T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) against B cell antigens are being investigated as cellular immunotherapies. Similar approaches designed to target T cell malignancies have been hampered by the critical issue of T-on-T cytotoxicity, whereby fratricide or self-destruction of healthy T cells prohibits cell product manufacture. To date, there have been no reports of T cells engineered to target the definitive T cell marker, CD3 (3CAR). Recent improvements in gene editing now provide access to efficient disruption of such molecules on T cells, and this has provided a route to generation of 3CAR, CD3-specific CAR T cells. T cells were transduced with a lentiviral vector incorporating an anti-CD3ε CAR derived from OKT3, either before or after TALEN-mediated disruption of the endogenous TCRαβ/CD3 complex. Only transduction after disrupting assembly of TCRαβ/CD3 yielded viable 3CAR T cells, and these cultures were found to undergo self-enrichment for 3CAR+TCR–CD3– T cells without any further processing. Specific cytotoxicity against CD3ε was demonstrated against primary T cells and against childhood T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). 3CAR T cells mediated potent antileukemic effects in a human/murine chimeric model, supporting the application of cellular immunotherapy strategies against T cell malignancies. 3CAR provides a bridging strategy to achieve T cell eradication and leukemic remission ahead of conditioned allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
Jane Rasaiyaah, Christos Georgiadis, Roland Preece, Ulrike Mock, Waseem Qasim
Successful generation of 3CAR requires disruption of CD3ε expression prior to lentiviral 3CAR transduction.