Facts and Challenges in Immunotherapy for T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
ABSTRACT: T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a T-cell malignant disease that mainly affects children, is still a medical challenge, especially for refractory patients for whom therapeutic options are scarce. Recent advances in immunotherapy for B-cell malignancies based on increasingly efficacious monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have been encouraging for non-responding or relapsing patients suffering from other aggressive cancers like T-ALL. However, secondary life-threatening T-cell immunodeficiency due to shared expression of targeted antigens by healthy and malignant T cells is a main drawback of mAb-or CAR-based immunotherapies for T-ALL and other T-cell malignancies. This review provides a comprehensive update on the different immunotherapeutic strategies that are being currently applied to T-ALL. We highlight recent progress on the identification of new potential targets showing promising preclinical results and discuss current challenges and opportunities for developing novel safe and efficacious immunotherapies for T-ALL.
Project description:Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells can induce durable remissions in patients with refractory B-lymphoid cancers. By contrast, results applying CAR-modified T cells to solid malignancies have been comparatively modest. Alternative strategies to redirect T cell specificity and cytolytic function are therefore necessary if ACT is to serve a greater role in human cancer treatments. T cell receptors (TCRs) are antigen recognition structures physiologically expressed by all T cells that have complementary, and in some cases superior, properties to CARs. Unlike CARs, TCRs confer recognition to epitopes derived from proteins residing within any subcellular compartment, including the membrane, cytoplasm and nucleus. This enables TCRs to detect a broad universe of targets, such as neoantigens, cancer germline antigens, and viral oncoproteins. Moreover, because TCRs have evolved to efficiently detect and amplify antigenic signals, these receptors respond to epitope densities many fold smaller than required for CAR-signaling. Herein, we summarize recent clinical data demonstrating that TCR-based immunotherapies can mediate regression of solid malignancies, including immune-checkpoint inhibitor refractory cancers. These trials simultaneously highlight emerging mechanisms of TCR resistance. We conclude by discussing how TCR-based immunotherapies can achieve broader dissemination through innovations in cell manufacturing and non-viral genome integration techniques.
Project description:Cellular immunotherapies represent a promising approach for the treatment of cancer. Engineered adoptive cell therapies redirect and augment a leukocyte's inherent ability to mount an immune response by introducing novel anti-tumor capabilities and targeting moieties. A prominent example of this approach is the use of T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which have demonstrated significant efficacy against some hematologic malignancies. Despite increasingly sophisticated strategies to harness immune cell function, efficacy against solid tumors has remained elusive for adoptive cell therapies. Amongst cell types used in immunotherapies, however, macrophages have recently emerged as prominent candidates for the treatment of solid tumors. In this review, we discuss the use of monocytes and macrophages as adoptive cell therapies. Macrophages are innate immune cells that are intrinsically equipped with broad therapeutic effector functions, including active trafficking to tumor sites, direct tumor phagocytosis, activation of the tumor microenvironment and professional antigen presentation. We focus on engineering strategies for manipulating macrophages, with a specific focus on CAR macrophages (CAR-M). We highlight CAR design for macrophages, the production of CAR-M for adoptive cell transfer, and clinical considerations for their use in treating solid malignancies. We then outline recent progress and results in applying CAR-M as immunotherapies. The recent development of engineered macrophage-based therapies holds promise as a key weapon in the immune cell therapy armamentarium.
Project description:Immunotherapy is a promising field that harnesses the power of the immune system as a therapeutic agent for cancer treatment. Beneficial outcomes shown in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) with relatively higher tumor-infiltrating T cells, combined with impressive responses obtained in a cohort of patients with NSCLC following checkpoint blockade therapy, lays a strong foundation to promote effector immune responses in these patients. One such approach being investigated is administration of tumor antigen-targeted T cells with transduction of a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). CARs are synthetic receptors that enhance T-cell antitumor effector function and have gained momentum to investigate in solid tumors based on recent successes of clinical trials treating patients with B-cell hematologic malignancies. This review summarizes target antigens for CAR T-cell therapy that are being investigated in preclinical studies and clinical trials for both NSCLC and MPM patients. We discuss the rationale for combination immunotherapies for NSCLC and MPM patients. Additionally, we have highlighted the challenges and strategies for overcoming the obstacles facing translation of CAR T-cell therapy to solid tumors.
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:For nearly three decades, chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have captivated the interest of researchers seeking to find novel immunotherapies to treat cancer. CARs were first designed to work with T cells, and the first CAR T cell therapy was approved to treat B cell lymphoma in 2017. Recent advancements in CAR technology have led to the development of modified CARs, including multi-specific CARs and logic gated CARs. Other immune cell types, including natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, have also been engineered to express CARs to treat cancer. Additionally, CAR technology has been adapted in novel approaches to treating autoimmune disease and other conditions and diseases. In this article, we review these recent advancements in alternative CAR therapies and design, as well as their mechanisms of action, challenges in application, and potential future directions.
Project description:Targeted T cell immunotherapies using engineered T lymphocytes expressing tumor-directed chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are designed to benefit patients with cancer. Although incorporation of costimulatory endodomains within these CARs increases the proliferation of CAR-redirected T lymphocytes, it has proven difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the specific effects of costimulatory endodomains on the expansion, persistence, and antitumor effectiveness of CAR-redirected T cells in human subjects, owing to the lack of side-by-side comparisons with T cells bearing only a single signaling domain. We therefore designed a study that allowed us to directly measure the consequences of adding a costimulatory endodomain to CAR-redirected T cells. Patients with B cell lymphomas were simultaneously infused with 2 autologous T cell products expressing CARs with the same specificity for the CD19 antigen, present on most B cell malignancies. One CAR encoded both the costimulatory CD28 and the ?-endodomains, while the other encoded only the ?-endodomain. CAR+ T cells containing the CD28 endodomain showed strikingly enhanced expansion and persistence compared with CAR+ T cells lacking this endodomain. These results demonstrate the superiority of CARs with dual signal domains and confirm a method of comparing CAR-modified T cells within individual patients, thereby avoiding patient-to-patient variability and accelerating the development of optimal T cell immunotherapies.
Project description: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:In recent years, much research has been focused on the field of adoptive cell therapies (ACT) that use native or genetically modified T cells as therapeutic tools. Immunotherapy with T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) demonstrated great success in the treatment of haematologic malignancies, whereas adoptive transfer of autologous tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) proved to be highly effective in metastatic melanoma. These encouraging results initiated many studies where ACT was tested as a treatment for various solid tumours. In this review, we provide an overview of the challenges of T cell-based immunotherapies of solid tumours. We describe alternative approaches for choosing the most efficient T cells for cancer treatment in terms of their tumour-specificity and phenotype. Finally, we present strategies for improvement of anti-tumour potential of T cells, including combination therapies.
Project description:Immune targeting of B-cell malignancies using chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) is a promising new approach, but critical factors impacting CAR efficacy remain unclear. To test the suitability of targeting CD22 on precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL), lymphoblasts from 111 patients with BCP-ALL were assayed for CD22 expression and all were found to be CD22-positive, with median CD22 expression levels of 3500 sites/cell. Three distinct binding domains targeting CD22 were fused to various TCR signaling domains ± an IgG heavy chain constant domain (CH2CH3) to create a series of vector constructs suitable to delineate optimal CAR configuration. CARs derived from the m971 anti-CD22 mAb, which targets a proximal CD22 epitope demonstrated superior antileukemic activity compared with those incorporating other binding domains, and addition of a 4-1BB signaling domain to CD28.CD3 constructs diminished potency, whereas increasing affinity of the anti-CD22 binding motif, and extending the CD22 binding domain away from the membrane via CH2CH3 had no effect. We conclude that second-generation m971 mAb-derived anti-CD22 CARs are promising novel therapeutics that should be tested in BCP-ALL.
Project description:B-cell malignancies are a heterogeneous group of hematological neoplasms derived from cells at different stages of B-cell development. Recent studies revealed that dysregulated redox metabolism is one of the factors contributing to the pathogenesis and progression of B-cell malignancies. Elevated levels of oxidative stress markers usually correlate with the advanced stage of various B-cell malignancies. In the complex tumor microenvironment, reactive oxygen species affect not only malignant cells but also bystander cells, including immune cells. Importantly, malignant cells, due to genetic dysregulation, are able to adapt to the increased demands for energy and reducing equivalents via metabolic reprogramming and upregulation of antioxidants. The immune cells, however, are more sensitive to oxidative imbalance. This may cause their dysfunction, leading to immune evasion and tumor progression. On the other hand, the already imbalanced redox homeostasis renders malignant B-cells particularly sensitive to further elevation of reactive oxygen species. Indeed, targeting antioxidant systems has already presented anti-leukemic efficacy in preclinical models. Moreover, the prooxidant treatment that triggers immunogenic cell death has been utilized to generate autologous anti-leukemic vaccines. In this article, we review novel research on the dual role of the reactive oxygen species in B-cell malignancies. We highlight the mechanisms of maintaining redox homeostasis by malignant B-cells along with the antioxidant shield provided by the microenvironment. We summarize current findings regarding therapeutic targeting of redox metabolism in B-cell malignancies. We also discuss how the oxidative stress affects antitumor immune response and how excessive reactive oxygens species influence anticancer prooxidant treatments and immunotherapies.