T Cells Engineered With Chimeric Antigen Receptors Targeting NKG2D Ligands Display Lethal Toxicity in Mice.
ABSTRACT: Ligands for the NKG2D receptor are overexpressed on tumors, making them interesting immunotherapy targets. To assess the tumoricidal properties of T cells directed to attack NKG2D ligands, we engineered murine T cells with two distinct NKG2D-based chimeric antigen receptors (CARs): (i) a fusion between the NKG2D receptor and the CD3? chain and (ii) a conventional second-generation CAR, where the extracellular domain of NKG2D was fused to CD28 and CD3?. To enhance the CAR surface expression, we also engineered T cells to coexpress DAP10. In vitro functionality and surface expression levels of all three CARs was greater in BALB/c T cells than C57BL/6 T cells, indicating strain-specific differences. Upon adoptive transfer of NKG2D-CAR-T cells into syngeneic animals, we observed significant clinical toxicity resulting in morbidity and mortality. The severity of these toxicities varied between the CAR configurations and paralleled their in vitro NKG2D surface expression. BALB/c mice were more sensitive to these toxicities than C57BL/6 mice, consistent with the higher in vitro functionality of BALB/c T cells. Treatment with cyclophosphamide prior to adoptive transfer exacerbated the toxicity. We conclude that while NKG2D ligands may be useful targets for immunotherapy, the pursuit of NKG2D-based CAR-T cell therapies should be undertaken with caution.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive disease that currently lacks effective targeted therapy. NKG2D ligands (NKG2DLs) are expressed on various tumor types and immunosuppressive cells within tumor microenvironments, providing suitable targets for cancer therapy. METHODS:We applied a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) approach for the targeting of NKG2DLs expressed on human TNBCs. Lentiviral vectors were used to express the extracellular domain of human NKG2D that binds various NKG2DLs, fused to signaling domains derived from T cell receptor CD3 zeta alone or with CD27 or 4-1BB (CD137) costimulatory domain. RESULTS:Interleukin-2 (IL-2) promoted the expansion and self-enrichment of NKG2D-redirected CAR T cells in vitro. High CD25 expression on first-generation NKG2D CAR T cells was essential for the self-enrichment effect in the presence of IL-2, but not for CARs containing CD27 or 4-1BB domains. Importantly, self-enriched NKG2D CAR T cells effectively recognized and eliminated TNBC cell lines in vitro, and adoptive transfer of T cells expressing NKG2D CARs with CD27 or 4-1BB specifically enhanced NKG2D CAR surface expression, T cell persistence, and the regression of established MDA-MB-231 TNBC in vivo. NKG2D-z CAR T cells lacking costimulatory domains were less effective, highlighting the need for costimulatory signals. CONCLUSIONS:These results demonstrate that CD27 or 4-1BB costimulated, self-enriched NKG2D CAR-redirected T cells mediate anti-tumor activity against TNBC tumor, which represent a promising immunotherapeutic approach to TNBC treatment.
Project description:Ovarian cancer (OC) is the most lethal gynecological malignancy and is responsible for most gynecological cancer deaths. Apart from conventional surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, chimeric antigen receptor-modified T (CAR-T) cells as a representative of adoptive cellular immunotherapy have received considerable attention in the research field of cancer treatment. CARs combine antigen specificity and T-cell-activating properties in a single fusion molecule. Several preclinical experiments and clinical trials have confirmed that adoptive cell immunotherapy using typical CAR-engineered T cells for OC is a promising treatment approach with striking clinical efficacy; moreover, the emerging CAR-Ts targeting various antigens also exert great potential. However, such therapies have side effects and toxicities, such as cytokine-associated and "on-target, off-tumor" toxicities. In this review, we systematically detail and highlight the present knowledge of CAR-Ts including the constructions, vectors, clinical applications, development challenges, and solutions of CAR-T-cell therapy for OC. We hope to provide new insight into OC treatment for the future.
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:NKp30 is a natural cytotoxicity receptor that is expressed on NK cells and recognizes B7-H6, which is expressed on several types of tumors but few normal cells. To target effector T cells against B7-H6+ tumors, we developed several chimeric AgRs (CARs) based on NKp30, which contain the CD28- and/or CD3?-signaling domains with the transmembrane domains from CD3?, CD28, or CD8?. The data show that chimeric NKp30-expressing T cells responded to B7-H6+ tumor cells. The NKp30 CAR-expressing T cells produced IFN-? and killed B7-H6 ligand-expressing tumor cells; this response was dependent upon ligand expression on target cells but not on MHC expression. PBMC-derived dendritic cells also express NKp30 ligands, including immature dendritic cells, and they can stimulate NKp30 CAR-bearing T cells to produce IFN-?, but to a lesser extent. The addition of a CD28-signaling domain significantly enhanced the activity of the NKp30 CAR in a PI3K-dependent manner. Adoptive transfer of T cells expressing a chimeric NKp30 receptor containing a CD28-signaling domain inhibited the growth of a B7-H6-expressing murine lymphoma (RMA/B7-H6) in vivo. Moreover, mice that remained tumor-free were resistant to a subsequent challenge with the wild-type RMA tumor cells, suggesting the generation of immunity against other tumor Ags. Overall, this study demonstrates the specificity and therapeutic potential of adoptive immunotherapy with NKp30 CAR-expressing T cells against B7-H6+ tumor cells in vivo.
Project description:Pancreatic cancer remains largely an incurable disease necessitating the development of novel therapeutic approaches. Adoptive immunotherapy using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-transduced T cells represents an alternative treatment with curative potential. We present an overview of the engineering of novel CARs targeting prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA), implications for the development of immunotherapies, and potential strategies to circumvent on-target/off-tumor toxicities.
Project description:Adoptive transfer of T cells that express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is an approved immunotherapy that may be curative for some hematological cancers. To better understand the therapeutic mechanism of action, we systematically analyzed CAR signaling in human primary T cells by mass spectrometry. When we compared the interactomes and the signaling pathways activated by distinct CAR-T cells that shared the same antigen-binding domain but differed in their intracellular domains and their in vivo antitumor efficacy, we found that only second-generation CARs induced the expression of a constitutively phosphorylated form of CD3? that resembled the endogenous species. This phenomenon was independent of the choice of costimulatory domains, or the hinge/transmembrane region. Rather, it was dependent on the size of the intracellular domains. Moreover, the second-generation design was also associated with stronger phosphorylation of downstream secondary messengers, as evidenced by global phosphoproteome analysis. These results suggest that second-generation CARs can activate additional sources of CD3? signaling, and this may contribute to more intense signaling and superior antitumor efficacy that they display compared to third-generation CARs. Moreover, our results provide a deeper understanding of how CARs interact physically and/or functionally with endogenous T cell molecules, which will inform the development of novel optimized immune receptors.
Project description:NKG2D ligands (NKG2DLs) are widely expressed on ovarian cancers to various degrees, making them attractive targets for immunotherapy. Here, we applied a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) approach for the targeting of NKG2DLs expressed on human ovarian cancer cells and evaluated the impact of pharmacological upregulation of NKG2DLs on immune recognition. Various NKG2DLs, including MICA/B and ULBP-1, -2, -3, and -4, were expressed at various levels on the surface of all established ovarian cancer cell lines and primary ovarian cancer samples tested. To redirect human T cells against NKG2DLs, an NKG2DL-specific CAR was generated by fusing the extracellular domain of the NKG2D receptor to the 4-1BB costimulatory and CD3-? chain signaling domains. In vitro expansion of chimeric NKG2D CAR T cells was delayed compared with untransduced T cells and control CAR T cells; the likely result of fratricide among activated T cells expressing NKG2DLs. However, NKG2D CAR T cells did expand and were selectively enriched during prolonged culture. In coculture, CD4(+) and CD8(+) NKG2D CAR T cells specifically recognized and killed NKG2DL-expressing ovarian cancer cell lines but not NKG2DL-negative cells. Notably, pretreatment of ovarian cancer cells expressing moderate to low levels of NKG2DLs with the histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium valproate (VPA) upregulated NKG2DL cell surface expression and consequently enhanced their immune recognition by chimeric NKG2D CAR T cells. Our results demonstrate that VPA-induced upregulation of NKG2DL expression enhances the immune recognition of ovarian cancer cells by engineered NKG2D CAR T cells, and rationalizes the use of VPA in combination with NKG2DL-targeted immunotherapy in ovarian cancer.
Project description:V?9V?2 T cell-based anticancer immunotherapy has shown some promise in early-phase clinical trials but there is still large room for improvement. Using the extracellular domain of the human NKG2D, a stimulatory receptor expressed by V?9V?2 T cells, we constructed NKG2D ligand-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). We adopted a non-viral CAR approach via mRNA electroporation to modify V?9V?2 T cells and demonstrated that, upon interaction with the NKG2D ligand-positive cancer cells, the CARs substantially enhanced the cytotoxic activity of the modified cells toward multiple cultured solid tumor cell lines, including those resistant to Zometa treatment. Repeated doses of the CAR-expressing cells resulted in tumor regression in mice with established tumors, extending median survival time by up to 132% as compared to the PBS control group. The findings suggest clinical potential for RNA CAR-modified V?9V?2 T cells to treat a wide variety of NKG2D ligand-expressing cancers.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) significantly enhance the anti-tumor activity of immune effector cells. Although most studies have evaluated CAR expression in T cells, here we evaluate different CAR constructs that improve natural killer (NK) cell-mediated killing. We identified a CAR containing the transmembrane domain of NKG2D, the 2B4 co-stimulatory domain, and the CD3? signaling domain to mediate strong antigen-specific NK cell signaling. NK cells derived from human iPSCs that express this CAR (NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells) have a typical NK cell phenotype and demonstrate improved anti-tumor activity compared with T-CAR-expressing iPSC-derived NK cells (T-CAR-iPSC-NK cells) and non-CAR-expressing cells. In an ovarian cancer xenograft model, NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells significantly inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival compared with PB-NK cells, iPSC-NK cells, or T-CAR-iPSC-NK cells. Additionally, NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells demonstrate in vivo activity similar to that of T-CAR-expressing T cells, although with less toxicity. These NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells now provide standardized, targeted "off-the-shelf" lymphocytes for anti-cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND AIMS:Adoptive cell therapy employing natural killer group 2D (NKG2D) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells has demonstrated preclinical efficacy in several model systems, including hematological and solid tumors. We present comprehensive data on manufacturing development and clinical production of autologous NKG2D CAR T cells for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02203825). An NKG2D CAR was generated by fusing native full-length human NKG2D to the human CD3? cytoplasmic signaling domain. NKG2D naturally associates with native costimulatory molecule DAP10, effectively generating a second-generation CAR against multiple ligands upregulated during malignant transformation including MIC-A, MIC-B and the UL-16 binding proteins. METHODS:CAR T cells were infused fresh after a 9-day process wherein OKT3-activated T cells were genetically modified with replication-defective gamma-retroviral vector and expanded ex vivo for 5 days with recombinant human interleukin-2. RESULTS:Despite sizable interpatient variation in originally collected cells, release criteria, including T-cell expansion and purity (median 98%), T-cell transduction (median 66% CD8+ T cells), and functional activity against NKG2D ligand-positive cells, were met for 100% of healthy donors and patients enrolled and collected. There was minimal carryover of non-T cells, particularly malignant cells; both effector memory and central memory cells were generated, and inflammatory cytokines such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, RANTES, interferon-? and tumor necrosis factor-? were selectively up-regulated. CONCLUSIONS:The process resulted in production of required cell doses for the first-in-human phase I NKG2D CAR T clinical trial and provides a robust, flexible base for further optimization of NKG2D CAR T-cell manufacturing.