Successful eradication of established peritoneal ovarian tumors in SCID-Beige mice following adoptive transfer of T cells genetically targeted to the MUC16 antigen.
ABSTRACT: Most patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer will ultimately die from their disease. For this reason, novel approaches to the treatment of this malignancy are needed. Adoptive transfer of a patient's own T cells, genetically modified ex vivo through the introduction of a gene encoding a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeted to a tumor-associated antigen, is a novel approach to the treatment of ovarian cancer.We have generated several CARs targeted to the retained extracellular domain of MUC16, termed MUC-CD, an antigen expressed on most ovarian carcinomas. We investigate the in vitro biology of human T cells retrovirally transduced to express these CARs by coculture assays on artificial antigen-presenting cells as well as by cytotoxicity and cytokine release assays using the human MUC-CD(+) ovarian tumor cell lines and primary patient tumor cells. Further, we assess the in vivo antitumor efficacy of MUC-CD-targeted T cells in SCID-Beige mice bearing peritoneal human MUC-CD(+) tumor cell lines.CAR-modified, MUC-CD-targeted T cells exhibited efficient MUC-CD-specific cytolytic activity against both human ovarian cell and primary ovarian carcinoma cells in vitro. Furthermore, expanded MUC-CD-targeted T cells infused through either i.p. injection or i.v. infusion into SCID-Beige mice bearing orthotopic human MUC-CD(+) ovarian carcinoma tumors either delayed progression or fully eradicated disease.These promising preclinical studies justify further investigation of MUC-CD-targeted T cells as a potential therapeutic approach for patients with high-risk MUC16(+) ovarian carcinomas.
Project description:A novel approach for the treatment of ovarian cancer includes immunotherapy with genetically engineered T cells targeted to ovarian cancer cell antigens. Using retroviral transduction, T cells can be created that express an artificial T cell receptor (TCR) termed a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). We have generated a CAR, 4H11-28z, specific to MUC-16ecto antigen, which is the over-expressed on a majority of ovarian tumor cells and is the retained portion of MUC-16 after cleavage of CA-125. We previously demonstrated that T cells modified to express the 4H11-28z CAR eradicate orthotopic human ovarian cancer xenografts in SCID-Beige mice. However, despite the ability of CAR T cells to localize to tumors, their activation in the clinical setting can be inhibited by the tumor microenvironment, as is commonly seen for endogenous antitumor immune response. To potentially overcome this limitation, we have recently developed a construct that co-expresses both MUC16ecto CAR and IL-12 (4H11-28z/IL-12). In vitro, 4H11-28z/IL-12 CAR T cells show enhanced proliferation and robust IFN? secretion compared to 4H11-28z CAR T cells. In SCID-Beige mice with human ovarian cancer xenografts, IL-12 secreting CAR T cells exhibit enhanced antitumor efficacy as determined by increased survival, prolonged persistence of T cells, and higher systemic IFN?. Furthermore, in anticipation of translating these results into a phase I clinical trial which will be the first to study IL-12 secreting CAR T cells in ovarian cancer, an elimination gene has been included to allow for deletion of CAR T cells in the context of unforeseen or off-tumor on-target toxicity.
Project description:Recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer has no curative options, necessitating the development of novel treatments, including immunotherapy.Patient-derived T cells can be genetically modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) specific to tumor-associated antigens in an HLA-independent manner, with promising preclinical results. MUC16(ecto) is highly expressed on most epithelial ovarian carcinomas but at low levels on normal tissues, offering an excellent immunotherapeutic target for this cancer. CAR T cells further modified to secrete IL-12 show enhanced cytotoxicity, persistence, and modulation of the tumor microenvironment.We propose a dose escalation phase I clinical trial for patients with recurrent MUC-16(ecto+) ovarian cancer to test the safety of intravenous and intraperitoneal administration and the preliminary efficacy of autologous IL-12 secreting, MUC-16(ecto) CAR T cells containing a safety elimination gene.This trial targets MUC-16(ecto), a novel and promising tumor-associated antigen. This will be the first time CAR T cells are injected intraperitoneally directly into the site of the tumor within the abdomen in humans. Furthermore, the ability of genetically modified cells to secrete IL-12 will potentially enhance CAR T cell persistence and modulate the tumor microenvironment. For safety purposes, an elimination gene has been incorporated into the CAR T cells to mitigate any on-target, off-tumor or other unforeseen toxicity.
Project description:The CA125 antigen, recognized by the OC125 antibody, is a tissue-specific circulating antigen expressed in ovarian cancer. The CA125 antigen is encoded by the MUC16 gene cloned by Yin and Lloyd. The full-length gene describes a complex tethered mucin protein present primarily in a variety of gynecologic tissues, especially neoplasms. OC125 and other related antibodies react with glycosylation-dependent antigens present exclusively in the cleaved portion of the molecule. These antibodies are not useful as screening tools, nor can they detect the proximal residual MUC16 protein fragment after cleavage. This has limited its diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Using synthetic peptides, we raised novel-specific antibodies to the carboxy-terminal portion of MUC16 retained by the cell proximal to the putative cleavage site. These antibodies were characterized using fluorescence-activated cell-sorting analysis, enzyme-linked immunoassay, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Each of the selected monoclonal antibodies was reactive against recombinant GST-?MUC16 protein and the MUC16-transfected SKOV3 cell line. Three antibodies, 4H11, 9C9, and 4A5 antibodies showed high affinities by Western blot analysis and saturation-binding studies of transfected-SKOV3 cells and displayed antibody internalization. Immunohistochemical positivity with novel antibody 4H11 was similar to OC125 but with important differences, including diffuse positivity in lobular breast cancer and a small percentage of OC125-negative ovarian carcinomas that showed intense and diffuse 4H11. Development of such antibodies may be useful for the characterization of MUC16 biology and allow for future studies in targeted therapy and diagnostics.
Project description:CA125, the most widely used ovarian cancer biomarker, was first identified approximately 35 years ago in an antibody screen against ovarian cancer antigen. Two decades later, it was cloned and characterized to be a transmembrane mucin, MUC16. Since then, several studies have investigated its expression, functional, and mechanistic involvement in multiple cancer types. Antibody-based therapeutic approaches primarily using antibodies against the tandem repeat domains of MUC16 (e.g., oregovomab and abagovomab) have been the modus operandi for MUC16-targeted therapy, but have met with very limited success. In addition, efforts have been also made to disrupt the functional cooperation of MUC16 and its interacting partners; for example, use of a novel immunoadhesin HN125 to interfere MUC16 binding to mesothelin. Since the identification of CA125 to be MUC16, it is hypothesized to undergo proteolytic cleavage, a process that is considered to be critical in determining the kinetics of MUC16 shedding as well as generation of a cell-associated carboxyl-terminal fragment with potential oncogenic functions. In addition to our experimental demonstration of MUC16 cleavage, recent studies have demonstrated the functional importance of carboxyl terminal fragments of MUC16 in multiple tumor types. Here, we provide how our understanding of the basic biologic processes involving MUC16 influences our approach toward MUC16-targeted therapy.
Project description:Cancer antigen 125 (CA125) is an antigen that is elevated in the serum of women with ovarian carcinoma, but can also be detected in serum from healthy women. CA125 is expressed in 80% of human ovarian cancers, as well as in normal adult endometrium, lung, and amnion. The gene encoding human CA125 was identified as MUCIN16 (MUC16). A database search identified the orthologous mouse gene, Muc16. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and RNA in situ hybridization detected Muc16 transcripts in the surface epithelia of the upper respiratory tract, the mesothelia lining body cavities and the internal organs, as well as male and female reproductive organs, and the amnion. Antibodies raised against human MUC16 do not recognize mouse MUC16. Therefore, a rabbit anti-mouse polyclonal antibody against recombinant mouse MUC16 was generated. Immunohistochemistry using this anti-mouse MUC16 antibody revealed expression in the luminal epithelia of the trachea, the epithelia of the secretory glands in the oral cavity, the surface of the olfactory epithelia, as well as mesothelial cells lining body cavities (i.e., pleural, peritoneal, and pelvic cavities), and male and female reproductive organs. In addition, MUC16 protein was detected in other cell types, such as the surface epithelia of the cochlear duct and chief cells of the stomach, suggesting multiple roles for MUC16. In mouse serous epithelial ovarian cancer, MUC16 protein was detected at the apical surface of well-differentiated tumors, but not poorly differentiated tumors. These findings document the presence of MUC16 in murine ovarian cancer and in normal tissues and provide a foundation for future functional studies.
Project description:The present study aimed to design and develop a nanocomposite drug delivery system employing an antineoplastic-loaded antibody functionalized nanomicelle encapsulated within a Chitosan?Poly(vinylpyrrolidone)?Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (C?P?N) hydrogel to form an in situ forming implant (ISFI), responsive to temperature and pH for cancer cell-targeting following intraperitoneal implantation. The optimum nanomicelle formulation was surface-functionalized with anti-MUC 16 (antibody) for the targeted delivery of methotrexate to human ovarian carcinoma (NIH:OVCAR-5) cells in Athymic nude mice that expressed MUC16, as a preferential form of intraperitoneal ovarian cancer (OC) chemotherapy. The cross-linked interpenetrating C?P?N hydrogel was synthesized for the preparation of an in situ-forming implant (ISFI). Subsequently, the ISFI was fabricated by encapsulating a nanocomposite comprising of anti-MUC16 (antibody) functionalized methotrexate (MTX)-loaded poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-b-poly(aspartic acid) (PNIPAAm-b-PASP) nanomicelles (AF(MTX)NM's) within the cross-linked C?P?N hydrogel. This strategy enabled specificity and increased the residence time of the nanomicelles at tumor sites over a period exceeding one month, enhancing uptake of drugs and preventing recurrence and chemo-resistance. Chemotherapeutic efficacy was tested on the optimal ovarian tumor-bearing Athymic nude mouse model and the results demonstrated tumor regression including reduction in mouse weight and tumor size, as well as a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in mucin 16 levels in plasma and ascitic fluid, and improved survival of mice after treatment with the experimental anti-MUC16/CA125 antibody-bound nanotherapeutic implant drug delivery system (ISFI) (p < 0.05). The study also concluded that ISFI could potentially be considered an important immuno-chemotherapeutic agent that could be employed in human clinical trials of advanced, and/or recurring, metastatic epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). The development of this ISFI may circumvent the treatment flaws experienced with conventional systemic therapies, effectively manage recurrent disease and ultimately prolong disease-free intervals in ovarian cancer patients.
Project description:Cancer antigen 125 (CA125) is a blood biomarker that is routinely used to monitor the progression of human epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and is encoded by MUC16, a member of the mucin gene family. The biological function of CA125/MUC16 and its potential role in EOC are poorly understood. Here we report the targeted disruption of the of the Muc16 gene in the mouse. To generate Muc16 knockout mice, 6.0 kb was deleted that included the majority of exon 3 and a portion of intron 3 and replaced with a lacZ reporter cassette. Loss of Muc16 protein expression suggests that Muc16 homozygous mutant mice are null mutants. Muc16 homozygous mutant mice are viable, fertile, and develop normally. Histological analysis shows that Muc16 homozygous mutant tissues are normal. By the age of 1 year, Muc16 homozygous mutant mice appear normal. Downregulation of transcripts from another mucin gene (Muc1) was detected in the Muc16 homozygous mutant uterus. Lack of any prominent abnormal phenotype in these Muc16 knockout mice suggests that CA125/MUC16 is not required for normal development or reproduction. These knockout mice provide a unique platform for future studies to identify the role of CA125/MUC16 in organ homeostasis and ovarian cancer.
Project description:Mucin16 [MUC16/cancer antigen 125 (CA-125)], a high-molecular-weight glycoprotein expressed on the ovarian tumor cell surface, potentiates metastasis via selective binding to mesothelin on peritoneal mesothelial cells. Shed MUC16/CA-125 is detectable in sera from ovarian cancer patients. We investigated the potential role of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP, MMP-14), a transmembrane collagenase highly expressed in ovarian cancer cells, in MUC16/CA-125 ectodomain shedding. An inverse correlation between MT1-MMP and MUC16 immunoreactivity was observed in human ovarian tumors and cells. Further, when MUC16-expressing OVCA433 cells were engineered to overexpress MT1-MMP, surface expression of MUC16/CA-125 was lost, whereas cells expressing the inactive E240A mutant retained surface MUC16/CA-125. As a functional consequence, decreased adhesion of cells expressing catalytically active MT1-MMP to three-dimensional meso-mimetic cultures and intact ex vivo peritoneal tissue explants was observed. Nevertheless, meso-mimetic invasion is enhanced in MT1-MMP-expressing cells. Together, these data support a model wherein acquisition of catalytically active MT1-MMP expression in ovarian cancer cells induces MUC16/CA-125 ectodomain shedding, reducing adhesion to meso-mimetic cultures and to intact peritoneal explants. However, proteolytic clearing of MUC16/CA-125, catalyzed by MT1-MMP, may then expose integrins for high-affinity cell binding to peritoneal tissues, thereby anchoring metastatic lesions for subsequent proliferation within the collagen-rich sub-mesothelial matrix.
Project description:One important purpose of T cell engineering is to generate tumor-targeted T cells through the genetic transfer of antigen-specific receptors, which consist of either physiological, MHC-restricted T cell receptors (TCRs) or non MHC-restricted chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). CARs combine antigen-specificity and T cell activating properties in a single fusion molecule. First generation CARs, which included as their signaling domain the cytoplasmic region of the CD3zeta or Fc receptor gamma chain, effectively redirected T cell cytotoxicity but failed to enable T cell proliferation and survival upon repeated antigen exposure. Receptors encompassing both CD28 and CD3zeta are the prototypes for second generation CARs, which are now rapidly expanding to a diverse array of receptors with different functional properties. First generation CARs have been tested in phase I clinical studies in patients with ovarian cancer, renal cancer, lymphoma, and neuroblastoma, where they have induced modest responses. Second generation CARs, which are just now entering the clinical arena in the B cell malignancies and other cancers, will provide a more significant test for this approach. If the immunogenicity of CARs can be averted, the versatility of their design and HLA-independent antigen recognition will make CARs tools of choice for T cell engineering for the development of targeted cancer immunotherapies.
Project description:The targeted delivery of cancer therapeutics represents an ongoing challenge in the field of drug development. TRAIL is a promising cancer drug but its activity profile could benefit from a cancer-selective delivery mechanism, which would reduce potential side effects and increase treatment efficiencies. We recently developed the novel TRAIL-based drug platform TR3, a genetically fused trimer with the capacity for further molecular modifications such as the addition of tumor-directed targeting moieties. MUC16 (CA125) is a well characterized biomarker in several human malignancies including ovarian, pancreatic and breast cancer. Mesothelin is known to interact with MUC16 with high affinity. In order to deliver TR3 selectively to MUC16-expressing cancers, we investigated the possibility of targeted TR3 delivery employing the high affinity mesothelin/MUC16 ligand/receptor interaction.Using genetic engineering, we designed the novel cancer drug Meso-TR3, a fusion protein between native mesothelin and TR3. The recombinant proteins were produced with mammalian HEK293T cells. Meso-TR3 was characterized for binding selectivity and killing efficacy against MUC16-positive cancer cells and controls that lack MUC16 expression. Drug efficacy experiments were performed in vitro and in vivo employing an intraperitoneal xenograft mouse model of ovarian cancer.Similar to soluble mesothelin itself, the strong MUC16 binding property was retained in the Meso-TR3 fusion protein. The high affinity ligand/receptor interaction was associated with a selective accumulation of the cancer drug on MUC16-expressing cancer targets and directly correlated with increased killing activity in vitro and in a xenograft mouse model of ovarian cancer. The relevance of the mesothelin/MUC16 interaction for attaching Meso-TR3 to the cancer cells was verified by competitive blocking experiments using soluble mesothelin. Mechanistic studies using soluble DR5-Fc and caspase blocking assays confirmed engagement of the extrinsic death receptor pathway. Compared to non-targeted TR3, Meso-TR3 displayed a much reduced killing potency on cells that lack MUC16.Soluble Meso-TR3 targets the cancer biomarker MUC16 in vitro and in vivo. Following attachment to the tumor via surface bound MUC16, Meso-TR3 acquires full activation with superior killing profiles compared to non-targeted TR3, while its bioactivity is substantially reduced on cells that lack the tumor marker. This prodrug phenomenon represents a highly desirable property because it has the potential to enhance cancer killing with fewer side-effects than non-targeted TRAIL-based therapeutics. Thus, further exploration of this novel fusion protein is warranted as a possible therapeutic for patients with MUC16-positive malignancies.