities for customized therapies become almost endless.