Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies have achieved promising outcomes in several cancers, however more challenging oncology indications may necessitate advanced antigen receptor designs and functions. Here we describe a bipartite receptor system comprised of separate antigen targeting and signal transduction polypeptides, each containing an extracellular dimerization domain. We demonstrate that T cell activation remains antigen dependent but can only be achieved in the presence of a dimerizing drug, rapamycin. Studies performed in vitro and in xenograft mouse models illustrate equivalent to superior anti-tumor potency compared to currently used CAR designs, and at rapamycin concentrations well below immunosuppressive levels. We further show that the extracellular positioning of the dimerization domains enables the administration of recombinant re-targeting modules, potentially extending antigen targeting. Overall, this novel regulatable CAR design has exquisite drug sensitivity, provides robust anti-tumor responses, and is uniquely flexible for multiplex antigen targeting or retargeting, which may further assist the development of safe, potent and durable T cell therapeutics.
Wai-Hang Leung, Joel Gay, Unja Martin, Tracy E. Garrett, Holly M. Horton, Michael T. Certo, Bruce R. Blazar, Richard A. Morgan, Philip D. Gregory, Jordan Jarjour, Alexander Astrakhan
Enchondroma and chondrosarcoma are the most common benign and malignant cartilaginous neoplasms. Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1/2) are present in the majority of these tumors. We performed RNA-seq analysis on chondrocytes from Col2a1Cre;Idh1LSL/+ animals and found that genes implied in cholesterol synthesis pathway were significantly upregulated in the mutant chondrocytes. We examined the phenotypic effect of inhibiting intracellular cholesterol biosynthesis on enchondroma formation by conditionally deleting SCAP (sterol regulatory element-binding protein cleavage-activating protein), a protein activating intracellular cholesterol synthesis, in IDH1 mutant mice. We found fewer enchondromas in animals lacking SCAP. Furthermore, in chondrosarcomas, pharmacological inhibition of intracellular cholesterol synthesis significantly reduced chondrosarcoma cell viability in vitro and suppressed tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest that intracellular cholesterol synthesis is a potential therapeutic target for enchondromas and chondrosarcomas.
Hongyuan Zhang, Qingxia Wei, Hidetoshi Tsushima, Vijitha Puviindran, Yuning J. Tang, Sinthu Pathmanapan, Raymond Poon, Eyal Ramu, Mushriq Al-Jazrawe, Jay S. Wunder, Benjamin A. Alman
Preneoplastic lesions carry many of the antigenic targets found in cancer cells but often exhibit prolonged dormancy. Understanding how the host response to premalignancy is maintained and altered during malignant transformation is needed to prevent cancer. In order to understand the immune microenvironment in precursor monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and myeloma, we analyzed bone marrow immune cells from 12 healthy donors and 26 MGUS/myeloma patients by mass cytometry and concurrently profiled transcriptomes of 42,606 single immune cells from these bone marrows. Compared to age-matched healthy donors, memory T cells from both MGUS and myeloma patients exhibit greater terminal-effector differentiation. However, memory T cells in MGUS show greater enrichment of stem-like TCF1/7hi cells. Clusters of T cells with stem-like and tissue-residence genes were also found to be enriched in MGUS by single-cell transcriptome analysis. Early changes in both NK and myeloid cells were also observed in MGUS. Enrichment of stem-like T cells correlated with a distinct genomic profile of myeloid cells and levels of Dickkopf-1 in bone-marrow plasma. These data describe the landscape of changes in both innate and adaptive immunity in premalignancy and suggest that attrition of the bone-marrow-resident T cell compartment due to loss of stem-like cells may underlie loss of immune surveillance in myeloma.
Jithendra Kini Bailur, Samuel S. McCachren, Deon B. Doxie, Mahesh Shrestha, Katherine E. Pendleton, Ajay K. Nooka, Natalia Neparidze, Terri L. Parker, Noffar Bar, Jonathan L. Kaufman, Craig C. Hofmeister, Lawrence H. Boise, Sagar Lonial, Melissa L. Kemp, Kavita M. Dhodapkar, Madhav V. Dhodapkar
Induction of a potent CD4 and CD8 T-cell response against tumor-specific and tumor-associated antigen is critical for eliminating tumor cells. Recent vaccination strategies have been hampered by an inefficacious and low amplitude immune response. Here we describe a self-adjuvanted chimeric protein vaccine platform to address these challenges, characterized by a multidomain construction incorporating (i) a cell penetrating peptide (CPP) allowing internalization of several multiantigenic Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)-restricted peptides within (ii) the multiantigenic domain (Mad) and (iii) a TLR2/4 agonist domain (TLRag). Functionality of the resulting chimeric protein is based on the combined effect of the above-mentioned three different domains for simultaneous activation of antigen presenting cells and antigen cross-presentation, leading to an efficacious multiantigenic and multiallelic cellular immune response. Helper and cytotoxic T-cell responses were observed against model-, neo- and self-antigens, and were highly potent in several murine tumor models. The safety and the immunogenicity of a human vaccine candidate designed for colorectal cancer treatment was demonstrated in a non-human primate model. This newly engineered therapeutic vaccine approach is promising for the treatment of poorly infiltrated tumors that do not respond to currently marketed immunotherapies.
Elodie Belnoue, Jean-François Mayol, Susanna Carboni, Wilma Di Berardino Besson, Eloise Dupuychaffray, Annika Nelde, Stefan Stevanovic, Marie-Laure Santiago-Raber, Paul R. Walker, Madiha Derouazi
Gain of the long arm of chromosome 17 (17q) is a cytogenetic hallmark of high-risk neuroblastoma, yet its contribution to neuroblastoma pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. Combining whole-genome and RNA sequencing of neuroblastomas, we identified the prohibitin (PHB) gene as highly expressed in tumors with 17q gain. High PHB expression correlated with poor prognosis and was associated with loss of gene expression programs promoting neuronal development and differentiation. PHB depletion induced differentiation and apoptosis and slowed cell cycle progression of neuroblastoma cells, at least in part through impaired ERK1/2 activation. Conversely, ectopic expression of PHB was sufficient to increase proliferation of neuroblastoma cells and was associated with suppression of markers associated with neuronal differentiation and favorable neuroblastoma outcome. Thus, PHB is a 17q oncogene in neuroblastoma that promotes tumor cell proliferation, and de-differentiation.
Ian C. MacArthur, Yi Bei, Heathcliff Dorado García, Michael V. Ortiz, Joern Toedling, Filippos Klironomos, Jana Rolff, Angelika Eggert, Johannes H. Schulte, Alex Kentsis, Anton G. Henssen
Specific antibody therapy, including mAbs and bispecific T cell engagers (BiTEs), are important new tools for cancer immunotherapy. However, these approaches are slow to develop and may be limited in their production, thus restricting the patients who can access these treatments. BiTEs exhibit a particularly short half-life and difficult production. The development of an approach allowing simplified development, delivery, and in vivo production would be an important advance. Here we describe the development of a designed synthetic DNA plasmid, which we optimized to permit high expression of an anti-HER2 antibody (HER2dMAb) and delivered it into animals through adaptive electroporation. HER2dMAb was efficiently expressed in vitro and in vivo, reaching levels of 50 μg/ml in mouse sera. Mechanistically, HER2dMAb blocked HER2 signaling and induced antibody-dependent cytotoxicity. HER2dMAb delayed tumor progression for HER2-expressing ovarian and breast cancer models. We next used the HER2dMAb single-chain variable fragment portion to engineer a DNA-encoded BiTE (DBiTE). This HER2DBiTE was expressed in vivo for approximately 4 months after a single administration. The HER2DBiTE was highly cytolytic and delayed cancer progression in mice. These studies illustrate an approach to generate DBiTEs in vivo, which represent promising immunotherapies for HER2+ tumors, including ovarian and potentially other cancers.
Alfredo Perales-Puchalt, Elizabeth K. Duperret, Xue Yang, Patricia Hernandez, Krzysztof Wojtak, Xizhou Zhu, Seang-Hwan Jung, Edgar Tello-Ruiz, Megan C. Wise, Luis J. Montaner, Kar Muthumani, David B. Weiner
Breast cancer bone metastases often cause a debilitating non-curable condition with osteolytic lesions, muscle weakness and a high mortality. Current treatment comprises chemotherapy, irradiation, surgery and anti-resorptive drugs that restrict but do not revert bone destruction. In metastatic breast cancer cells, we determined the expression of sclerostin, a soluble Wnt inhibitor that represses osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. In mice with breast cancer bone metastases, pharmacological inhibition of sclerostin using an anti-sclerostin antibody (Scl-Ab) reduced metastases without tumor cell dissemination to other distant sites. Sclerostin inhibition prevented the cancer-induced bone destruction by augmenting osteoblast-mediated bone formation and reducing osteoclast-dependent bone resorption. During advanced disease, NF-κB and p38 signaling was increased in muscles in a TGF-β1-dependent manner, causing muscle fiber atrophy, muscle weakness and tissue regeneration with an increase in Pax7-positive satellite cells. Scl-Ab treatment restored NF-κB and p38 signaling, the abundance of Pax7-positive cells and ultimately muscle function. These effects improved the overall health condition and expanded the life span of cancer-bearing mice. Together, these results demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of sclerostin reduces bone metastatic burden and muscle weakness with a prolongation of the survival time. This might provide novel options for treating musculoskeletal complications in breast cancer patients.
Eric Hesse, Saskia Schröder, Diana Brandt, Jenny Pamperin, Hiroaki Saito, Hanna Taipaleenmäki
Recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) into tumors induces local immunosuppression in carcinomas. Here, we assessed whether SX-682, an orally bioavailable small-molecule inhibitor of CXCR1 and CXCR2, could block tumor MDSC recruitment and enhance T cell activation and antitumor immunity following multiple forms of immunotherapy. CXCR2+ neutrophilic MDSCs (PMN-MDSCs) were the most abundant myeloid cell subset within oral and lung syngeneic carcinomas. PMN-MDSCs demonstrated greater suppression of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte killing of targets compared with macrophages. SX-682 significantly inhibited trafficking of PMN-MDSCs without altering CXCR2 ligand expression. Trafficking of CXCR1+ macrophages was unaltered, possibly due to coexpression of CSF1R. Reduced PMN-MDSC tumor infiltration correlated with enhanced accumulation of endogenous or adoptively transferred T cells. Accordingly, tumor growth inhibition or the rate of established tumor rejection following programed death–axis (PD-axis) immune checkpoint blockade or adoptive cell transfer of engineered T cells was enhanced in combination with SX-682. Despite CXCR1/2 expression on tumor cells, SX-682 appeared to have little direct antitumor effect on these carcinoma models. These data suggest that tumor-infiltrating CXCR2+ PMN-MDSCs may prevent optimal responses following both PD-axis immune checkpoint blockade and adoptive T cell transfer therapy. Abrogation of PMN-MDSC trafficking with SX-682 enhances T cell–based immunotherapeutic efficacy and may be of benefit to patients with MDSC-infiltrated cancers.
Lillian Sun, Paul E. Clavijo, Yvette Robbins, Priya Patel, Jay Friedman, Sarah Greene, Rita Das, Chris Silvin, Carter Van Waes, Lucas A. Horn, Jeffrey Schlom, Claudia Palena, Dean Maeda, John Zebala, Clint T. Allen
Hypoxic tumor niches are chief causes of treatment resistance and tumor recurrence. Sickle erythrocytes’ (SSRBCs’) intrinsic oxygen-sensing functionality empowers them to access such hypoxic niches wherein they form microaggregates that induce focal vessel closure. In search of measures to augment the scale of SSRBC-mediated tumor vaso-occlusion, we turned to the vascular disrupting agent, combretastatin A-4 (CA-4). CA-4 induces selective tumor endothelial injury, blood stasis, and hypoxia but fails to eliminate peripheral tumor foci. In this article, we show that introducing deoxygenated SSRBCs into tumor microvessels treated with CA-4 and sublethal radiation (SR) produces a massive surge of tumor vaso-occlusion and broadly propagated tumor infarctions that engulfs treatment-resistant hypoxic niches and eradicates established lung tumors. Tumor regression was histologically corroborated by significant treatment effect. Treated tumors displayed disseminated microvessels occluded by tightly packed SSRBCs along with widely distributed pimidazole-positive hypoxic tumor cells. Humanized HbS-knockin mice (SSKI) but not HbA-knockin mice (AAKI) showed a similar treatment response underscoring SSRBCs as the paramount tumoricidal effectors. Thus, CA-4-SR–remodeled tumor vessels license SSRBCs to produce an unprecedented surge of tumor vaso-occlusion and infarction that envelops treatment-resistant tumor niches resulting in complete tumor regression. Strategically deployed, these innovative tools constitute a major conceptual advance with compelling translational potential.
Chiao-Wang Sun, Li-Chen Wu, Mamta Wankhede, Dezhi Wang, Jutta Thoerner, Lawrence Woody, Brian S. Sorg, Tim M. Townes, David S. Terman
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is characterized by an activating mutation in KRAS. Direct inhibition of KRAS through pharmacological means remains a challenge; however, targeting key KRAS effectors has therapeutic potential. We investigated the contribution of TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1), a critical downstream effector of mutant active KRAS, to PDA progression. We report that TBK1 supports the growth and metastasis of KRAS-mutant PDA by driving an epithelial plasticity program in tumor cells that enhances invasive and metastatic capacity. Further, we identify that the receptor tyrosine kinase Axl induces TBK1 activity in a Ras-RalB-dependent manner. These findings demonstrate that TBK1 is central to an Axl-driven epithelial-mesenchymal transition in KRAS-mutant PDA and suggest that interruption of the Axl-TBK1 signaling cascade above or below KRAS has potential therapeutic efficacy in this recalcitrant disease.
Victoria H. Cruz, Emily N. Arner, Wenting Du, Alberto E. Bremauntz, Rolf A. Brekken
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