Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) redirected T cells are efficacious in the treatment of leukemia/lymphoma, however, showed less capacities in eliminating solid tumors which is thought to be partly due to the lack of cytokine support in the tumor lesion. In order to deliver supportive cytokines, we took advantage of the inherent ability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to actively migrate to tumor sites and engineered MSCs to release both IL7 and IL12 to promote homeostatic expansion and Th1 polarization. There is a mutual interaction between engineered MSCs and CAR T cells; in presence of CAR T cell released IFN-? and TNF-?, chronic inflammatory Th2 MSCs shifted towards a Th17/Th1 pattern with IL2 and IL15 release that mutually activated CAR T cells with extended persistence, amplification, killing and protection from activation induced cell death. MSCs releasing IL7 and IL12 were superior over non-modified MSCs in supporting the CAR T cell response and improved the anti-tumor attack in a transplant tumor model. Data demonstrate the first use of genetically modified MSCs as vehicles to deliver immuno-modulatory proteins to the tumor tissue in order to improve the efficacy of CAR T cells in the treatment of solid malignancies.
Project description:The optimal T-cell attributes for adoptive cancer immunotherapy are unclear. Recent clinical trials of ex vivo-expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes indicated that differentiated T effector cells can elicit durable antitumor responses in some patients with cancer, with their antitumor activity tightly correlated with their persistence in the host. Thus, there is great interest in the definition of intrinsic biomarkers that can predict the conversion of short-lived tumor antigen-specific T effector cells into long-lived T memory cells. Long-term persistence of ex vivo-expanded tumor-specific CD8+ T effector clones has been reported in refractory metastatic melanoma patients after adoptive T-cell transfer. By using highly homogeneous clone populations from these preparations, we performed a comparative transcriptional profiling to define preinfusion molecular attributes that can be ascribed to an effector-to-memory transition. Through this route, we discovered that preinfusion T-cell clones that expressed the IL7 receptor (IL7R) and c-myc were more likely to persist longer after adoptive transfer to patients. The predictive value of these two biomarkers was strengthened by using IL7R protein, IL7-induced pSTAT5, and c-myc mRNA expression to prospectively identify human tumor-specific T effector clones capable of engraftment into immunodeficient mice. Overall, our findings reveal IL7R and c-myc expression as intrinsic biomarkers that can predict the fate of CD8+ T effector cells after adoptive transfer.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells provide great efficacy in B cell malignancies. However, improved CAR T cell therapies are still needed. Here, we engineered tumor-targeted CAR T cells to constitutively express the immune-stimulatory molecule CD40 ligand (CD40L) and explored efficacy in different mouse leukemia/lymphoma models. We observed that CD40L+ CAR T cells circumvent tumor immune escape via antigen loss through CD40/CD40L-mediated cytotoxicity and induction of a sustained, endogenous immune response. After adoptive cell transfer, the CD40L+ CAR T cells displayed superior antitumor efficacy, licensed antigen-presenting cells, enhanced recruitment of immune effectors, and mobilized endogenous tumor-recognizing T cells. These effects were absent in Cd40-/- mice and provide a rationale for the use of CD40L+ CAR T cells in cancer treatment.
Project description:Adoptive cell therapy with genetically modified T cells expressing a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is a promising therapy for patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. However, CAR-modified T cells (CAR T cells) have mostly failed in patients with solid tumors or low-grade B-cell malignancies including chronic lymphocytic leukemia with bulky lymph node involvement. Herein, we enhance the antitumor efficacy of CAR T cells through the constitutive expression of CD40 ligand (CD40L, CD154). T cells genetically modified to constitutively express CD40L (CD40L-modified T cells) demonstrated increased proliferation and secretion of proinflammatory TH1 cytokines. Further, CD40L-modified T cells augmented the immunogenicity of CD40(+) tumor cells by the upregulated surface expression of costimulatory molecules (CD80 and CD86), adhesion molecules (CD54, CD58, and CD70), human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules (Class I and HLA-DR), and the Fas-death receptor (CD95). Additionally, CD40L-modified T cells induced maturation and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-12 by monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Finally, tumor-targeted CD19-specific CAR/CD40L T cells exhibited increased cytotoxicity against CD40(+) tumors and extended the survival of tumor-bearing mice in a xenotransplant model of CD19(+) systemic lymphoma. This preclinical data supports the clinical application of CAR T cells additionally modified to constitutively express CD40L with anticipated enhanced antitumor efficacy.
Project description:Improvements in the quality and fitness of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T cells, through CAR design or manufacturing optimizations, could enhance the therapeutic potential of CAR-T cells. One parameter influencing the effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapy is the differentiation status of the final product: CAR-T cells that are less-differentiated and less exhausted are more therapeutically effective. In the current study, we demonstrate that CAR-T cells expanded in IL15 (CAR-T/IL15) preserve a less-differentiated stem cell memory (Tscm) phenotype, defined by expression of CD62L+CD45RA+ CCR7+, as compared with cells cultured in IL2 (CAR-T/IL2). CAR-T/IL15 cells exhibited reduced expression of exhaustion markers, higher antiapoptotic properties, and increased proliferative capacity upon antigen challenge. Furthermore, CAR-T/IL15 cells exhibited decreased mTORC1 activity, reduced expression of glycolytic enzymes and improved mitochondrial fitness. CAR-T/IL2 cells cultured in rapamycin (mTORC1 inhibitor) shared phenotypic features with CAR-T/IL15 cells, suggesting that IL15-mediated reduction of mTORC1 activity is responsible for preserving the Tscm phenotype. CAR-T/IL15 cells promoted superior antitumor responses in vivo in comparison with CAR-T/IL2 cells. Inclusion of cytokines IL7 and/or IL21 in addition to IL15 reduced the beneficial effects of IL15 on CAR-T phenotype and antitumor potency. Our findings show that IL15 preserves the CAR-T cell Tscm phenotype and improves their metabolic fitness, which results in superior in vivo antitumor activity, thus opening an avenue that may improve future adoptive T-cell therapies.
Project description:Treatment of cancer patients by adoptive T cell therapy has yielded promising results. In solid tumors, however, T cells encounter a hostile environment, in particular with increased inflammatory activity as a hallmark of the tumor milieu that goes along with abundant reactive oxygen species (ROS) that substantially impair antitumor activity. We present a strategy to render antitumor T cells more resilient toward ROS by coexpressing catalase along with a tumor specific chimeric Ag receptor (CAR) to increase their antioxidative capacity by metabolizing H2O2. In fact, T cells engineered with a bicistronic vector that concurrently expresses catalase, along with the CAR coexpressing catalase (CAR-CAT), performed superior over CAR T cells as they showed increased levels of intracellular catalase and had a reduced oxidative state with less ROS accumulation in both the basal state and upon activation while maintaining their antitumor activity despite high H2O2 levels. Moreover, CAR-CAT T cells exerted a substantial bystander protection of nontransfected immune effector cells as measured by CD3? chain expression in bystander T cells even in the presence of high H2O2 concentrations. Bystander NK cells, otherwise ROS sensitive, efficiently eliminate their K562 target cells under H2O2-induced oxidative stress when admixed with CAR-CAT T cells. This approach represents a novel means for protecting tumor-infiltrating cells from tumor-associated oxidative stress-mediated repression.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy has shown promising efficacy against hematologic malignancies. Antitumor activity of CAR T cells, however, needs to be improved to increase therapeutic efficacy in both hematologic and solid cancers. Limitations to overcome are 'on-target, off-tumor' toxicity, antigen escape, short CAR T cell persistence, little expansion, trafficking to the tumor and inhibition of T cell activity by an inhibitory tumor microenvironment. Here we will discuss how optimizing the design of CAR T cells through genetic engineering addresses these limitations and improves the antitumor efficacy of CAR T cell therapy in pre-clinical models.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has shown remarkable responses in B-cell malignancies. However, many patients suffer from limited response and tumor relapse due to lack of persisting CAR T cells and immune escape. These clinical challenges have compromised the long-term efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy and call for the development of novel CAR designs. We demonstrated that CAR T cells secreting a cytokine interleukin-36? (IL-36?) showed significantly improved CAR T-cell expansion and persistence, and resulted in superior tumor eradication compared with conventional CAR T cells. The enhanced cellular function by IL-36? was mediated through an autocrine manner. In addition, activation of endogenous antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and T cells by IL-36? aided the formation of a secondary antitumor response, which delayed the progression of antigen-negative tumor challenge. Together, our data provide preclinical evidence to support the translation of this design for an improved CAR T-cell-mediated antitumor response.
Project description:The high expression across multiple tumor types and restricted expression in normal tissues make B7-H3 an attractive target for immunotherapy. We generated chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting B7-H3 (B7-H3.CAR-Ts) and found that B7-H3.CAR-Ts controlled the growth of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, ovarian cancer and neuroblastoma in vitro and in orthotopic and metastatic xenograft mouse models, which included patient-derived xenograft. We also found that 4-1BB co-stimulation promotes lower PD-1 expression in B7-H3.CAR-Ts, and superior antitumor activity when targeting tumor cells that constitutively expressed PD-L1. We took advantage of the cross-reactivity of the B7-H3.CAR with murine B7-H3, and found that B7-H3.CAR-Ts significantly controlled tumor growth in a syngeneic tumor model without evident toxicity. These findings support the clinical development of B7-H3.CAR-Ts.