Mathematical deconvolution of CAR T-cell proliferation and exhaustion from real-time killing assay data.
ABSTRACT: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has shown promise in the treatment of haematological cancers and is currently being investigated for solid tumours, including high-grade glioma brain tumours. There is a desperate need to quantitatively study the factors that contribute to the efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy in solid tumours. In this work, we use a mathematical model of predator-prey dynamics to explore the kinetics of CAR T-cell killing in glioma: the Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell treatment Response in GliOma (CARRGO) model. The model includes rates of cancer cell proliferation, CAR T-cell killing, proliferation, exhaustion, and persistence. We use patient-derived and engineered cancer cell lines with an in vitro real-time cell analyser to parametrize the CARRGO model. We observe that CAR T-cell dose correlates inversely with the killing rate and correlates directly with the net rate of proliferation and exhaustion. This suggests that at a lower dose of CAR T-cells, individual T-cells kill more cancer cells but become more exhausted when compared with higher doses. Furthermore, the exhaustion rate was observed to increase significantly with tumour growth rate and was dependent on level of antigen expression. The CARRGO model highlights nonlinear dynamics involved in CAR T-cell therapy and provides novel insights into the kinetics of CAR T-cell killing. The model suggests that CAR T-cell treatment may be tailored to individual tumour characteristics including tumour growth rate and antigen level to maximize therapeutic benefit.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic antigen receptors that reprogram T cell specificity, function and persistence1. Patient-derived CAR T cells have demonstrated remarkable efficacy against a range of B-cell malignancies1-3, and the results of early clinical trials suggest activity in multiple myeloma4. Despite high complete response rates, relapses occur in a large fraction of patients; some of these are antigen-negative and others are antigen-low1,2,4-9. Unlike the mechanisms that result in complete and permanent antigen loss6,8,9, those that lead to escape of antigen-low tumours remain unclear. Here, using mouse models of leukaemia, we show that CARs provoke reversible antigen loss through trogocytosis, an active process in which the target antigen is transferred to T cells, thereby decreasing target density on tumour cells and abating T cell activity by promoting fratricide T cell killing and T cell exhaustion. These mechanisms affect both CD28- and 4-1BB-based CARs, albeit differentially, depending on antigen density. These dynamic features can be offset by cooperative killing and combinatorial targeting to augment tumour responses to immunotherapy.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells mediate anti-tumour effects in a small subset of patients with cancer1-3, but dysfunction due to T cell exhaustion is an important barrier to progress4-6. To investigate the biology of exhaustion in human T cells expressing CAR receptors, we used a model system with a tonically signaling CAR, which induces hallmark features of exhaustion6. Exhaustion was associated with a profound defect in the production of IL-2, along with increased chromatin accessibility of AP-1 transcription factor motifs and overexpression of the bZIP and IRF transcription factors that have been implicated in mediating dysfunction in exhausted T cells7-10. Here we show that CAR T cells engineered to overexpress the canonical AP-1 factor c-Jun have enhanced expansion potential, increased functional capacity, diminished terminal differentiation and improved anti-tumour potency in five different mouse tumour models in vivo. We conclude that a functional deficiency in c-Jun mediates dysfunction in exhausted human T cells, and that engineering CAR T cells to overexpress c-Jun renders them resistant to exhaustion, thereby addressing a major barrier to progress for this emerging class of therapeutic agents.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors for antigen that reprogram T cell specificity, function and persistence. Patient-derived CAR T cells have demonstrated remarkable efficacy against a range of B-cell malignancies, and early trial results suggest activity in multiple myeloma. Despite high complete response rates, relapses occur in a large fraction of patients, some of which are antigen-negative and others antigen-low. Unlike mechanisms resulting in complete and permanent antigen loss, those leading to antigen-low tumour escape remain obscure. In murine leukaemia models, we show that CARs provoke reversible antigen loss through trogocytosis, an active process whereby target antigen is transferred to T cells, thereby decreasing target density on tumour cells and abating T cell activity by promoting fratricide killing and exhaustion. These mechanisms affect both CD28 and 4-1BB-based CARs, albeit differentially, depending on antigen density. They can be offset by cooperative killing and combinatorial targeting. Overall design: Examination of mRNA CD19 expression in NALM6 retrieved from relapsed mice treated with 19-BBζ CAR T cells (D0), retrieved NALM6 after ex-vivo culture (D6), and NALM6 culture in vitro (ctrl).
Project description:Although adoptive T-cell therapy has shown remarkable clinical efficacy in haematological malignancies, its success in combating solid tumours has been limited. Here, we report that PTPN2 deletion in T cells enhances cancer immunosurveillance and the efficacy of adoptively transferred tumour-specific T cells. T-cell-specific PTPN2 deficiency prevented tumours forming in aged mice heterozygous for the tumour suppressor p53. Adoptive transfer of PTPN2-deficient CD8+ T cells markedly repressed tumour formation in mice bearing mammary tumours. Moreover, PTPN2 deletion in T cells expressing a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) specific for the oncoprotein HER-2 increased the activation of the Src family kinase LCK and cytokine-induced STAT-5 signalling, thereby enhancing both CAR T-cell activation and homing to CXCL9/10-expressing tumours to eradicate HER-2+ mammary tumours in vivo. Our findings define PTPN2 as a target for bolstering T-cell-mediated anti-tumour immunity and CAR T-cell therapy against solid tumours.
2020-01-01 | S-EPMC6960448 | BioStudies
Project description:Although adoptive T cell therapy has shown remarkable clinical efficacy in hematological malignancies, its success in combating solid tumours has been limited. Here we report that PTPN2 deletion in T cells enhances cancer immunosurveillance and the efficacy of adoptively transferred tumour-specific T cells. T cell-specific PTPN2 deficiency prevented tumours forming in aged mice heterozygous for the tumour suppressor p53. Adoptive transfer of PTPN2-deficient CD8+ T cells markedly repressed tumour formation in mice bearing mammary tumours. Moreover, PTPN2 deletion in T cells expressing a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) specific for the oncoprotein HER-2 increased the activation of the Src family kinase LCK and cytokine-induced STAT-5 signalling, thereby enhancing both CAR-T cell activation and homing to CXCL9/10 expressing tumours to eradicate HER-2+ mammary tumours in vivo. Our findings define PTPN2 as a target for bolstering T-cell mediated anti-tumour immunity and CAR-T cell therapy against solid tumours.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The extracellular matrix (ECM) is essential for malignant tumour progression, as it is a physical barrier to various kinds of anticancer therapies. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) can degrade almost all ECM components, and macrophages are an important source of MMPs. Studies using macrophages to treat tumours have shown that macrophages can enter tumour tissue to play a regulatory role. METHODS:We modified macrophages with a designed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), which could be activated after recognition of the tumour antigen HER2 to trigger the internal signalling of CD147 and increase the expression of MMPs. RESULTS:Although CAR-147 macrophage treatment did not affect tumour cell growth in vitro compared with control treatment. However, we found that the infusion of CAR-147 macrophages significantly inhibited HER2-4T1 tumour growth in BALB/c mice. Further investigation showed that CAR-147 macrophages could reduce tumour collagen deposition and promote T-cell infiltration into tumours, which were consistent with expectations. Interestingly, the levels of the inflammatory cytokines TNF-? and IL-6, which are key factors in cytokine release syndrome, were significantly decreased in the peripheral blood in CAR-147 macrophage-transfused mice. CONCLUSION:Our data suggest that targeting the ECM by engineered macrophages would be an effective treatment strategy for solid tumours.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have shown great promise in the treatment of hematologic malignancies but more variable results in the treatment of solid tumors and the persistence and expansion of CAR T cells within patients has been identified as a key correlate of antitumor efficacy. Lack of immunological "space", functional exhaustion, and deletion have all been proposed as mechanisms that hamper CAR T-cell persistence. Here we describe the events following activation of third-generation CAR T cells specific for GD2. CAR T cells had highly potent immediate effector functions without evidence of functional exhaustion in vitro, although reduced cytokine production reversible by PD-1 blockade was observed after longer-term culture. Significant activation-induced cell death (AICD) of CAR T cells was observed after repeated antigen stimulation, and PD-1 blockade enhanced both CAR T-cell survival and promoted killing of PD-L1(+) tumor cell lines. Finally, we assessed CAR T-cell persistence in patients enrolled in the CARPETS phase 1 clinical trial of GD2-specific CAR T cells in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Together, these data suggest that deletion also occurs in vivo and that PD-1-targeted combination therapy approaches may be useful to augment CAR T-cell efficacy and persistence in patients.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Patients with relapsed or refractory malignancies have a poor prognosis. Immunotherapy with chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells redirects a patient's immune cells against the tumour antigen. CAR-T cell therapy has demonstrated promise in treating patients with several haematological malignancies, including acute B-cell lymphoblastic leukaemia and B-cell lymphomas. CAR-T cell therapy for patients with other solid tumours is also being tested. Safety is an important consideration in CAR-T cell therapy given the potential for serious adverse events, including death. Previous reviews on CAR-T cell therapy have been limited in scope and methodology. Herein, we present a protocol for a systematic review to identify CAR-T cell interventional studies and examine the safety and efficacy of this therapy in patients with haematology malignancies and solid tumours. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:We will search MEDLINE, including In-Process and Epub Ahead of Print, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1946 to 22 February 2017. Studies will be screened by title, abstract and full text independently and in duplicate. Studies that report administering CAR-T cells of any chimeric antigen receptor construct targeting antigens in patients with haematological malignancies and solid tumours will be eligible for inclusion. Outcomes to be extracted will include complete response rate (primary outcome), overall response rate, overall survival, relapse and adverse events. A meta-analysis will be performed to synthesise the prevalence of outcomes reported as proportions with 95% CIs. The potential for bias within included studies will be assessed using a modified Institute of Health Economics tool. Heterogeneity of effect sizes will be determined using the Cochrane I 2 statistic. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The review findings will be submitted for peer-reviewed journal publication and presented at relevant conferences and scientific meetings to promote knowledge transfer. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER:CRD42017075331.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based T cell therapy is in early clinical trials to target the neuroectodermal tumor, neuroblastoma. No preclinical or clinical efficacy data are available for retinoblastoma to date. Whereas unilateral intraocular retinoblastoma is cured by enucleation of the eye, infiltration of the optic nerve indicates potential diffuse scattering and tumor spread leading to a major therapeutic challenge. CAR-T cell therapy could improve the currently limited therapeutic strategies for metastasized retinoblastoma by simultaneously killing both primary tumor and metastasizing malignant cells and by reducing chemotherapy-related late effects. METHODS:CD171 and GD2 expression was flow cytometrically analyzed in 11 retinoblastoma cell lines. CD171 expression and T cell infiltration (CD3+) was immunohistochemically assessed in retrospectively collected primary retinoblastomas. The efficacy of CAR-T cells targeting the CD171 and GD2 tumor-associated antigens was preclinically tested against three antigen-expressing retinoblastoma cell lines. CAR-T cell activation and exhaustion were assessed by cytokine release assays and flow cytometric detection of cell surface markers, and killing ability was assessed in cytotoxic assays. CAR constructs harboring different extracellular spacer lengths (short/long) and intracellular co-stimulatory domains (CD28/4-1BB) were compared to select the most potent constructs. RESULTS:All retinoblastoma cell lines investigated expressed CD171 and GD2. CD171 was expressed in 15/30 primary retinoblastomas. Retinoblastoma cell encounter strongly activated both CD171-specific and GD2-specific CAR-T cells. Targeting either CD171 or GD2 effectively killed all retinoblastoma cell lines examined. Similar activation and killing ability for either target was achieved by all CAR constructs irrespective of the length of the extracellular spacers and the co-stimulatory domain. Cell lines differentially lost tumor antigen expression upon CAR-T cell encounter, with CD171 being completely lost by all tested cell lines and GD2 further down-regulated in cell lines expressing low GD2 levels before CAR-T cell challenge. Alternating the CAR-T cell target in sequential challenges enhanced retinoblastoma cell killing. CONCLUSION:Both CD171 and GD2 are effective targets on human retinoblastoma cell lines, and CAR-T cell therapy is highly effective against retinoblastoma in vitro. Targeting of two different antigens by sequential CAR-T cell applications enhanced tumor cell killing and preempted tumor antigen loss in preclinical testing.
Project description:Adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) refers to the therapeutic use of T cells. T cells genetically engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) constitute the most clinically advanced form of ACT approved to date for the treatment of CD19-positive leukaemias and lymphomas. CARs are synthetic receptors that are able to confer antigen-binding and activating functions on T cells with the aim of therapeutically targeting cancer cells. Several factors are essential for CAR T cell therapy to be effective, such as recruitment, activation, expansion and persistence of bioengineered T cells at the tumour site. Despite the advances made in CAR T cell therapy, however, most tumour entities still escape immune detection and elimination. A number of strategies counteracting these problems will need to be addressed in order to render T cell therapy effective in more situations than currently possible. Non-haematological tumours are also the subject of active investigation, but ACT has so far shown only marginal success rates in these cases. New approaches are needed to enhance the ability of ACT to target solid tumours without increasing toxicity, by improving recognition, infiltration, and persistence within tumours, as well as an enhanced resistance to the suppressive tumour microenvironment.