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Inducible localized delivery of an anti-PD-1 scFv enhances anti-tumor activity of ROR1 CAR-T cells in TNBC

Harrasser, Micaela; Gohil, Satyen Harish; Lau, Hiu; Della Peruta, Marco; Muczynski, Vincent; Patel, Dominic; Miranda, Elena; ... Nathwani, Amit Chunilal; + view all (2022) Inducible localized delivery of an anti-PD-1 scFv enhances anti-tumor activity of ROR1 CAR-T cells in TNBC. Breast Cancer Research , 24 (1) , Article 39. 10.1186/s13058-022-01531-1. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells can induce powerful immune responses in patients with hematological malignancies but have had limited success against solid tumors. This is in part due to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) which limits the activity of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) including CAR-T cells. We have developed a next-generation armored CAR (F i-CAR) targeting receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1), which is expressed at high levels in a range of aggressive tumors including poorly prognostic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The F i-CAR-T is designed to release an anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor upon CAR-T cell activation within the TME, facilitating activation of CAR-T cells and TILs while limiting toxicity. METHODS: To bolster potency, we developed a F i-CAR construct capable of IL-2-mediated, NFAT-induced secretion of anti-PD-1 single-chain variable fragments (scFv) within the tumor microenvironment, following ROR1-mediated activation. Cytotoxic responses against TNBC cell lines as well as levels and binding functionality of released payload were analyzed in vitro by ELISA and flow cytometry. In vivo assessment of potency of F i-CAR-T cells was performed in a TNBC NSG mouse model. RESULTS: F i-CAR-T cells released measurable levels of anti-PD-1 payload with 5 h of binding to ROR1 on tumor and enhanced the cytotoxic effects at challenging 1:10 E:T ratios. Treatment of established PDL1 + TNBC xenograft model with F i-CAR-T cells resulted in significant abrogation in tumor growth and improved survival of mice (71 days), compared to non-armored CAR cells targeting ROR1 (F CAR-T) alone (49 days) or in combination with systemically administered anti-PD-1 antibody (57 days). Crucially, a threefold increase in tumor-infiltrating T cells was observed with F i-CAR-T cells and was associated with increased expression of genes related to cytotoxicity, migration and proliferation. CONCLUSIONS: Our next-generation of ROR1-targeting inducible armored CAR platform enables the release of an immune stimulating payload only in the presence of target tumor cells, enhancing the therapeutic activity of the CAR-T cells. This technology provided a significant survival advantage in TNBC xenograft models. This coupled with its potential safety attributes merits further clinical evaluation of this approach in TNBC patients.

Type: Article
Title: Inducible localized delivery of an anti-PD-1 scFv enhances anti-tumor activity of ROR1 CAR-T cells in TNBC
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13058-022-01531-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13058-022-01531-1
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: CAR-T cell therapy, Checkpoint blockade, F i-CAR-T cell, Inducible secretion, PD-1, ROR1, Single-chain variable fragment (scFv), Solid tumors, TNBC, Animals, Cell Line, Tumor, Humans, Mice, Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors, Receptors, Chimeric Antigen, Single-Chain Antibodies, T-Lymphocytes, Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms, Tumor Microenvironment
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Haematology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Oncology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150216
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