IL-12 secreting tumor-targeted chimeric antigen receptor T cells eradicate ovarian tumors in vivo.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:INTRODUCTION: The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) represents one of the most studied tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) for cancer immunotherapy. The monoclonal antibody (mAb) trastuzumab has improved the outcomes of patients with HER2+ breast cancer. However, a large number of HER2+ tumors are not responsive to, or become resistant to, trastuzumab-based therapy, and thus more effective therapies targeting HER2 are needed. METHODS: HER2-specific T cells were generated by the transfer of genes that encode chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Using a multistep overlap extension PCR method, we constructed a novel, humanized HER2 CAR-containing, chA21 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) region of antigen-specific mAb and T-cell intracellular signaling chains made up of CD28 and CD3?. An interferon ? and interleukin 2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a chromium-51 release assay were used to evaluate the antitumor immune response of CAR T cells in coculture with tumor cells. Furthermore, SKBR3 tumor-bearing nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice were treated with HER2 CAR T cells to evaluate antitumor activity. Human CD3+ T cell accumulation in tumor xenograft was detected by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: chA21-28z CAR was successfully constructed, and both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were transduced. The expanded HER2 CAR T cells expressed a central memory phenotype and specifically reacted against HER2+ tumor cell lines. Furthermore, the SKBR3 tumor xenograft model revealed that HER2 CAR T cells significantly inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Immunohistochemical analysis showed robust accumulation of human CD3+ T cells in regressing SKBR3 lesions. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study show that novel chA21 scFv-based, HER2-specific CAR T cells not only recognized and killed HER2+ breast and ovarian cancer cells ex vivo but also induced regression of experimental breast cancer in vivo. Our data support further exploration of the HER2 CAR T-cell therapy for HER2-expressing cancers.
Project description:Disease relapse or progression is a major cause of death following umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation (UCBT) in patients with high-risk, relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Adoptive transfer of donor-derived T cells modified to express a tumor-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) may eradicate persistent disease after transplantation. Such therapy has not been available to UCBT recipients, however, due to the low numbers of available UCB T cells and the limited capacity for ex vivo expansion of cytolytic cells. We have developed a novel strategy to expand UCB T cells to clinically relevant numbers in the context of exogenous cytokines. UCB-derived T cells cultured with interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-15 generated >150-fold expansion with a unique central memory/effector phenotype. Moreover, UCB T cells were modified to both express the CD19-specific CAR, 1928z, and secrete IL-12. 1928z/IL-12 UCB T cells retained a central memory-effector phenotype and had increased antitumor efficacy in vitro. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of 1928z/IL-12 UCB T cells resulted in significantly enhanced survival of CD19(+) tumor-bearing SCID-Beige mice. Clinical translation of CAR-modified UCB T cells could augment the graft-versus-leukemia effect after UCBT and thus further improve disease-free survival of transplant patients with B-cell ALL.
Project description:Expression of the ?v?6 integrin is upregulated in several solid tumors. In contrast, physiologic expression of this epithelial-specific integrin is restricted to development and epithelial re-modeling. Here, we describe, for the first time, the development of a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that couples the recognition of this integrin to the delivery of potent therapeutic activity in a diverse repertoire of solid tumor models. Highly selective targeting ?v?6 was achieved using a foot and mouth disease virus-derived A20 peptide, coupled to a fused CD28+CD3 endodomain. To achieve selective expansion of CAR T cells ex vivo, an IL-4-responsive fusion gene (4??) was co-expressed, which delivers a selective mitogenic signal to engineered T cells only. In vivo efficacy was demonstrated in mice with established ovarian, breast, and pancreatic tumor xenografts, all of which express ?v?6 at intermediate to high levels. SCID beige mice were used for these studies because they are susceptible to cytokine release syndrome, unlike more immune-compromised strains. Nonetheless, although the CAR also engages mouse ?v?6, mild and reversible toxicity was only observed when supra-therapeutic doses of CAR T cells were administered parenterally. These data support the clinical evaluation of ?v?6 re-targeted CAR T cell immunotherapy in solid tumors that express this integrin.
Project description:Adoptive T cell therapy represents a promising treatment for cancer. Human T cells engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) recognize and kill tumor cells in a MHC-unrestricted manner and persist in vivo when the CAR includes a CD28 costimulatory domain. However, the intensity of the CAR-mediated CD28 activation signal and its regulation by the CTLA-4 checkpoint are unknown. We investigated whether T cells expressing an anti-CD19, CD3 zeta and CD28-based CAR (19-28z) displayed the same proliferation and anti-tumor abilities than T cells expressing a CD3 zeta-based CAR (19z1) costimulated through the CD80/CD28, ligand/receptor pathway. Repeated in vitro antigen-specific stimulations indicated that 19-28z+ T cells secreted higher levels of Th1 cytokines and showed enhanced proliferation compared to those of 19z1+ or 19z1-CD80+ T cells. In an aggressive pre-B cell leukemia model, mice treated with 19-28z+ T cells had 10-fold reduced tumor progression compared to those treated with 19z1+ or 19z1-CD80+ T cells. shRNA-mediated CTLA-4 down-regulation in 19z1-CD80+ T cells significantly increased their in vivo expansion and anti-tumor properties, but had no effect in 19-28z+ T cells. Our results establish that CTLA-4 down-regulation may benefit human adoptive T cell therapy and demonstrate that CAR design can elude negative checkpoints to better sustain T cell function.
Project description:Patients with residual chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) following initial purine analog-based chemoimmunotherapy exhibit a shorter duration of response and may benefit from novel therapeutic strategies. We and others have previously described the safety and efficacy of autologous T cells modified to express anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) in patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and CLL. Here we report the use of CD19-targeted CAR T cells incorporating the intracellular signaling domain of CD28 (19-28z) as a consolidative therapy in 8 patients with residual CLL following first-line chemoimmunotherapy with pentostatin, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab. Outpatients received low-dose conditioning therapy with cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2), followed by escalating doses of 3 × 106, 1 × 107, or 3 × 107 19-28z CAR T cells/kg. An objective response was observed in 3 of 8 patients (38%), with a clinically complete response lasting more than 28 months observed in two patients. Self-limited fevers were observed post-CAR T cell infusion in 4 patients, contemporaneous with elevations in interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-10, IL-2, and TGF-α. None developed severe cytokine release syndrome or neurotoxicity. CAR T cells were detectable post-infusion in 4 patients, with a longest observed persistence of 48 days by qPCR. Further strategies to enhance CAR T cell efficacy in CLL are under investigation.
Project description:CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cells with CD28 or 4-1BB (28z CAR-T and BBz CAR-T) have shown great promise to treat relapsed or refractory (r/r) B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL). However, comparison of their clinical outcomes has never been reported. This study investigated their efficacy and adverse events in B-NHL therapy. Six patients with r/r B-NHL were initially enrolled and infused with 28z or BBz CAR-T cells at a dose of 0.75-5 × 105/kg. These CAR-T cells showed similar antitumor efficacies, with a complete response (CR) rate of 67% within 3 months. BBz CAR-T was well tolerated. However, severe cytokine release syndrome and immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome occurred in the 28z CAR-T cohort, resulting in the termination of further evaluation of 28z CAR-T. Three more patients were enrolled to investigate BBz CAR-T cells in-depth at an escalated dose (1 × 106/kg). All cases achieved CR within 3 months, and only grade 1/2 adverse events occurred. This study suggests that 4-1BB is more beneficial for the clinical performance of CAR-T cells than CD28 in CD19-targeted B-NHL therapy, at least under our manufacturing process.
Project description:Relapse and metastasis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) are presumably attributed to cancer stem cells (CSCs). In recent years, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified immune effector cells have been shown to have impressive antitumour efficacy. In this study, we aimed to identify appropriate tumour-associated antigens predominantly expressed on NPC stem cells (NPCSCs) and determine their suitability for CAR-engineered cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cell therapy against NPC. By investigating the expression patterns of potential target antigens (ROR1, 5T4 and CAIX) in NPC, we found that the oncofetal antigen 5T4 was predominately expressed in NPC cell lines and tissues but absent in non-cancerous nasopharyngeal tissues. Moreover, significantly enhanced expression of 5T4 in NPC spheroids revealed its relationship with putative NPCSCs. Hence, we designed a CAR construct (5T4-28Z) specific for 5T4 and generated CAR-transduced CIK cells. Our results showed that the artificial CAR was efficiently expressed on the surface of CIK cells and that no native phenotypes were altered by the gene transduction. Functional assays revealed that 5T4-28Z-CIK cells possessed both CAR-mediated and CAR-independent anti-NPC activity and were capable of efficiently attacking NPC cells, especially NPCSC-like cells in vitro, suggesting that they might serve as an attractive tool for developing efficient therapies against NPC.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy has shown limited efficacy for the management of solid tumor malignancies. In ovarian cancer, this is in part due to an immunosuppressive cytokine and cellular tumor microenvironment which suppresses adoptively transferred T cells. We engineered an armored CAR T cell capable of constitutive secretion of IL-12, and delineate the mechanisms via which these CAR T cells overcome a hostile tumor microenvironment. In this report, we demonstrate enhanced proliferation, decreased apoptosis and increased cytotoxicity in the presence of immunosuppressive ascites. In vivo, we show enhanced expansion and CAR T cell antitumor efficacy, culminating in improvement in survival in a syngeneic model of ovarian peritoneal carcinomatosis. Armored CAR T cells mediated depletion of tumor associated macrophages and resisted endogenous PD-L1-induced inhibition. These findings highlight the role of the inhibitory microenvironment and how CAR T cells can be further engineered to maintain efficacy.