Project description:Adoptive transfer of T cells expressing a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is being evaluated in multiple clinical trials. Our current approach to adoptive immunotherapy is based on a second generation CAR (designated CD19RCD28) that signals through a CD28 and CD3-? endodomain. T cells are electroporated with DNA plasmids from the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon/transposase system to express this CAR. Stable integrants of genetically modified T cells can then be retrieved when co-cultured with designer artificial antigen presenting cells (aAPC) in the presence of interleukin (IL)-2 and 21. Here, we reveal how the platform technologies of SB-mediated transposition and CAR-dependent propagation on aAPC were adapted for human application. Indeed, we have initiated clinical trials in patients with high-risk B-lineage malignancies undergoing autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). We describe the process to manufacture clinical grade CD19-specific T cells derived from healthy donors. Three validation runs were completed in compliance with current good manufacturing practice for Phase I/II trials demonstrating that by 28 days of co-culture on ?-irradiated aAPC ?10(10) T cells were produced of which >95% expressed CAR. These genetically modified and propagated T cells met all quality control testing and release criteria in support of infusion.
Project description:Genetic modification of clinical-grade T cells is undertaken to augment function, including redirecting specificity for desired antigen. We and others have introduced a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to enable T cells to recognize lineage-specific tumor antigen, such as CD19, and early-phase human trials are currently assessing safety and feasibility. However, a significant barrier to next-generation clinical studies is developing a suitable CAR expression vector capable of genetically modifying a broad population of T cells. Transduction of T cells is relatively efficient but it requires specialized manufacture of expensive clinical grade recombinant virus. Electrotransfer of naked DNA plasmid offers a cost-effective alternative approach, but the inefficiency of transgene integration mandates ex vivo selection under cytocidal concentrations of drug to enforce expression of selection genes to achieve clinically meaningful numbers of CAR(+) T cells. We report a new approach to efficiently generating T cells with redirected specificity, introducing DNA plasmids from the Sleeping Beauty transposon/transposase system to directly express a CD19-specific CAR in memory and effector T cells without drug selection. When coupled with numerical expansion on CD19(+) artificial antigen-presenting cells, this gene transfer method results in rapid outgrowth of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells expressing CAR to redirect specificity for CD19(+) tumor cells.
Project description:Clinical-grade T cells are genetically modified ex vivo to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to redirect specificity to a tumor associated antigen (TAA) thereby conferring antitumor activity in vivo. T cells expressing a CD19-specific CAR recognize B-cell malignancies in multiple recipients independent of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) because the specificity domains are cloned from the variable chains of a CD19 monoclonal antibody. We now report a major step toward eliminating the need to generate patient-specific T cells by generating universal allogeneic TAA-specific T cells from one donor that might be administered to multiple recipients. This was achieved by genetically editing CD19-specific CAR(+) T cells to eliminate expression of the endogenous ?? T-cell receptor (TCR) to prevent a graft-versus-host response without compromising CAR-dependent effector functions. Genetically modified T cells were generated using the Sleeping Beauty system to stably introduce the CD19-specific CAR with subsequent permanent deletion of ? or ? TCR chains with designer zinc finger nucleases. We show that these engineered T cells display the expected property of having redirected specificity for CD19 without responding to TCR stimulation. CAR(+)TCR(neg) T cells of this type may potentially have efficacy as an off-the-shelf therapy for investigational treatment of B-lineage malignancies.
Project description:The Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon/transposase DNA plasmid system is used to genetically modify cells for long-term transgene expression. We adapted the SB system for human application and generated T cells expressing a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) specific for CD19. Electrotransfer of CD19-specific SB DNA plasmids in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and propagation on CD19 artificial antigen presenting cells was used to numerically expand CD3 T cells expressing CAR. By day 28 of coculture, >90% of expanded CD3 T cells expressed CAR. CAR T cells specifically killed CD19 target cells and consisted of subsets expressing biomarkers consistent with central memory, effector memory, and effector phenotypes. CAR T cells contracted numerically in the absence of the CD19 antigen, did not express SB11 transposase, and maintained a polyclonal TCR V? and TCR V? repertoire. Quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that CAR T cells preserved the telomere length. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and fluorescence in situ hybridization showed CAR transposon integrated on average once per T-cell genome. CAR T cells in peripheral blood can be detected by quantitative polymerase chain reaction at a sensitivity of 0.01%. These findings lay the groundwork as the basis of our first-in-human clinical trials of the nonviral SB system for the investigational treatment of CD19 B-cell malignancies (currently under 3 INDs: 14193, 14577, and 14739).
Project description:Clinical-grade T cells are genetically modified ex vivo to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to redirect their specificity to target tumor-associated antigens in vivo. We now have developed this molecular strategy to render cytotoxic T cells specific for fungi. We adapted the pattern-recognition receptor Dectin-1 to activate T cells via chimeric CD28 and CD3-? (designated "D-CAR") upon binding with carbohydrate in the cell wall of Aspergillus germlings. T cells genetically modified with the Sleeping Beauty system to express D-CAR stably were propagated selectively on artificial activating and propagating cells using an approach similar to that approved by the Food and Drug Administration for manufacturing CD19-specific CAR(+) T cells for clinical trials. The D-CAR(+) T cells exhibited specificity for ?-glucan which led to damage and inhibition of hyphal growth of Aspergillus in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of D-CAR(+) T cells with steroids did not compromise antifungal activity significantly. These data support the targeting of carbohydrate antigens by CAR(+) T cells and provide a clinically appealing strategy to enhance immunity for opportunistic fungal infections using T-cell gene therapy.
Project description:Sleeping Beauty (SB3) transposon and transposase constitute a DNA plasmid system used for therapeutic human cell genetic engineering. Here we report a comparison of SB100X, a newly developed hyperactive SB transposase, to a previous generation SB11 transposase to achieve stable expression of a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR3) in primary human T cells. The electro-transfer of SB100X expressed from a DNA plasmid or as an introduced mRNA species had superior transposase activity in T cells based on the measurement of excision circles released after transposition and emergence of CAR expression on T cells selectively propagated upon CD19+ artificial antigen-presenting cells. Given that T cells modified with SB100X and SB11 integrate on average one copy of the CAR transposon in each T-cell genome, the improved transposition mediated by SB100X apparently leads to an augmented founder effect of electroporated T cells with durable integration of CAR. In aggregate, SB100X improves SB transposition in primary human T cells and can be titrated with an SB transposon plasmid to improve the generation of CD19-specific CAR+ T cells.
Project description:Limited curative treatment options exist for patients with advanced B-lymphoid malignancies, and new therapeutic approaches are needed to augment the efficacy of hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). Cellular therapies, such as adoptive transfer of T cells that are being evaluated to target malignant disease, use mechanisms independent of chemo- and radiotherapy with nonoverlapping toxicities. Gene therapy is employed to generate tumor-specific T cells, as specificity can be redirected through enforced expression of a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to achieve antigen recognition based on the specificity of a monoclonal antibody. By combining cell and gene therapies, we have opened a new Phase I protocol at the MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX) to examine the safety and feasibility of administering autologous genetically modified T cells expressing a CD19-specific CAR (capable of signaling through chimeric CD28 and CD3-?) into patients with high-risk B-lymphoid malignancies undergoing autologous HSCT. The T cells are genetically modified by nonviral gene transfer of the Sleeping Beauty system and CAR(+) T cells selectively propagated in a CAR-dependent manner on designer artificial antigen-presenting cells. The results of this study will lay the foundation for future protocols including CAR(+) T-cell infusions derived from allogeneic sources.
Project description:T cells modified with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) targeting CD19 demonstrated clinical activity against some B-cell malignancies. However, this is often accompanied by a loss of normal CD19+ B cells and humoral immunity. Receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor-1 (ROR1) is expressed on sub-populations of B-cell malignancies and solid tumors, but not by healthy B cells or normal post-partum tissues. Thus, adoptive transfer of T cells specific for ROR1 has potential to eliminate tumor cells and spare healthy tissues. To test this hypothesis, we developed CARs targeting ROR1 in order to generate T cells specific for malignant cells. Two Sleeping Beauty transposons were constructed with 2nd generation ROR1-specific CARs signaling through CD3? and either CD28 (designated ROR1RCD28) or CD137 (designated ROR1RCD137) and were introduced into T cells. We selected for T cells expressing CAR through co-culture with ?-irradiated activating and propagating cells (AaPC), which co-expressed ROR1 and co-stimulatory molecules. Numeric expansion over one month of co-culture on AaPC in presence of soluble interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-21 occurred and resulted in a diverse memory phenotype of CAR+ T cells as measured by non-enzymatic digital array (NanoString) and multi-panel flow cytometry. Such T cells produced interferon-? and had specific cytotoxic activity against ROR1+ tumors. Moreover, such cells could eliminate ROR1+ tumor xenografts, especially T cells expressing ROR1RCD137. Clinical trials will investigate the ability of ROR1-specific CAR+ T cells to specifically eliminate tumor cells while maintaining normal B-cell repertoire.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T-cell adoptive immunotherapy is a remarkable therapeutic option proven effective in the treatment of hematological malignancies. In order to optimize cell manufacturing, we sought to develop a novel clinical-grade protocol to obtain CAR-modified cytokine-induced killer cells (CIKs) using the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system. Administration of irradiated PBMCs overcame cell death of stimulating cells induced by non-viral transfection, enabling robust gene transfer together with efficient T-cell expansion. Upon single stimulation, we reached an average of 60% expression of CD123- and CD19- specific 3rd generation CARs (CD28/OX40/TCRzeta). Furthermore, modified cells displayed persistence of cell subsets with memory phenotype, specific and effective lytic activity against leukemic cell lines and primary blasts, cytokine secretion, and proliferation. Adoptive transfer of CD123.CAR or CD19.CAR lymphocytes led to a significant anti-tumor response against acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) disseminated diseases in NSG mice. Notably, we found no evidence of integration enrichment near cancer genes and transposase expression at the end of the differentiation. Taken all together, our findings describe a novel donor-derived non-viral CAR approach that may widen the repertoire of available methods for T cell-based immunotherapy.
Project description:We have reported earlier that the non-viral Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system can mediate genomic integration and long-term reporter gene expression in human primary peripheral blood (PB) T cells. In order to test whether this system can be used for genetically modifying both PB T cells and umbilical cord blood (UCB) T cells as graft-versus-leukemia effector cells, an SB transposon was constructed to coexpress a single-chain chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) for human CD19 and CD20. PB and UCB were nucleofected with the transposon and a transposase plasmid, activated and then expanded in culture using anti-CD3/CD28 beads. Stable dual-gene expression was confirmed in both T-cell types, permitting enrichment by positive selection with Rituxan. The engineered CD4(+) T cells and CD8(+) T cells both exhibited specific cytotoxicity against CD19(+) leukemia and lymphoma cell lines, as well as against CD19 transfectants, and produced high-levels of antigen-dependent Th1 (but not Th2) cytokines. The in vivo adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T cells significantly reduced tumor growth and prolonged the survival of the animal. Taken together, these data indicate that T cells from PB and UCB can be stably modified using a non-viral DNA transfer system, and that such modified T cells may be useful in the treatment of refractory leukemia and lymphoma.