The basic principles of chimeric antigen receptor design.
ABSTRACT: Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) are recombinant receptors that provide both antigen-binding and T-cell-activating functions. A multitude of CARs has been reported over the past decade, targeting an array of cell surface tumor antigens. Their biologic functions have dramatically changed following the introduction of tripartite receptors comprising a costimulatory domain, termed second-generation CARs. These have recently shown clinical benefit in patients treated with CD19-targeted autologous T cells. CARs may be combined with costimulatory ligands, chimeric costimulatory receptors, or cytokines to further enhance T-cell potency, specificity, and safety. CARs represent a new class of drugs with exciting potential for cancer immunotherapy.CARs are a new class of drugs with great potential for cancer immunotherapy. Upon their expression in T lymphocytes, CARs direct potent, targeted immune responses that have recently shown encouraging clinical outcomes in a subset of patients with B-cell malignancies. This review focuses on the design of CARs, including the requirements for optimal antigen recognition and different modalities to provide costimulatory support to targeted T cells, which include the use of second- and third generation CARs, costimulatory ligands, chimeric costimulatory receptors, and cytokines.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have an antigen-binding domain fused to transmembrane, costimulatory, and CD3? domains. Two CARs with regulatory approval include a CD28 or 4-1BB costimulatory domain. While both CARs achieve similar clinical outcomes, biologic differences have become apparent but not completely understood. Therefore, in this study we aimed to identify mechanistic differences between 4-1BB and CD28 costimulation that contribute to the biologic differences between the 2 CARs and could be exploited to enhance CAR T cell function. Using CD19-targeted CAR T cells with 4-1BB we determined that enhancement of T cell function is driven by NF-?B. Comparison to CAR T cells with CD28 also revealed that 4-1BB is associated with more antiapoptotic proteins and dependence on persistence for B cell killing. While TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) has been presupposed to be required for 4-1BB costimulation in CAR T cells, we determined that TRAF1 and TRAF3 are also critical. We observed that TRAFs impacted CAR T viability and proliferation, as well as cytotoxicity and/or cytokines, in part by regulating NF-?B. Our study demonstrates how 4-1BB costimulation in CAR T cells impacts antitumor eradication and clinical outcomes and has implications for enhanced CAR design.
Project description:Current T-cell engineering approaches redirect patient T cells to tumors by transducing them with antigen-specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) or chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that target a single antigen. However, few truly tumor-specific antigens have been identified, and healthy tissues that express the targeted antigen may undergo T cell-mediated damage. Here we present a strategy to render T cells specific for a tumor in the absence of a truly tumor-restricted antigen. T cells are transduced with both a CAR that provides suboptimal activation upon binding of one antigen and a chimeric costimulatory receptor (CCR) that recognizes a second antigen. Using the prostate tumor antigens PSMA and PSCA, we show that co-transduced T cells destroy tumors that express both antigens but do not affect tumors expressing either antigen alone. This 'tumor-sensing' strategy may help broaden the applicability and avoid some of the side effects of targeted T-cell therapies.
Project description:The genetic modification and characterization of T-cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) allow functionally distinct T-cell subsets to recognize specific tumor cells. The incorporation of costimulatory molecules or cytokines can enable engineered T-cells to eliminate tumor cells. CARs are generated by fusing the antigen-binding region of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) or other ligand to membrane-spanning and intracellular-signaling domains. They have recently shown clinical benefit in patients treated with CD19-directed autologous T-cells. Recent successes suggest that the modification of T-cells with CARs could be a powerful approach for developing safe and effective cancer therapeutics. Here, we briefly review early studies, consider strategies to improve the therapeutic potential and safety, and discuss the challenges and future prospects for CAR T-cells in cancer therapy.
Project description:Targeted T cell immunotherapies using engineered T lymphocytes expressing tumor-directed chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are designed to benefit patients with cancer. Although incorporation of costimulatory endodomains within these CARs increases the proliferation of CAR-redirected T lymphocytes, it has proven difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the specific effects of costimulatory endodomains on the expansion, persistence, and antitumor effectiveness of CAR-redirected T cells in human subjects, owing to the lack of side-by-side comparisons with T cells bearing only a single signaling domain. We therefore designed a study that allowed us to directly measure the consequences of adding a costimulatory endodomain to CAR-redirected T cells. Patients with B cell lymphomas were simultaneously infused with 2 autologous T cell products expressing CARs with the same specificity for the CD19 antigen, present on most B cell malignancies. One CAR encoded both the costimulatory CD28 and the ?-endodomains, while the other encoded only the ?-endodomain. CAR+ T cells containing the CD28 endodomain showed strikingly enhanced expansion and persistence compared with CAR+ T cells lacking this endodomain. These results demonstrate the superiority of CARs with dual signal domains and confirm a method of comparing CAR-modified T cells within individual patients, thereby avoiding patient-to-patient variability and accelerating the development of optimal T cell immunotherapies.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR)-T cell therapy has recently made promising advances towards treatment of B-cell malignancies. This approach makes use of an antibody-derived single chain variable fragment (scFv)-based CAR to target the CD19 antigen. Currently scFvs are the most common strategy for creation of CARs, but tumor cells can also be targeted using non-antibody based approaches with designs focused on the interaction between natural receptors and their ligands. This emerging strategy has been used in unique ways to target multiple tumor types, including solid and haematological malignancies. In this review, we will highlight the performance of receptor-ligand combinations as designs for CARs to treat cancer, with a particular focus on haematologic malignancies.
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:Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) bearing an antigen-binding domain linked in cis to the cytoplasmic domains of CD3? and costimulatory receptors have provided a potent method for engineering T-cell cytotoxicity toward B-cell leukemia and lymphoma. However, resistance to immunotherapy due to loss of T-cell effector function remains a significant barrier, especially in solid malignancies. We describe an alternative chimeric immunoreceptor design in which we have fused a single-chain variable fragment for antigen recognition to the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of KIR2DS2, a stimulatory killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR). We show that this simple, KIR-based CAR (KIR-CAR) triggers robust antigen-specific proliferation and effector function in vitro when introduced into human T cells with DAP12, an immunotyrosine-based activation motifs-containing adaptor. T cells modified to express a KIR-CAR and DAP12 exhibit superior antitumor activity compared with standard first- and second-generation CD3?-based CARs in a xenograft model of mesothelioma highly resistant to immunotherapy. The enhanced antitumor activity is associated with improved retention of chimeric immunoreceptor expression and improved effector function of isolated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. These results support the exploration of KIR-CARs for adoptive T-cell immunotherapy, particularly in immunotherapy-resistant solid tumors.
Project description:Anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have caused remissions of B cell malignancies, but problems including cytokine-mediated toxicity and short persistence of CAR T cells in vivo might limit the effectiveness of anti-CD19 CAR T cells. Anti-CD19 CARs that have been tested clinically had single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) derived from murine antibodies. We have designed and constructed novel anti-CD19 CARs containing a scFv with fully human variable regions. T cells expressing these CARs specifically recognized CD19+ target cells and carried out functions including degranulation, cytokine release, and proliferation. We compared CARs with CD28 costimulatory moieties along with hinge and transmembrane domains from either the human CD28 molecule or the human CD8? molecule. Compared with T cells expressing CARs with CD28 hinge and transmembrane domains, T cells expressing CARs with CD8? hinge and transmembrane domains produced lower levels of cytokines and exhibited lower levels of activation-induced cell death (AICD). Importantly, CARs with hinge and transmembrane regions from either CD8? or CD28 had similar abilities to eliminate established tumors in mice. In anti-CD19 CARs with CD28 costimulatory moieties, lower levels of inflammatory cytokine production and AICD are potential clinical advantages of CD8? hinge and transmembrane domains over CD28 hinge and transmembrane domains.
Project description:T cells engineered to express CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have shown breakthrough clinical successes in patients with B-cell lymphoid malignancies. However, similar therapeutic efficacy of CAR T cells in solid tumors is yet to be achieved. In this study we systematically evaluated a series of CAR constructs targeting glypican-3 (GPC3), which is selectively expressed on several solid tumors. We compared GPC3-specific CARs that encoded CD3? (Gz) alone or with costimulatory domains derived from CD28 (G28z), 4-1BB (GBBz), or CD28 and 4-1BB (G28BBz). All GPC3-CARs rendered T cells highly cytotoxic to GPC3-positive hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatoblastoma, and malignant rhabdoid tumor cell lines in vitro. GBBz induced the preferential production of Th1 cytokines (interferon ?/granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor) while G28z preferentially induced Th2 cytokines (interleukin-4/interleukin-10). Inclusion of 4-1BB in G28BBz could only partially ameliorate the Th2-polarizing effect of CD28. 4-1BB induced superior expansion of CAR T cells in vitro and in vivo. T cells expressing GPC3-CARs incorporating CD28, 4-1BB, or both induced sustained tumor regressions in two xenogeneic tumor models. Thus, GBBz CAR endows T cells with superior proliferative potential, potent antitumor activity, and a Th1-biased cytokine profile, justifying further clinical development of GBBz CAR for immunotherapy of GPC3-positive solid tumors.
Project description:Immunotherapy with T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) is an attractive approach to improve outcomes for patients with glioblastoma (GBM). IL13R?2 is expressed at a high frequency in GBM but not in normal brain, making it a promising CAR T-cell therapy target. IL13R?2-specific CARs generated up to date contain mutated forms of IL13 as an antigen-binding domain. While these CARs target IL13R?2, they also recognize IL13R?1, which is broadly expressed. To overcome this limitation, we constructed a panel of IL13R?2-specific CARs that contain the IL13R?2-specific single-chain variable fragment (scFv) 47 as an antigen binding domain, short or long spacer regions, a transmembrane domain, and endodomains derived from costimulatory molecules and CD3.? (IL13R?2-CARs). IL13R?2-CAR T cells recognized IL13R?2-positive target cells in coculture and cytotoxicity assays with no cross-reactivity to IL13R?1. However, only IL13R?2-CAR T cells with a short spacer region produced IL2 in an antigen-dependent fashion. In vivo, T cells expressing IL13R?2-CARs with short spacer regions and CD28.?, 41BB.?, and CD28.OX40.? endodomains had potent anti-glioma activity conferring a significant survival advantage in comparison to mice that received control T cells. Thus, IL13R?2-CAR T cells hold the promise to improve current IL13R?2-targeted immunotherapy approaches for GBM and other IL13R?2-positive malignancies.