Targeting T cell malignancies with universal CD7-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T cells (UCART7) can lead to profound immune deficiency due to loss of normal T and NK cells. While a small population of endogenous CD7– T cells exists, these cells are unlikely to be able to repopulate the entire immune repertoire after UCART7 treatment, as they are limited in number and proliferative capacity. To rescue T and NK cells after UCART7, we created hematopoietic stem cells genetically deleted for CD7 (CD7-KO HSCs). CD7-KO HSCs were able to engraft immunodeficient mice and differentiate into T and NK cells lacking CD7 expression. CD7-KO T and NK cells could perform effector functions as robustly as control T and NK cells. Furthermore, CD7-KO T cells were phenotypically and functionally distinct from endogenous CD7– T cells, indicating that CD7-KO T cells can supplement immune functions lacking in CD7– T cells. Mice engrafted with CD7-KO HSCs maintained T and NK cell numbers after UCART7 treatment, while these were significantly decreased in control mice. These studies support the development of CD7-KO HSCs to augment host immunity in patients with T cell malignancies after UCART7 treatment.


Miriam Y. Kim, Matthew L. Cooper, Miriam T. Jacobs, Julie K. Ritchey, Julia Hollaway, Todd A. Fehniger, John F. DiPersio


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