Improvement of adoptive T-cell therapy for Cancer
Abstract: Cancer immunotherapy has recently made remarkable clinical progress. Adoptive transfer of T-cells engineered with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) against CD19 has been successful in treatment of B-cell leukemia. Patient’s T-cells are isolated, activated, transduced with a vector encoding the CAR molecule and then expanded before being transferred back to the patient. However some obstacles restrict its success in solid tumors. This thesis explores different aspects to improve CAR T-cells therapy of cancer.Ex vivo expanded T-cells are usually sensitive to the harsh tumor microenvironment after reinfusion. We developed a novel expansion method for T-cells, named AEP, by using irradiated and preactivated allo-sensitized allogeneic lymphocytes (ASALs) and allogeneic mature dendritic cells (DCs). AEP-expanded T-cells exhibited better survival and cytotoxic efficacy under oxidative and immunosuppressive stress, compared to T-cells expanded with established procedures.Integrating retro/lentivirus (RV/LV) used for CAR expressions randomly integrate in the T-cell genome and has the potential risk of causing insertional mutagenesis. We developed a non-integrating lentiviral (NILV) vector containing a scaffold matrix attachment region (S/MAR) element (NILV-S/MAR) for T-cells transduction. NILV-S/MAR-engineered CAR T-cells display similar cytotoxicity to LV-engineered CAR T-cells with undetectable level of insertional event, which makes them safer than CAR T-cells used in the clinic today.CD19-CAR T-cells have so far been successful for B-cell leukemia but less successful for B-cell lymphomas, which present semi-solid structure with an immunosuppressive microenvironment. We have developed CAR T-cells armed with H. pylorineutrophil-activating protein (HP-NAP). HP-NAP is a major virulence factor and plays important role in T-helper type 1 (Th1) polarizing. NAP-CAR T-cells showed the ability to mature DCs, attract innate immune cells and increase secretion of Th1 cytokines and chemokines, which presumably leads to better CAR T-cell therapy for B-cell lymphoma.Allogeneic-DCs (alloDCs) were used to further alter tumor microenvironment. The premise relies on initiation of an allo-reactive immune response for cytokine and chemokines secretion, as well as stimulation of T-cell response by bringing in tumor-associated antigen. We demonstrated that alloDCs promote migration and activation of immune cells and prolong the survival of tumor-bearing mice by attracting T-cells to tumors and reverse the immune suppressive tumor microenvironment.
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