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  • 1
    Abstract: Pre-emptive cancer immunotherapy by donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) using cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells may be beneficial to prevent relapse with a reduced risk of causing graft-versus-host-disease. CIK cells are a heterogeneous effector cell population including T cells (CD3(+) CD56(-) ), natural killer (NK) cells (CD3(-) CD56(+) ) and natural killer T (T-NK) cells (CD3(+) CD56(+) ) that exhibit non-major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted cytotoxicity and are generated by ex vivo expansion of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the presence of interferon (IFN)-gamma, anti-CD3 antibody, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interleukin-15 (IL-15). To facilitate selective target-cell recognition and enhance specific cytotoxicity against B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), we transduced CIK cells with a lentiviral vector encoding a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that carries a composite CD28-CD3zeta domain for signaling and a CD19-specific scFv antibody fragment for cell binding (CAR 63.28.z). In vitro analysis revealed high and specific cell killing activity of CD19-targeted CIK/63.28.z cells against otherwise CIK-resistant cancer cell lines and primary B-ALL blasts, which was dependent on CD19 expression and CAR signaling. In a xenograft model in immunodeficient mice, treatment with CIK/63.28.z cells in contrast to therapy with unmodified CIK cells resulted in complete and durable molecular remissions of established primary pre-B-ALL. Our results demonstrate potent antileukemic activity of CAR-engineered CIK cells in vitro and in vivo, and suggest this strategy as a promising approach for adoptive immunotherapy of refractory pre-B-ALL.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27253354
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  • 2
    Abstract: BACKGROUND AIMS: Natural killer (NK) cells can rapidly respond to transformed and stressed cells and represent an important effector cell type for adoptive immunotherapy. In addition to donor-derived primary NK cells, continuously expanding cytotoxic cell lines such as NK-92 are being developed for clinical applications. METHODS: To enhance their therapeutic utility for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, we engineered NK-92 cells by lentiviral gene transfer to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that target CD19 and contain human CD3zeta (CAR 63.z), composite CD28-CD3zeta or CD137-CD3zeta signaling domains (CARs 63.28.z and 63.137.z). RESULTS: Exposure of CD19-positive targets to CAR NK-92 cells resulted in formation of conjugates between NK and cancer cells, NK-cell degranulation and selective cytotoxicity toward established B-cell leukemia and lymphoma cells. Likewise, the CAR NK cells displayed targeted cell killing of primary pre-B-ALL blasts that were resistant to parental NK-92. Although all three CAR NK-92 cell variants were functionally active, NK-92/63.137.z cells were less effective than NK-92/63.z and NK-92/63.28.z in cell killing and cytokine production, pointing to differential effects of the costimulatory CD28 and CD137 domains. In a Raji B-cell lymphoma model in NOD-SCID IL2R gammanull mice, treatment with NK-92/63.z cells, but not parental NK-92 cells, inhibited disease progression, indicating that selective cytotoxicity was retained in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that it is feasible to generate CAR-engineered NK-92 cells with potent and selective antitumor activity. These cells may become clinically useful as a continuously expandable off-the-shelf cell therapeutic agent.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27887866
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