Metabolic and Mitochondrial Functioning in Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cells.
ABSTRACT: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has revolutionized adoptive cell therapy with impressive therapeutic outcomes of >80% complete remission (CR) rates in some haematological malignancies. Despite this, CAR T cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumours has invariably been unsuccessful in the clinic. Immunosuppressive factors and metabolic stresses in the tumour microenvironment (TME) result in the dysfunction and exhaustion of CAR T cells. A growing body of evidence demonstrates the importance of the mitochondrial and metabolic state of CAR T cells prior to infusion into patients. The different T cell subtypes utilise distinct metabolic pathways to fulfil their energy demands associated with their function. The reprogramming of CAR T cell metabolism is a viable approach to manufacture CAR T cells with superior antitumour functions and increased longevity, whilst also facilitating their adaptation to the nutrient restricted TME. This review discusses the mitochondrial and metabolic state of T cells, and describes the potential of the latest metabolic interventions to maximise CAR T cell efficacy for solid tumours.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR T) cell therapy has made great progress in hematological malignancies and resulted in two newly FDA-approved drugs specific for CD19, Kymriah and Yescarta. To some extent, this success is attributable to the appropriately selected antigen, CD19, a cell surface protein that is uniformly and strongly expressed on malignant B cells. This result indicates that a proper CAR target is of great importance to the success of this technique. Another key factor contributing to the success of hematological malignancies can be ascribed to the nonphysical tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME in solid tumors is complicated and has a specific niche favorable for tumor progression with physical barriers, multiple mechanisms of immunosuppression, and a variety of biochemical factors, thus resulting in limited efficacy of CAR T cell therapy in clinical trials with cancer patients. Therefore, the inhospitable solid TME becomes a major hurdle in translating the success of CAR T cell therapy in hematological malignancies to solid tumors. Here, we provide our perspective on how to improve the success of CAR T therapy in solid tumors by focusing on the aspects of target selection and the related TME in CAR T cell design, especially stressing the interplay between them. With four kinds of antigenic CAR targets as examples in this review, we anticipate that the overall consideration of both factors will further expand CAR T cell therapy in clinical trials.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy engineers T-cells to express a synthetic receptor which redirects effector function to the tumor, to improve efficacy and reduce toxicities associated with conventional treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This approach has proved effective in treating hematological malignancies; however, the same effects have not been observed in solid tumors. The immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) creates a significant barrier to solid tumor efficacy and reduces the anti-cancer activity of endogenous tumor-resident immune cells, enabling cancer progression. In recent years, researchers have attempted to enhance CAR T-cell function in the TME by engineering the cells to express various proteins alongside the CAR. Examples of this engineering include inducing CAR T-cells to secrete cytokines or express cytokine receptors to modulate the cytokine milieu of the TME. Alternatively, the CAR T-cell may secrete antibody-like proteins to target a range of tumor antigens. Collectively, these methods are termed armored CAR T-cell therapy, and in this review, we will discuss the range of armored CAR T-cell approaches which have been investigated to date.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy has shown tremendous success in eradicating hematologic malignancies. However, this success has not yet been extrapolated to solid tumors due to the limited infiltration and persistence of CAR-T cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). In this study, we screened a novel anti-CD70 scFv and generated CD70 CAR-T cells that showed effective antitumor functions against CD70<sup>+</sup> renal carcinoma cells (RCCs) both in vitro and in vivo. We further evaluated the effect and explored the molecular mechanism of a PARP inhibitor (PARPi) in CAR-T cell immunotherapy by administering the PARPi to mouse xenografts model derived from human RCC cells. Treatment with the PARPi promoted CAR-T cell infiltration by stimulating a chemokine milieu that promoted CAR-T cell recruitment and the modulation of immunosuppression in the TME. Moreover, our data demonstrate that PARPi modulates the TME by activating the cGAS-STING pathway, thereby altering the balance of immunostimulatory signaling and enabling low-dose CAR-T cell treatment to induce effective tumor regression. These data demonstrate the application of CD70 CAR-T cell therapeutic strategies for RCC and the cross-talk between targeting DNA damage responses and antitumor CAR-T cell therapy. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms of PARPis in CAR-T cell therapy for RCC and suggest a promising adjuvant therapeutic strategy for CAR-T cell therapy in solid tumors.
Project description:Immunotherapies have become the backbone of cancer treatment. Among them, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have demonstrated great success in the treatment of hematological malignancies. However, CAR T therapy against solid tumors is less effective. Antigen targeting; an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME); and the infiltration, proliferation, and persistence of CAR T cells are the predominant barriers preventing the extension of CAR T therapy to solid tumors. To circumvent these obstacles, the next-generation CAR T cells will require more potent antitumor properties, which can be achieved by gene-editing technology. In this review, we summarize innovative strategies to enhance CAR T cell function by improving target identification, persistence, trafficking, and overcoming the suppressive TME. The construction of multi-target CAR T cells improves antigen recognition and reduces immune escape. Enhancing CAR T cell proliferation and persistence can be achieved by optimizing costimulatory signals and overexpressing cytokines. CAR T cells equipped with chemokines or chemokine receptors help overcome their poor homing to tumor sites. Strategies like knocking out immune checkpoint molecules, incorporating dominant negative receptors, and chimeric switch receptors can favor the depletion or reversal of negative T cell regulators in the TME.
Project description:Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is a membrane protease that is highly expressed by cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). FAP can modulate the tumor microenvironment (TME) by remodeling the extracellular matrix (ECM), and its overexpression on CAFs is associated with poor prognosis in various cancers. The TME is in part accountable for the limited efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy in treatment of solid tumors. Targeting FAP with CAR-T cells is one of the strategies being researched to overcome the challenges in the TME. This review describes the role of FAP in the TME and its potential as a target in CAR-T cell immunotherapy, summarizes the preclinical studies and clinical trials of anti-FAP-CAR-T cells to date, and reviews possible optimizations to augment their cytotoxic efficiency in solid tumors.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T and CAR NK cell therapies opened new avenues for cancer treatment. Although original successes of CAR T and CAR NK cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies were extraordinary, several obstacles have since been revealed, in particular their use for the treatment of solid cancers. The tumor microenvironment (TME) is competing for nutrients with T and NK cells and their CAR-expressing counterparts, paralyzing their metabolic effective and active states. Consequently, this can lead to alterations in their anti-tumoral capacity and persistence in vivo. High glucose uptake and the depletion of key amino acids by the TME can deprive T and NK cells of energy and building blocks, which turns them into a state of anergy, where they are unable to exert cytotoxic activity against cancer cells. This is especially true in the context of an immune-suppressive TME. In order to re-invigorate the T, NK, CAR T and CAR NK cell-mediated antitumor response, the field is now attempting to understand how metabolic pathways might change T and NK responses and functions, as well as those from their CAR-expressing partners. This revealed ways to metabolically rewire these cells by using metabolic enhancers or optimizing pre-infusion in vitro cultures of these cells. Importantly, next-generation CAR T and CAR NK products might include in the future the necessary metabolic requirements by improving their design, manufacturing process and other parameters. This will allow the overcoming of current limitations due to their interaction with the suppressive TME. In a clinical setting, this might improve their anti-cancer effector activity in synergy with immunotherapies. In this review, we discuss how the tumor cells and TME interfere with T and NK cell metabolic requirements. This may potentially lead to therapeutic approaches that enhance the metabolic fitness of CAR T and CAR NK cells, with the objective to improve their anti-cancer capacity.
Project description:Despite the remarkable success of chimeric antigen receptor-modified T (CAR-T) cell therapy for blood malignancies, the clinical efficacy of this novel therapy in solid tumor treatment is largely limited by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). For instance, immune checkpoints (e.g., programmed cell death protein 1 [PD-1]/programmed death ligand 1 [PD-L1]) in TME play an important role in inhibiting T cell proliferation and functions. Transforming growth factor β (TGF)-β secreted by cancer cells in TME induces regulatory T cells (Tregs) and inhibits cytotoxic T cells. To overcome the inhibitory effect of immune checkpoints, we have previously engineered CAR-T cells to secrete anti-PD-1 to block the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway activity, a step demonstrating superior antitumor efficacy compared with conventional CAR-T cells. In this study, we engineered CAR-T cells that secrete bispecific trap protein co-targeting PD-1 and TGF-β, with the aim of further improving antitumor immunity. Compared with conventional CAR-T cells and anti-PD-1-secreting CAR-T cells, data from <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i> experiments showed that CAR-T cells with trap protein secretion further attenuated inhibitory T cell signaling, enhanced T cell persistence and expansion, and improved effector function and resistance to exhaustion. In the xenograft mouse model, CAR-T cells with trap protein secretion exhibited significantly enhanced antitumor immunity and efficacy. With these observations, we demonstrate the potential of trap protein self-secreting CAR-T cells as a potent therapy for solid tumors.
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: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<sup>+</sup> 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<sup>+</sup> 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:In recent years, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has become popular in immunotherapy, particularly after its tremendous success in the treatment of lineage-restricted hematologic cancers. However, the application of CAR T-cell therapy for solid tumors has not reached its full potential because of the lack of specific tumor antigens and inhibitory factors in suppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) (e.g., programmed death ligand-1, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and transforming growth factor-?). In this review, we include some limitations in CAR design, such as tumor heterogeneity, indefinite spatial distance between CAR T-cell and its target cell, and suppressive TME. We also summarize some new approaches to overcome these hurdles, including targeting neoantigens and/or multiple antigens at once and depleting some inhibitory factors.