ARTICLE ABSTRACTGenetically engineered T cells are powerful anticancer treatments but are limited by safety and specificity issues. We herein describe an MHC-unrestricted modular platform combining autologous T cells, transduced with a targetable synthetic agonistic receptor (SAR), with bispecific antibodies (BiAb) that specifically recruit and activate T cells for tumor killing.
BiAbs of different formats were generated by recombinant expression. T cells were retrovirally transduced with SARs. T-cell activation, proliferation, differentiation, and T-cell–induced lysis were characterized in three murine and human tumor models in vitro and in vivo.
Murine T cells transduced with SAR composed of an extracellular domain EGFRvIII fused to CD28 and CD3ζ signaling domains could be specifically recruited toward murine tumor cells expressing EpCAM by anti-EGFRvIII × anti-EpCAM BiAb. BiAb induced selective antigen-dependent activation, proliferation of SAR T cells, and redirected tumor cell lysis. Selectivity was dependent on the monovalency of the antibody for EGFRvIII. We identified FAS ligand as a major mediator of killing utilized by the T cells. Similarly, human SAR T cells could be specifically redirected toward mesothelin-expressing human pancreatic cancer cells. In vivo, treatment with SAR T cells and BiAb mediated antitumoral activity in three human pancreatic cancer cell xenograft models. Importantly, SAR activity, unlike CAR activity, was reversible in vitro and in vivo.
We describe a novel ACT platform with antitumor activity in murine and human tumor models with a distinct mode of action that combines adoptive T-cell therapy with bispecific antibodies.