Early transduction produces highly functional chimeric antigen receptor-modified virus-specific T-cells with central memory markers: a Production Assistant for Cell Therapy (PACT) translational application.
ABSTRACT: Virus-specific T-cells (VSTs) proliferate exponentially after adoptive transfer into hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients, eliminate virus infections, then persist and provide long-term protection from viral disease. If VSTs behaved similarly when modified with tumor-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), they should have potent anti-tumor activity. This theory was evaluated by Cruz et al. in a previous clinical trial with CD19.CAR-modified VSTs, but there was little apparent expansion of these cells in patients. In that study, VSTs were gene-modified on day 19 of culture and we hypothesized that by this time, sufficient T-cell differentiation may have occurred to limit the subsequent proliferative capacity of the transduced T-cells. To facilitate the clinical testing of this hypothesis in a project supported by the NHLBI-PACT mechanism, we developed and optimized a good manufacturing practices (GMP) compliant method for the early transduction of VSTs directed to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Adenovirus (AdV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) using a CAR directed to the tumor-associated antigen disialoganglioside (GD2).Ad-CMVpp65-transduced EBV-LCLs effectively stimulated VSTs directed to all three viruses (triVSTs). Transduction efficiency on day three was increased in the presence of cytokines and high-speed centrifugation of retroviral supernatant onto retronectin-coated plates, so that under optimal conditions up to 88% of tetramer-positive VSTs expressed the GD2.CAR. The average transduction efficiency of early-and late transduced VSTs was 55?±?4% and 22?±?5% respectively, and early-transduced VSTs maintained higher frequencies of T cells with central memory or intermediate memory phenotypes. Early-transduced VSTs also had higher proliferative capacity and produced higher levels of TH1 cytokines IL-2, TNF-?, IFN-?, MIP-1?, MIP-1? and other cytokines in vitro.We developed a rapid and GMP compliant method for the early transduction of multivirus-specific T-cells that allowed stable expression of high levels of a tumor directed CAR. Since a proportion of early-transduced CAR-VSTs had a central memory phenotype, they should expand and persist in vivo, simultaneously protecting against infection and targeting residual malignancy. This manufacturing strategy is currently under clinical investigation in patients receiving allogeneic HSCT for relapsed neuroblastoma and B-cell malignancies (NCT01460901 using a GD2.CAR and NCT00840853 using a CD19.CAR).
Project description:The efficacy of T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for solid tumors has been limited by insufficient CAR T cell expansion and persistence. The use of virus-specific T cells (VSTs) as carriers for CARs may overcome this limitation since CAR-VSTs can be boosted by viral vaccines or oncolytic viruses. However, there is limited understanding of the optimal combination of endodomains and their influence on the native T cell receptor (TCR) in VSTs. We therefore compared the function of GD2.CARs expressing the TCR zeta chain (?) alone or combined with endodomains from CD28 and 4-1BB in varicella zoster virus-specific (VZV) T cells. VZVSTs expressing GD2-CARs recognized VZV-derived peptides and killed GD2-expressing tumor cells. However, after repeated stimulation through their native TCR, the expansion of GD2-CAR.CD28?-VZVSTs was 3.3-fold greater (p < 0.001) than non-transduced VZVSTs, whereas GD2-CAR?- and GD2-CAR.41BB? inhibited VZVST expansion (p < 0.01). Compared to control VZVSTs, GD2-CAR.? VZVSTs showed a greater frequency of apoptotic (p < 0.01) T cells, whereas prolonged downregulation of the native ?? TCR was observed in GD2-CAR.41BB? VZVSTs (p < 0.001). We confirmed that CD28? can best maintain TCR function by expressing GD2.CARs in Epstein-Barr virus-specific T cells and CD19-CARs in VZVSTs. In response to CAR stimulation VSTs with CD28? endodomains also showed the greatest expansion (6 fold > GD2-CAR.41BB? VZVSTs (p < 0.001), however anti-tumor efficacy was superior in GD2-CAR.41BB?-VZVSTs. These findings demonstrate that CAR signaling domains can enhance or diminish the function of the native TCR and indicate that only CD28? may preserve the function of the native TCR in tonically signaling CAR-VSTs.
Project description:Autologous T cells expressing a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CD19.CAR) are active against B-cell malignancies, but it is unknown whether allogeneic CD19.CAR T cells are safe or effective. After allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), infused donor-derived virus-specific T cells (VSTs) expand in vivo, persist long term, and display antiviral activity without inducing graft-vs-host disease; therefore, we determined whether donor VSTs, engineered to express CD19.CAR, retained the characteristics of nonmanipulated allogeneic VSTs while gaining antitumor activity. We treated 8 patients with allogeneic (donor-derived) CD19.CAR-VSTs 3 months to 13 years after HSCT. There were no infusion-related toxicities. VSTs persisted for a median of 8 weeks in blood and up to 9 weeks at disease sites. Objective antitumor activity was evident in 2 of 6 patients with relapsed disease during the period of CD19.CAR-VST persistence, whereas 2 patients who received cells while in remission remain disease free. In 2 of 3 patients with viral reactivation, donor CD19.CAR-VSTs expanded concomitantly with VSTs. Hence CD19.CAR-VSTs display antitumor activity and, because their number may be increased in the presence of viral stimuli, earlier treatment post-HSCT (when lymphodepletion is greater and the incidence of viral infection is higher) or planned vaccination with viral antigens may enhance disease control.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are therapeutics for relapsed acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) that are increasingly being used in tandem. We identified a non-physiologic CD19+/CD3+ T-cell population in the leukapheresis product of a patient undergoing CAR T-cell manufacturing who previously received a haploidentical HSCT, followed by infusion of a genetically engineered T-cell addback product. We confirm and report the origin of these CD19+/CD3+ T cells that have not previously been described in context of CAR T-cell manufacturing. We additionally interrogate the fate of these CD19-expressing cells as they undergo transduction to express CD19-specific CARs. MAIN BODY:We describe the case of a preteen male with multiply relapsed B-ALL who was treated with sequential cellular therapies. He received an ?? T-cell depleted haploidentical HSCT followed by addback of donor-derived T cells genetically modified with a suicide gene for iCaspase9 and truncated CD19 for cell tracking (RivoCel). He relapsed 6?months following HSCT and underwent leukapheresis and CAR T-cell manufacturing. During manufacturing, we identified an aberrant T-cell population dually expressing CD19 and CD3. We hypothesized that these cells were RivoCel cells and confirmed using flow cytometry and PCR that the identified cells were in fact RivoCel cells and were eliminated with iCaspase9 activation. We additionally tracked these cells through CD19-specific CAR transduction and notably did not detect T cells dually positive for CD19 and CD19-directed CARs. The most likely rationale for this is in vitro fratricide of the CD19+ 'artificial' T-cell population by the CD19-specific CAR+ T cells in culture. CONCLUSIONS:We report the identification of CD19+/CD3+ cells in an apheresis product undergoing CAR transduction derived from a patient previously treated with a haploidentical transplant followed by RivoCel addback. We aim to bring attention to this cell phenotype that may be recognized with greater frequency as CAR therapy and engineered ??haplo-HSCT are increasingly coupled. We additionally suggest consideration towards using alternative markers to CD19 as a synthetic identifier for post-transplant addback products, as CD19-expression on effector T cells may complicate subsequent treatment using CD19-directed therapy.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-expressing T cells are a promising therapeutic option for patients with cancer. We developed a new CAR directed against the disialoganglioside GD2, a surface molecule expressed in neuroblastoma and in other neuroectoderm-derived neoplasms. The anti-GD2 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) derived from a murine antibody of IgM class was linked, via a human CD8? hinge-transmembrane domain, to the signaling domains of the costimulatory molecules 4-1BB (CD137) and CD3-?. The receptor was expressed in T lymphocytes by retroviral transduction and anti-tumor activities were assessed by targeting GD2-positive neuroblastoma cells using in vitro cytotoxicity assays and a xenograft model. Transduced T cells expressed high levels of anti-GD2 CAR and exerted a robust and specific anti-tumor activity in 4- and 48-hour cultures with neuroblastoma cells. Cytotoxicity was associated with the release of pro-apoptotic molecules such as TRAIL and IFN-?. These results were confirmed in a xenograft model, where anti-GD2 CAR T cells infiltrating tumors and persisting into blood circulation induced massive apoptosis of neuroblastoma cells and completely abrogated tumor growth. This anti-GD2 CAR represents a powerful new tool to redirect T cells against GD2. The preclinical results of this study warrant clinical testing of this approach in neuroblastoma and other GD2-positive malignancies.
Project description:The adoptive transfer of donor T cells that have been genetically modified to recognize leukemia could prevent or treat leukemia relapse after allogeneic HSCT (allo-HSCT). However, adoptive therapy after allo-HSCT should be performed with T cells that have a defined endogenous TCR specificity to avoid GVHD. Ideally, T cells selected for genetic modification would also have the capacity to persist in vivo to ensure leukemia eradication. Here, we provide a strategy for deriving virus-specific T cells from CD45RA(-)CD62L(+)CD8(+) central memory T (T(CM)) cells purified from donor blood with clinical grade reagents, and redirect their specificity to the B-cell lineage marker CD19 through lentiviral transfer of a gene encoding a CD19-chimeric Ag receptor (CAR). Virus-specific T(CM) were selectively transduced by exposure to the CD19 CAR lentivirus after peptide stimulation, and bi-specific cells were subsequently enriched to high purity using MHC streptamers. Activation of bi-specific T cells through the CAR or the virus-specific TCR elicited phosphorylation of downstream signaling molecules with similar kinetics, and induced comparable cytokine secretion, proliferation, and lytic activity. These studies identify a strategy for tumor-specific therapy with CAR-modified T cells after allo-HSCT, and for comparative studies of CAR and TCR signaling.
Project description:Myeloablative autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a mainstay of therapy for relapsed intermediate-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL); however, relapse rates are high. In phase 1 studies designed to improve long-term remission rates, we administered adoptive T-cell immunotherapy after HSCT, using ex vivo-expanded autologous central memory-enriched T cells (TCM) transduced with lentivirus expressing CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). We present results from 2 safety/feasibility studies, NHL1 and NHL2, investigating different T-cell populations and CAR constructs. Engineered TCM-derived CD19 CAR T cells were infused 2 days after HSCT at doses of 25 to 200 × 10(6) in a single infusion. In NHL1, 8 patients safely received T-cell products engineered from enriched CD8(+) TCM subsets, expressing a first-generation CD19 CAR containing only the CD3ζ endodomain (CD19R:ζ). Four of 8 patients (50%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 16-84%) were progression free at both 1 and 2 years. In NHL2, 8 patients safely received T-cell products engineered from enriched CD4(+) and CD8(+) TCM subsets and expressing a second-generation CD19 CAR containing the CD28 and CD3ζ endodomains (CD19R:28ζ). Six of 8 patients (75%; 95% CI: 35-97%) were progression free at 1 year. The CD4(+)/CD8(+) TCM-derived CD19 CAR T cells (NHL2) exhibited improvement in expansion; however, persistence was ≤28 days, similar to that seen by others using CD28 CARs. Neither cytokine release syndrome nor delayed hematopoietic engraftment was observed in either trial. These data demonstrate the safety and feasibility of CD19 CAR TCM therapy after HSCT. Trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01318317 and #NCT01815749.
Project description:Adoptive cell transfer of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cells showed promising results in patients with B cell malignancies. However, the detailed mechanism of CAR-T cell interaction with the target tumor cells is still not well understood. This work provides a systematic method for analyzing the activation and degranulation of second-generation CAR-T cells utilizing antigen-presenting cell surfaces. Antigen-presenting cell surfaces composed of circular micropatterns of CAR-specific anti-idiotype antibodies have been developed to mimic the interaction of CAR-T cells with target tumor cells using micro-contact printing. The levels of activation and degranulation of fixed non-transduced T cells (NT), CD19.CAR-T cells, and GD2.CAR-T cells on the antigen-presenting cell surfaces were quantified and compared by measuring the intensity of the CD3? chain phosphorylation and the Lysosome-Associated Membrane Protein 1 (LAMP-1), respectively. The size and morphology of the cells were also measured. The intracellular Ca2+ flux of NT and CAR-T cells upon engagement with the antigen-presenting cell surface was reported. Results suggest that NT and CD19.CAR-T cells have comparable activation levels, while NT have higher degranulation levels than CD19.CAR-T cells and GD2.CAR-T cells. The findings show that antigen-presenting cell surfaces allow a quantitative analysis of the molecules involved in synapse formation in different CAR-T cells in a systematic, reproducible manner.
Project description:Purpose: To compare cell states between CD19-28z and GD2-28z human CAR T cells on day 10 of cell culture. Methods: Human T cells were activated and lentivirally transduced with CD19-28z or GD2-28z CAR constructs and maintained in culture for 10 days, and then delivered to the Stanford Functional Genomics Facility for 3' single-cell RNA-sequencing on the 10X Genomics platform. Results: Comparison of transcription factor profiles by single cell RNA-seq analysis of CD8+ T cells expressing CD19-28z vs. GD2-28z CAR confirmed that the bZIP family members JUN, JUNB, JUND, and ATF4 were among the most differentially expressed and broadly connected in exhausted GD2-28z CAR T cells. Conclusions: This study provides insights into cell states that could explain the underlying differences between highly functional CD19-28z CAR T cells and exhaustion-prone GD2-28z CAR T cells on day 10 in culture. Overall design: A total of 1,530 CAR T cells were sequenced. 804 CD19-28z CAR T cells were sequenced to an average of 350,587 reads per cell capturing a median of 12,675 unique molecular identifier (UMI) counts per cell mapping to a median of 2,990 unique genes per cell. 726 GD2-28z CAR T cells were sequenced to an average of 405,585 reads per cell capturing a median of 15,708 unique molecular identifier (UMI) counts per cell mapping to a median of 3,446 unique genes per cell.
Project description:Gamma delta T (??T) lymphocytes are primed for rapid function, including cytotoxicity toward cancer cells, and are a component of the immediate stress response. Following activation, they can function as professional antigen-presenting cells. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) work by focusing T cell function on defined cell surface tumor antigens and provide essential costimulation for robust activation. Given the natural tropism of ??T cells for the tumor microenvironment, we hypothesized that their transduction with CARs might enhance cytotoxicity while retaining their ability to migrate to tumor and act as antigen-presenting cells to prolong the intratumoral immune response. Using a GD2-targeting CAR as a model system, we showed that ??T cells of both V?1 and V?2 subsets could be expanded and transduced to sufficient numbers for clinical studies. The CAR added to the cells' innate cytotoxicity by enhancing GD2-specific killing of GD2-expressing cancer cell lines. Migration toward tumor cells in vitro was not impaired by the presence of the CAR. Expanded CAR-transduced V?2 cells retained the ability to take up tumor antigens and cross presented the processed peptide to responder alpha beta T (??T) lymphocytes. ?? CAR-T cell products show promise for evaluation in clinical studies of solid tumors.
Project description:Adoptive T-cell therapy with anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-expressing T cells is a new approach for treating advanced B-cell malignancies. To evaluate anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T cells in a murine model of adoptive T-cell therapy, we developed a CAR that specifically recognized murine CD19. We used T cells that were retrovirally transduced with this CAR to treat mice bearing a syngeneic lymphoma that naturally expressed the self-antigen murine CD19. One infusion of anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T cells completely eliminated normal B cells from mice for at least 143 days. Anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T cells eradicated intraperitoneally injected lymphoma cells and large subcutaneous lymphoma masses. The antilymphoma efficacy of anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T cells was critically dependent on irradiation of mice before anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T-cell infusion. Anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T cells had superior antilymphoma efficacy compared with the anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody from which the anti-CD19 CAR was derived. Our results demonstrated impressive antilymphoma activity and profound destruction of normal B cells caused by anti-CD19-CAR-transduced T cells in a clinically relevant murine model.