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The promise and potential pitfalls of chimeric antigen receptors.
ABSTRACT: 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:Immunotherapy, particularly the adoptive cell transfer (ACT) of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), is a very promising therapy for metastatic melanoma. Some patients unable to receive TIL have been successfully treated with autologous peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL), genetically modified to express human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigen-restricted, melanoma antigen-reactive T-cell receptors; however, substantial numbers of patients remain ineligible due to the lack of expression of the restricting HLA class I allele. We sought to overcome this limitation by designing a non-MHC-restricted, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting the high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA), which is highly expressed on more than 90% of human melanomas but has a restricted distribution in normal tissues. HMW-MAA-specific CARs containing an antigen recognition domain based on variations of the HMW-MAA-specific monoclonal antibody 225.28S and a T-cell activation domain based on combinations of CD28, 4-1BB, and CD3zeta activation motifs were constructed within a retroviral vector to allow stable gene transfer into cells and their progeny. Following optimization of the HMW-MAA-specific CAR for expression and function in human PBL, these gene-modified T cells secreted cytokines, were cytolytic, and proliferated in response to HMW-MAA-expressing cell lines. Furthermore, the receptor functioned in both CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells, was non-MHC restricted, and reacted against explanted human melanomas. To evaluate this HMW-MAA-specific CAR in patients with metastatic melanoma, we developed a clinical-grade retroviral packaging line. This may represent a novel means to treat the majority of patients with advanced melanoma, most notably those unable to receive current ACT therapies.
Project description:PURPOSE OF REVIEW:Alternative approaches to conventional drug-based cancer treatments have seen T cell therapies deployed more widely over the last decade. This is largely due to their ability to target and kill specific cell types based on receptor recognition. Introduction of recombinant T cell receptors (TCRs) using viral vectors and HLA-independent T cell therapies using chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are discussed. This article reviews the tools used for genome editing, with particular emphasis on the applications of site-specific DNA nuclease mediated editing for T cell therapies. RECENT FINDINGS:Genetic engineering of T cells using TCRs and CARs with redirected antigen-targeting specificity has resulted in clinical success of several immunotherapies. In conjunction, the application of genome editing technologies has resulted in the generation of HLA-independent universal T cells for allogeneic transplantation, improved T cell sustainability through knockout of the checkpoint inhibitor, programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), and has shown efficacy as an antiviral therapy through direct targeting of viral genomic sequences and entry receptors. SUMMARY:The combined use of engineered antigen-targeting moieties and innovative genome editing technologies have recently shown success in a small number of clinical trials targeting HIV and hematological malignancies and are now being incorporated into existing strategies for other immunotherapies.
Project description:Adoptive cell transfer of tumor-specific T lymphocytes (T cells) is proving to be an effective strategy for treating established tumors in cancer patients. One method of generating these cells is accomplished through engineering bulk T cell populations to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which are specific for tumor antigens. Traditionally, these CARs are targeted against tumor antigens using single-chain antibodies (scFv). Here we describe the use of a designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin) as the tumor-antigen targeting domain.We prepared second generation anti-HER2 CARs that were targeted to the tumor antigen by either a DARPin or scFv. The CARs were engineered into human and murine T cells. We then compared the ability of CARs to trigger cytokine production, degranulation and cytotoxicity.The DARPin CARs displayed reduced surface expression relative to scFv CARs in murine cells but both CARs were expressed equally well on human T cells, suggesting that there may be a processing issue with the murine variants. In both the murine and human systems, the DARPin CARs were found to be highly functional, triggering cytokine and cytotoxic responses that were similar to those triggered by the scFv CARs.These findings demonstrate the utility of DARPins as CAR-targeting agents and open up an avenue for the generation of CARs with novel antigen binding attributes.
Project description:In this data set we include expression data from human CD4+ T cells isolated on day 0, 6, 11 and 24 follow anti-CD3/anti-CD28 magnetic bead stimulation and chimeric antigen receptor transduction. 30 samples were submitted. Samples represented three biological replicates of normal donors transduced with various CARs. CARs used were a cMet 28z specific CAR comprised of the IgG4 hinge, CD28 transmembrane and CD28 and CD3zeta intracellular domains. A CD19 CD28 CAR was specific to CD19, and was comprised of a CD8a hinge, CD28 transmembrane and CD28 and CD3zeta intracellular domain. A third CAR, the CD19 BBz, was used that was specific to CD19 was comprised of a CD8a hinge, CD8a transmembrane and 4-1BB and CD3zeta intracellular domains. Expression data was analyzied on day 0, 6, 11 and 24.
Project description:T-cells have a natural ability to fight cancer cells in the tumour microenvironment. Due to thymic selection and tissue-driven immunomodulation, these cancer-fighting T-cells are generally low in number and exhausted. One way to overcome these issues is to genetically alter T-cells to improve their effectiveness. This process can involve introducing a receptor that has high affinity for a tumour antigen, with two promising candidates known as chimeric-antigen receptors (CARs), or T-cell receptors (TCRs) with high tumour specificity. This review focuses on the editing of immune cells to introduce such novel receptors to improve immune responses to cancer. These new receptors redirect T-cells innate killing abilities to the appropriate target on cancer cells. CARs are modified receptors that recognise whole proteins on the surface of cancer cells. They have been shown to be very effective in haematological malignancies but have limited documented efficacy in solid cancers. TCRs recognise internal antigens and therefore enable targeting of a much wider range of antigens. TCRs require major histocompatibility complex (MHC) restriction but novel TCRs may have broader antigen recognition. Moreover, there are multiple cell types which can be used as targets to improve the "off-the-shelf" capabilities of these genetic engineering methods.
Project description:To generate chimeric Ag receptors (CARs) for the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer patients with ErbB2-expressing tumors, a single-chain Ab derived from the humanized mAb 4D5 Herceptin (trastuzumab) was initially linked to T cell signaling domains derived from CD28 and the CD3zeta to generate a CAR against ErbB2. Human PBLs expressing the 4D5 CAR demonstrated Ag-specific activities against ErbB2(+) tumors. However, a gradual loss of transgene expression was noted for PBLs transduced with this 4D5 CAR. When the CD3zeta signaling domain of the CAR was truncated or mutated, loss of CAR expression was not observed, suggesting that the CD3zeta signaling caused the transgene decrease, which was supported by the finding that T cells expressing 4D5 CARs with CD3zeta ITAM mutations were less prone to apoptosis. By adding 4-1BB cytoplasmic domains to the CD28-CD3zeta signaling moieties, we found increased transgene persistence in 4D5 CAR-transduced PBLs. Furthermore, constructs with 4-1BB sequences demonstrated increased cytokine secretion and lytic activity in 4D5 CAR-transduced T cells. More importantly, PBLs expressing this new version of the 4D5 CAR could not only efficiently lyse the autologous fresh tumor digests, but they could strongly suppress tumor growth in a xenogenic mouse model.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors that usually redirect T cells to surface antigens independent of human leukocyte antigen (HLA). Here, we investigated a T cell receptor-like CAR based on an antibody that recognizes HLA-A*0201 presenting a peptide epitope derived from the cancer-testis antigen NY-ESO-1. We hypothesized that this CAR would efficiently redirect transduced T cells in an HLA-restricted, antigen-specific manner. However, we found that despite the specificity of the soluble Fab, the same antibody in the form of a CAR caused moderate lysis of HLA-A2 expressing targets independent of antigen owing to T cell avidity. We hypothesized that lowering the affinity of the CAR for HLA-A2 would improve its specificity. We undertook a rational approach of mutating residues that, in the crystal structure, were predicted to stabilize binding to HLA-A2. We found that one mutation (DN) lowered the affinity of the Fab to T cell receptor-range and restored the epitope specificity of the CAR. DN CAR T cells lysed native tumor targets in vitro, and, in a xenogeneic mouse model implanted with two human melanoma lines (A2+/NYESO+ and A2+/NYESO-), DN CAR T cells specifically migrated to, and delayed progression of, only the HLA-A2+/NY-ESO-1+ melanoma. Thus, although maintaining MHC-restricted antigen specificity required T cell receptor-like affinity that decreased potency, there is exciting potential for CARs to expand their repertoire to include a broad range of intracellular antigens.
Project description: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: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:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) usually combine the antigen binding site of a monoclonal antibody with the signal activating machinery of a T cell, freeing antigen recognition from MHC restriction and thus breaking one of the barriers to more widespread application of cellular therapy. Similar to treatment strategies employing monoclonal antibodies, T cells expressing CARs are highly targeted, but additionally offer the potential benefits of active trafficking to tumor sites, in vivo expansion and long-term persistence. Furthermore, gene transfer allows the introduction of countermeasures to tumor immune evasion and of safety mechanisms.The basic structure of so-called first and later generation CARs and their potential advantages over other immune therapy systems. How these molecules can be grafted into immune cells (including retroviral and non-retroviral transduction methods) and strategies to improve the in vivo persistence and function of immune cells expressing CARs. Examples of tumor-associated antigens that have been targeted in preclinical models and clinical experience with these modified cells. Safety issues surrounding CAR gene transfer into T cells and potential solutions to them.Because of recent advances in immunology, genetics and cell processing, CAR-modified T cells will likely play an increasing role in the cellular therapy of cancer, chronic infections and autoimmune disorders.