Publications by authors named "Crystal L Mackall"

158 Publications

Tisagenlecleucel Outcomes in Relapsed/Refractory Extramedullary ALL: A Pediatric Real World CAR Consortium Report.

Blood Adv 2021 Nov 18. Epub 2021 Nov 18.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, United States.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells have transformed the therapeutic options for relapsed/refractory (R/R) B-cell ALL. Data for CAR therapy in extramedullary (EM) involvement is limited. Retrospective data was abstracted from the Pediatric Real World CAR Consortium (PRWCC) of 184 infused patients from 15 US institutions. Response (CR) rate, overall survival (OS), relapse-free survival (RFS), and duration of B-cell aplasia (BCA) in patients referred for tisagenlecleucel with EM disease (both CNS3 and non-CNS EM) were compared to bone marrow (BM) only. Patients with CNS disease were further stratified for comparison. Outcomes are reported on 55 patients with EM disease prior to CAR (n=40 CNS3; n=15 non-CNS EM). The median age at infusion in CNS cohort was 10 years (range <1-25) and the non-CNS EM cohort was 13 years (2-26). In patients with CNS disease, 88% (35/40) achieved a CR, versus only 66% (10/15) with non-CNS EM disease. Patients with CNS disease (both with and without marrow involvement) had comparable 24-month OS outcomes to non-CNS EM or BM only (p=0.41). There was no difference in 12-month RFS between CNS, non-CNS EM, or BM only patients (p=0.92). No increased toxicity was seen with CNS or non-CNS EM disease (p=0.3). Active CNS disease at time of infusion did not impact outcomes. Isolated (iCNS) disease trended towards improved OS when compared to combined CNS and BM (p=0.12). R/R EM disease can be effectively treated with tisagenlecleucel with toxicity, relapse rates and survival rates comparable to patients with BM only. Outcomes for iCNS relapse are encouraging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005564DOI Listing
November 2021

Optimal fludarabine lymphodepletion is associated with improved outcomes following CAR T-cell Therapy.

Blood Adv 2021 Nov 17. Epub 2021 Nov 17.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells provide a therapeutic option in hematologic malignancies. However, treatment failure after initial response approaches 50%. In allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, optimal fludarabine exposure improves immune reconstitution, resulting in lower nonrelapse mortality and increased survival. We hypothesized that optimal fludarabine exposure in lymphodepleting chemotherapy prior to CAR T-cell therapy would improve outcomes. In a retrospective analysis of relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients undergoing CAR T-cell (tisagenlecleucel) infusion after cyclophosphamide/fludarabine lymphodepleting chemotherapy, we estimated the fludarabine exposure as area-under-the-curve (AUC;mg*hr/L) using a validated population-pharmacokinetic model. Fludarabine exposure was related to overall survival (OS), cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR), and a composite endpoint (loss of B-cell aplasia (BCA) or relapse). Eligible patients (n=152) had a median age of 12.5 years (range <1-26), response rate of 86% (131/152), 12-month OS of 75.1% (95%-CI: 67.6-82.6%), and 12-month CIR of 36.4% (95%-CI: 27.5-45.2%). Optimal fludarabine-exposure was determined as an AUC≥13.8mg*hr/L. In multivariable analyses patients with an AUC<13.8mg*hr/L had a 2.5-fold higher CIR (HR=2.45 [1.34-4.48]; P=0.005) and a twofold higher risk of relapse or loss of BCA (HR=1.96 [1.19-3.23]; P=0.01) compared to those with optimal fludarabine exposure. High preinfusion disease burden was also associated with an increased risk of relapse (HR=2.66 [1.45-4.87]; P=0.001) and death (HR=4.77 [2.10-10.9]; p<0.001). Personalized PK-directed dosing to achieve optimal fludarabine exposure should be tested in prospective trials and based on this analysis may reduce disease relapse after CAR T-cell therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021006418DOI Listing
November 2021

NOT-Gated CD93 CAR T Cells Effectively Target AML with Minimized Endothelial Cross-Reactivity.

Blood Cancer Discov 2021 Nov 16;2(6):648-665. Epub 2021 Sep 16.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells hold promise for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but optimal targets remain to be defined. We demonstrate that CD93 CAR T cells engineered from a novel humanized CD93-specific binder potently kill AML and but spare hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC). No toxicity is seen in murine models, but CD93 is expressed on human endothelial cells, and CD93 CAR T cells recognize and kill endothelial cell lines. We identify other AML CAR T-cell targets with overlapping expression on endothelial cells, especially in the context of proinflammatory cytokines. To address the challenge of endothelial-specific cross-reactivity, we provide proof of concept for NOT-gated CD93 CAR T cells that circumvent endothelial cell toxicity in a relevant model system. We also identify candidates for combinatorial targeting by profiling the transcriptome of AML and endothelial cells at baseline and after exposure to proinflammatory cytokines.

Significance: CD93 CAR T cells eliminate AML and spare HSPCs but exert on-target, off-tumor toxicity to endothelial cells. We show coexpression of other AML targets on endothelial cells, introduce a novel NOT-gated strategy to mitigate endothelial toxicity, and demonstrate use of high-dimensional transcriptomic profiling for rational design of combinatorial immunotherapies.. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2643-3230.BCD-20-0208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8580619PMC
November 2021

Factors Impacting Overall and Event-Free Survival following Post-Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Consolidative Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 20. Epub 2021 Oct 20.

Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Electronic address:

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) may be used to consolidate chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy-induced remissions for patients with relapsed/refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), but little is known about the factors impacting overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) for post-CAR hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The present study's primary objective was to identify factors associated with OS and EFS for consolidative HSCT following CAR-induced complete remission (CR) in transplantation-naïve patients. Secondary objectives included evaluation of OS/EFS, relapse-free survival and cumulative incidence of relapse for all patients who proceeded to HSCT, stratified by first and second HSCT, as well as the tolerability of HSCT following CAR-induced remission. This was a retrospective review of children and young adults enrolled on 1 of 3 CAR T cell trials at the National Cancer Institute targeting CD19, CD22, and CD19/22 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers NCT01593696, NCT02315612, and NCT03448393) who proceeded directly to HSCT following CAR T cell therapy. Between July 2012 and February 2021, 46 children and young adults with pre-B ALL went directly to HSCT following CAR therapy. Of these patients, 34 (74%) proceeded to a first HSCT, with a median follow-up of 50.8 months. Transplantation-naïve patients were heavily pretreated prior to CAR T cell therapy (median, 3.5 lines of therapy; range, 1 to 12) with significant prior immunotherapy exposure (blinatumomab, inotuzumab, and/or CAR T cell therapy) in patients receiving CD22 or CD19/22 constructs (88%; 15 of /17). Twelve patients (35%) had primary refractory disease, and the median time from CAR T cell infusion to HSCT was 54.5 days (range, 42 to 127 days). The median OS following first HSCT was 72.2 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.9 months to not estimable [NE]), with a median EFS of 36.9 months (95% CI, 5.2 months to NE). At 12 and 24 months, the OS was 76.0% (95% CI, 57.6% to 87.2%) and 60.7% (95% CI, 40.8% to 75.8%), respectively, and EFS was 64.6% (95% CI, 46.1% to 78.1%) and 50.9% (95% CI, 32.6% to 66.6%), respectively. The individual factors associated with both decreased OS and EFS in univariate analyses for postconsolidative HSCT in transplantation-naïve patients included ≥5 prior lines of therapy (not reached [NR] versus 12.4 months, P = .014; NR versus 4.8 months, P = .063), prior blinatumomab therapy (NR versus 16.9 months, P = .0038; NR versus 4.4 months, P = .0025), prior inotuzumab therapy (NR versus 11.5 months, P = .044; 36.9 months versus 2.7 months, P = .0054) and ≥5% blasts (M2/M3 marrow) pre-CAR T cell therapy (NR versus 17 months, P = .019; NR versus 12.2 months, P = .035). Primary refractory disease was associated with improved OS/EFS post-HSCT (NR versus 21.9 months, P = .075; NR versus 12.2 months, P = .024). Extensive prior therapy, particularly immunotherapy, and high disease burden each individually adversely impacted OS/EFS following post-CAR T cell therapy consolidative HSCT in transplantation-naïve patients, owing primarily to relapse. Despite this, HSCT remains an important treatment modality in long-term cure. Earlier implementation of HSCT before multiply relapsed disease and incorporation of post-HSCT risk mitigation strategies in patients identified to be at high-risk of post-HSCT relapse may improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.10.011DOI Listing
October 2021

Gene editing to enhance the efficacy of cancer cell therapies.

Mol Ther 2021 Nov 18;29(11):3153-3162. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Center for Cancer Cell Therapy, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, San Francisco, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Adoptive T cell therapies have shown impressive signals of activity, but their clinical impact could be enhanced by technologies to increase T cell potency and diminish the cost and labor involved in manufacturing these products. Gene editing platforms are under study in this arena to (1) enhance immune cell potency by knocking out molecules that inhibit immune responses; (2) deliver genetic payloads into precise genomic locations and thereby enhance safety and/or improve the gene expression profile by leveraging physiologic promoters, enhancers, and repressors; and (3) enable off-the-shelf therapies by preventing alloreactivity and immune rejection. This review discusses gene editing approaches that have been the best studied in the context of human T cells and adoptive T cell therapies, summarizing their current status and near-term potential for translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.10.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8571170PMC
November 2021

Infectious Complications of CAR T-Cell Therapy Across Novel Antigen Targets in the first 30 days.

Blood Adv 2021 Oct 7. Epub 2021 Oct 7.

Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, United States.

Infections are a known complication of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy with data largely emerging from CD19 CAR T-cell targeting. As CAR T-cell therapy continues to evolve, infection risks and management thereof will become increasingly important to optimize outcomes across the spectrum of antigens and disease targeted. We retrospectively characterized infectious complications occurring in 162 children and adults treated amongst five phase 1 CAR T-cell clinical trials. Trials included targeting of CD19, CD22, disialoganglioside (GD2) or B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). Fifty-three patients (32.7%) had 76 infections between lymphocyte depleting (LD) chemotherapy and day 30; with the majority (80.5%) occurring between day 0 (D0) and day 30 (D30). By trial, the highest proportion of infections was seen with CD22 CAR T-cells (n=23/53; 43.4%), followed by BCMA CAR T-cells(n=9/24; 37.5%). By disease, patients with multiple myeloma, had the highest proportion of infections (9 of 24, 37.5%) followed by acute lymphoblastic leukemia (36 of 102, 35.3%). Grade 4 infections were rare (n=4, 2.5%). Between D0 and D30, bacteremia and bacterial site infections were the most common infection type. In univariate analysis, increasing prior lines of therapy, recent infection within 100 days of LD chemotherapy, corticosteroid or tocilizumab use and fever and neutropenia (F&N) were associated with a higher risk of infection. In a multivariable analysis, only prior lines of therapy and recent infection were associated with higher risk of infection. In conclusion, we provide a broad overview of infection risk within the first 30 days post infusion across a host of multiple targets and diseases, elucidating both unique characteristics and commonalities highlighting aspects important to improving patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004896DOI Listing
October 2021

Allogeneic CAR Invariant Natural Killer T Cells Exert Potent Antitumor Effects through Host CD8 T-Cell Cross-Priming.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Nov 10;27(21):6054-6064. Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Purpose: The development of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for off-the-shelf use is a major goal that faces two main immunologic challenges, namely the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) induction by the transferred cells and the rejection by the host immune system limiting their persistence. In this work we assessed the direct and indirect antitumor effect of allogeneic CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, a cell population without GvHD-induction potential that displays immunomodulatory properties.

Experimental Design: After assessing murine CAR iNKT cells direct antitumor effects and , we employed an immunocompetent mouse model of B-cell lymphoma to assess the interaction between allogeneic CAR iNKT cells and endogenous immune cells.

Results: We demonstrate that allogeneic CAR iNKT cells exerted potent direct and indirect antitumor activity when administered across major MHC barriers by inducing tumor-specific antitumor immunity through host CD8 T-cell cross-priming.

Conclusions: In addition to their known direct cytotoxic effect, allogeneic CAR iNKT cells induce host CD8 T-cell antitumor responses, resulting in a potent antitumor effect lasting longer than the physical persistence of the allogeneic cells. The utilization of off-the-shelf allogeneic CAR iNKT cells could meet significant unmet needs in the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-1329DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8563377PMC
November 2021

CAR T cells with dual targeting of CD19 and CD22 in adult patients with recurrent or refractory B cell malignancies: a phase 1 trial.

Nat Med 2021 08 26;27(8):1419-1431. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Despite impressive progress, more than 50% of patients treated with CD19-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR19) experience progressive disease. Ten of 16 patients with large B cell lymphoma (LBCL) with progressive disease after CAR19 treatment had absent or low CD19. Lower surface CD19 density pretreatment was associated with progressive disease. To prevent relapse with CD19 or CD19 disease, we tested a bispecific CAR targeting CD19 and/or CD22 (CD19-22.BB.z-CAR) in a phase I clinical trial ( NCT03233854 ) of adults with relapsed/refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and LBCL. The primary end points were manufacturing feasibility and safety with a secondary efficacy end point. Primary end points were met; 97% of products met protocol-specified dose and no dose-limiting toxicities occurred during dose escalation. In B-ALL (n = 17), 100% of patients responded with 88% minimal residual disease-negative complete remission (CR); in LBCL (n = 21), 62% of patients responded with 29% CR. Relapses were CD19 in 50% (5 out of 10) of patients with B-ALL and 29% (4 out of 14) of patients with LBCL but were not associated with CD22 disease. CD19/22-CAR products demonstrated reduced cytokine production when stimulated with CD22 versus CD19. Our results further implicate antigen loss as a major cause of CAR T cell resistance, highlight the challenge of engineering multi-specific CAR T cells with equivalent potency across targets and identify cytokine production as an important quality indicator for CAR T cell potency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01436-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8363505PMC
August 2021

Dynamic chromatin regulatory landscape of human CAR T cell exhaustion.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 07;118(30)

Center for Personal Dynamic Regulomes, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305;

Dysfunction in T cells limits the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. We profiled the epigenome, transcriptome, and enhancer connectome of exhaustion-prone GD2-targeting HA-28z chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and control CD19-targeting CAR T cells, which present less exhaustion-inducing tonic signaling, at multiple points during their ex vivo expansion. We found widespread, dynamic changes in chromatin accessibility and three-dimensional (3D) chromosome conformation preceding changes in gene expression, notably at loci proximal to exhaustion-associated genes such as , , and , and increased DNA motif access for AP-1 family transcription factors, which are known to promote exhaustion. Although T cell exhaustion has been studied in detail in mice, we find that the regulatory networks of T cell exhaustion differ between species and involve distinct loci of accessible chromatin and cis-regulated target genes in human CAR T cell exhaustion. Deletion of exhaustion-specific candidate enhancers of suppress the expression of PD-1 in an in vitro model of T cell dysfunction and in HA-28z CAR T cells, suggesting enhancer editing as a path forward in improving cancer immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2104758118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8325267PMC
July 2021

A Fructo-Oligosaccharide Prebiotic Is Well Tolerated in Adults Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Phase I Dose-Escalation Trial.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Nov 16;27(11):932.e1-932.e11. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Department of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California; Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California. Electronic address:

Alterations of the gut microbiota after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) are a key factor in the development of transplant-related complications such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Interventions that preserve the gut microbiome hold promise to improve HCT-associated morbidity and mortality. Murine models demonstrate that prebiotics such as fructo-oligosaccharides (FOSs) may increase gut levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate and consequently induce proliferation of immunomodulatory FOXP3CD4 regulatory T cells (Tregs), which impact GVHD risk. We conducted a pilot phase I trial to investigate the maximum tolerated dose of FOS in patients undergoing reduced-intensity allo-HCT (n = 15) compared with concurrent controls (n = 16). We administered the FOS starting at pretransplant conditioning and continuing for a total of 21 days. We characterized the gut microbiome using shotgun metagenomic sequencing, measured stool short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and determined peripheral T cell concentrations using cytometry by time-of-flight. We found that FOS was safe and well-tolerated at 10 g/d without significant adverse effects in patients undergoing allo-HCT. Community-level gut microbiota composition differed significantly on the day of transplant (day 0) between patients receiving FOS and concurrent controls; however, FOS-associated alterations of the gut microbiota were not sustained after transplant. Although the impact of FOS was fleeting, transplantation itself impacted a substantial number of taxa over time. In our small pilot trial, no significant differences were observed in gut microbial metabolic pathways, stool SCFAs, or peripheral Tregs, although Tregs trended higher in those patients who received FOS. A marker of CD4 T cell activation (namely, CTLA4) was significantly higher in patients receiving FOS, whereas a non-significant trend existed for FOP3CD4 Treg cells, which were higher in those receiving FOS compared with controls. FOS is well tolerated at 10 g/d in patients undergoing reduced-intensity allo-HCT. Although the alterations in gut microbiota and peripheral immune cell composition in those receiving FOS are intriguing, additional studies are required to investigate the use of prebiotics in HCT recipients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.07.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8556222PMC
November 2021

The role of exhaustion in CAR T cell therapy.

Cancer Cell 2021 Jul;39(7):885-888

CAR T cell therapy successes are challenged by several mechanisms of resistance including the development of dysfunctional states such as exhaustion. The features of CAR T cell exhaustion, its role in limiting the efficacy of CAR T therapy in both liquid and solid malignancies, and potential strategies to overcome it are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2021.06.012DOI Listing
July 2021

Monitoring of Circulating Tumor DNA Improves Early Relapse Detection After Axicabtagene Ciloleucel Infusion in Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Results of a Prospective Multi-Institutional Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2021 09 16;39(27):3034-3043. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Division of Blood and Stem Cell Transplantation, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Purpose: Although the majority of patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma respond to axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel), only a minority of patients have durable remissions. This prospective multicenter study explored the prognostic value of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) before and after standard-of-care axi-cel for predicting patient outcomes.

Methods: Lymphoma-specific variable, diversity, and joining gene segments (VDJ) clonotype ctDNA sequences were frequently monitored via next-generation sequencing from the time of starting lymphodepleting chemotherapy until progression or 1 year after axi-cel infusion. We assessed the prognostic value of ctDNA to predict outcomes and axi-cel-related toxicity.

Results: A tumor clonotype was successfully detected in 69 of 72 (96%) enrolled patients. Higher pretreatment ctDNA concentrations were associated with progression after axi-cel infusion and developing cytokine release syndrome and/or immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome. Twenty-three of 33 (70%) durably responding patients versus 4 of 31 (13%) progressing patients demonstrated nondetectable ctDNA 1 week after axi-cel infusion ( < .0001). At day 28, patients with detectable ctDNA compared with those with undetectable ctDNA had a median progression-free survival and OS of 3 months versus not reached ( < .0001) and 19 months versus not reached ( = .0080), respectively. In patients with a radiographic partial response or stable disease on day 28, 1 of 10 patients with concurrently undetectable ctDNA relapsed; by contrast, 15 of 17 patients with concurrently detectable ctDNA relapsed ( = .0001). ctDNA was detected at or before radiographic relapse in 29 of 30 (94%) patients. All durably responding patients had undetectable ctDNA at or before 3 months after axi-cel infusion.

Conclusion: Noninvasive ctDNA assessments can risk stratify and predict outcomes of patients undergoing axi-cel for the treatment of large B-cell lymphoma. These results provide a rationale for designing ctDNA-based risk-adaptive chimeric antigen receptor T-cell clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00377DOI Listing
September 2021

Transient rest restores functionality in exhausted CAR-T cells through epigenetic remodeling.

Science 2021 04;372(6537)

Center for Cancer Cell Therapy, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

T cell exhaustion limits immune responses against cancer and is a major cause of resistance to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapeutics. Using murine xenograft models and an in vitro model wherein tonic CAR signaling induces hallmark features of exhaustion, we tested the effect of transient cessation of receptor signaling, or rest, on the development and maintenance of exhaustion. Induction of rest through enforced down-regulation of the CAR protein using a drug-regulatable system or treatment with the multikinase inhibitor dasatinib resulted in the acquisition of a memory-like phenotype, global transcriptional and epigenetic reprogramming, and restored antitumor functionality in exhausted CAR-T cells. This work demonstrates that rest can enhance CAR-T cell efficacy by preventing or reversing exhaustion, and it challenges the notion that exhaustion is an epigenetically fixed state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aba1786DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8049103PMC
April 2021

Long-Term Follow-Up of CD19-CAR T-Cell Therapy in Children and Young Adults With B-ALL.

J Clin Oncol 2021 05 25;39(15):1650-1659. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research (CCR), National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH, Bethesda, MD.

Purpose: CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CD19-CAR) T cells induce high response rates in children and young adults (CAYAs) with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), but relapse rates are high. The role for allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (alloHSCT) following CD19-CAR T-cell therapy to improve long-term outcomes in CAYAs has not been examined.

Methods: We conducted a phase I trial of autologous CD19.28ζ-CAR T cells in CAYAs with relapsed or refractory B-ALL. Response and long-term clinical outcomes were assessed in relation to disease and treatment variables.

Results: Fifty CAYAs with B-ALL were treated (median age, 13.5 years; range, 4.3-30.4). Thirty-one (62.0%) patients achieved a complete remission (CR), 28 (90.3%) of whom were minimal residual disease-negative by flow cytometry. Utilization of fludarabine/cyclophosphamide-based lymphodepletion was associated with improved CR rates (29/42, 69%) compared with non-fludarabine/cyclophosphamide-based lymphodepletion (2/8, 25%; = .041). With median follow-up of 4.8 years, median overall survival was 10.5 months (95% CI, 6.3 to 29.2 months). Twenty-one of 28 (75.0%) patients achieving a minimal residual disease-negative CR proceeded to alloHSCT. For those proceeding to alloHSCT, median overall survival was 70.2 months (95% CI, 10.4 months to not estimable). The cumulative incidence of relapse after alloHSCT was 9.5% (95% CI, 1.5 to 26.8) at 24 months; 5-year EFS following alloHSCT was 61.9% (95% CI, 38.1 to 78.8).

Conclusion: We provide the longest follow-up in CAYAs with B-ALL after CD19-CAR T-cell therapy reported to date and demonstrate that sequential therapy with CD19.28ζ-CAR T cells followed by alloHSCT can mediate durable disease control in a sizable fraction of CAYAs with relapsed or refractory B-ALL (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01593696).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02262DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8274806PMC
May 2021

Global analysis of shared T cell specificities in human non-small cell lung cancer enables HLA inference and antigen discovery.

Immunity 2021 03;54(3):586-602.e8

Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

To identify disease-relevant T cell receptors (TCRs) with shared antigen specificity, we analyzed 778,938 TCRβ chain sequences from 178 non-small cell lung cancer patients using the GLIPH2 (grouping of lymphocyte interactions with paratope hotspots 2) algorithm. We identified over 66,000 shared specificity groups, of which 435 were clonally expanded and enriched in tumors compared to adjacent lung. The antigenic epitopes of one such tumor-enriched specificity group were identified using a yeast peptide-HLA A02:01 display library. These included a peptide from the epithelial protein TMEM161A, which is overexpressed in tumors and cross-reactive epitopes from Epstein-Barr virus and E. coli. Our findings suggest that this cross-reactivity may underlie the presence of virus-specific T cells in tumor infiltrates and that pathogen cross-reactivity may be a feature of multiple cancers. The approach and analytical pipelines generated in this work, as well as the specificity groups defined here, present a resource for understanding the T cell response in cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2021.02.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960510PMC
March 2021

Immune reconstitution and infectious complications following axicabtagene ciloleucel therapy for large B-cell lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2021 01;5(1):143-155

Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy targeting CD19 has significantly improved outcomes in the treatment of refractory or relapsed large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL). We evaluated the long-term course of hematologic recovery, immune reconstitution, and infectious complications in 41 patients with LBCL treated with axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) at a single center. Grade 3+ cytopenias occurred in 97.6% of patients within the first 28 days postinfusion, with most resolved by 6 months. Overall, 63.4% of patients received a red blood cell transfusion, 34.1% of patients received a platelet transfusion, 36.6% of patients received IV immunoglobulin, and 51.2% of patients received growth factor (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) injections beyond the first 28 days postinfusion. Only 40% of patients had recovered detectable CD19+ B cells by 1 year, and 50% of patients had a CD4+ T-cell count <200 cells per μL by 18 months postinfusion. Patients with durable responses to axi-cel had significantly longer durations of B-cell aplasia, and this duration correlated strongly with the recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts. There were significantly more infections within the first 28 days compared with any other period of follow-up, with the majority being mild-moderate in severity. Receipt of corticosteroids was the only factor that predicted risk of infection in a multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 3.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-16.5). Opportunistic infections due to Pneumocystis jirovecii and varicella-zoster virus occurred up to 18 months postinfusion in patients who prematurely discontinued prophylaxis. These results support the use of comprehensive supportive care, including long-term monitoring and antimicrobial prophylaxis, beyond 12 months after axi-cel treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002732DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805341PMC
January 2021

CD22-directed CAR T-cell therapy induces complete remissions in CD19-directed CAR-refractory large B-cell lymphoma.

Blood 2021 04;137(17):2321-2325

Center for Cancer Cell Therapy, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

The prognosis of patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) that progresses after treatment with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy targeting CD19 (CAR19) is poor. We report on the first 3 consecutive patients with autologous CAR19-refractory LBCL who were treated with a single infusion of autologous 1 × 106 CAR+ T cells per kilogram targeting CD22 (CAR22) as part of a phase 1 dose-escalation study. CAR22 therapy was relatively well tolerated, without any observed nonhematologic adverse events higher than grade 2. After infusion, all 3 patients achieved complete remission, with all responses continuing at the time of last follow-up (mean, 7.8 months; range, 6-9.3). Circulating CAR22 cells demonstrated robust expansion (peak range, 85.4-350 cells per microliter), and persisted beyond 3 months in all patients with continued radiographic responses and corresponding decreases in circulating tumor DNA beyond 6 months after infusion. Further accrual at a higher dose level in this phase 1 dose-escalation study is ongoing and will explore the role of this therapy in patients in whom prior CAR T-cell therapies have failed. This trial is registered on clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT04088890.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020009432DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8085484PMC
April 2021

Frontiers in cancer immunotherapy-a symposium report.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2021 04 13;1489(1):30-47. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Center for Cancer Cell Therapy, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, California.

Cancer immunotherapy has dramatically changed the approach to cancer treatment. The aim of targeting the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells has afforded many patients the prospect of achieving deep, long-term remission and potential cures. However, many challenges remain for achieving the goal of effective immunotherapy for all cancer patients. Checkpoint inhibitors have been able to achieve long-term responses in a minority of patients, yet improving response rates with combination therapies increases the possibility of toxicity. Chimeric antigen receptor T cells have demonstrated high response rates in hematological cancers, although most patients experience relapse. In addition, some cancers are notoriously immunologically "cold" and typically are not effective targets for immunotherapy. Overcoming these obstacles will require new strategies to improve upon the efficacy of current agents, identify biomarkers to select appropriate therapies, and discover new modalities to expand the accessibility of immunotherapy to additional tumor types and patient populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14526DOI Listing
April 2021

Immune receptor inhibition through enforced phosphatase recruitment.

Nature 2020 10 21;586(7831):779-784. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Antibodies that antagonize extracellular receptor-ligand interactions are used as therapeutic agents for many diseases to inhibit signalling by cell-surface receptors. However, this approach does not directly prevent intracellular signalling, such as through tonic or sustained signalling after ligand engagement. Here we present an alternative approach for attenuating cell-surface receptor signalling, termed receptor inhibition by phosphatase recruitment (RIPR). This approach compels cis-ligation of cell-surface receptors containing ITAM, ITIM or ITSM tyrosine phosphorylation motifs to the promiscuous cell-surface phosphatase CD45, which results in the direct intracellular dephosphorylation of tyrosine residues on the receptor target. As an example, we found that tonic signalling by the programmed cell death-1 receptor (PD-1) results in residual suppression of T cell activation, but is not inhibited by ligand-antagonist antibodies. We engineered a PD-1 molecule, which we denote RIPR-PD1, that induces cross-linking of PD-1 to CD45 and inhibits both tonic and ligand-activated signalling. RIPR-PD1 demonstrated enhanced inhibition of checkpoint blockade compared with ligand blocking by anti-PD1 antibodies, and increased therapeutic efficacy over anti-PD1 in mouse tumour models. We also show that the RIPR strategy extends to other immune-receptor targets that contain activating or inhibitory ITIM, ITSM or ITAM motifs; for example, inhibition of the macrophage SIRPα 'don't eat me' signal with a SIRPα-CD45 RIPR molecule potentiates antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis beyond that of SIRPα blockade alone. RIPR represents a general strategy for direct attenuation of signalling by kinase-activated cell-surface receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2851-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875542PMC
October 2020

Molecular Imaging of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells by ICOS-ImmunoPET.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 02 21;27(4):1058-1068. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Purpose: Immunomonitoring of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells relies primarily on their quantification in the peripheral blood, which inadequately quantifies their biodistribution and activation status in the tissues. Noninvasive molecular imaging of CAR T cells by PET is a promising approach with the ability to provide spatial, temporal, and functional information. Reported strategies rely on the incorporation of reporter transgenes or biolabeling, significantly limiting the application of CAR T-cell molecular imaging. In this study, we assessed the ability of antibody-based PET (immunoPET) to noninvasively visualize CAR T cells.

Experimental Design: After analyzing human CAR T cells and from patient samples to identify candidate targets for immunoPET, we employed a syngeneic, orthotopic murine tumor model of lymphoma to assess the feasibility of tracking of CAR T cells by immunoPET using the Zr-DFO-anti-ICOS tracer, which we have previously reported.

Results: Analysis of human CD19-CAR T cells during activation identified the Inducible T-cell COStimulator (ICOS) as a potential target for immunoPET. In a preclinical tumor model, Zr-DFO-ICOS mAb PET-CT imaging detected significantly higher signal in specific bone marrow-containing skeletal sites of CAR T-cell-treated mice compared with controls. Importantly, administration of ICOS-targeting antibodies at tracer doses did not interfere with CAR T-cell persistence and function.

Conclusions: This study highlights the potential of ICOS-immunoPET imaging for monitoring of CAR T-cell therapy, a strategy readily applicable to both commercially available and investigational CAR T cells..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2770DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7887027PMC
February 2021

PET Reporter Gene Imaging and Ganciclovir-Mediated Ablation of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells in Solid Tumors.

Cancer Res 2020 11 21;80(21):4731-4740. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Imaging strategies to monitor chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell biodistribution and proliferation harbor the potential to facilitate clinical translation for the treatment of both liquid and solid tumors. In addition, the potential adverse effects of CAR T cells highlight the need for mechanisms to modulate CAR T-cell activity. The herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk) gene has previously been translated as a PET reporter gene for imaging of T-cell trafficking in patients with brain tumor. The HSV1-TK enzyme can act as a suicide gene of transduced cells through treatment with the prodrug ganciclovir. Here we report the molecular engineering, imaging, and ganciclovir-mediated destruction of B7H3 CAR T cells incorporating a mutated version of the HSV1-tk gene (sr39tk) with improved enzymatic activity for ganciclovir. The sr39tk gene did not affect B7H3 CAR T-cell functionality and and studies in osteosarcoma models showed no significant effect on B7H3 CAR T-cell antitumor activity. PET/CT imaging with 9-(4-[F]-fluoro-3-[hydroxymethyl]butyl)guanine ([F]FHBG) of B7H3-sr39tk CAR T cells in an orthotopic model of osteosarcoma revealed tumor homing and systemic immune expansion. Bioluminescence and PET imaging of B7H3-sr39tk CAR T cells confirmed complete tumor ablation with intraperitoneal ganciclovir administration. This imaging and suicide ablation system can provide insight into CAR T-cell migration and proliferation during clinical trials while serving as a suicide switch to limit potential toxicities. SIGNIFICANCE: This study showcases the only genetically engineered system capable of serving the dual role both as an effective PET imaging reporter and as a suicide switch for CAR T cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-3579DOI Listing
November 2020

Intravital imaging reveals synergistic effect of CAR T-cells and radiation therapy in a preclinical immunocompetent glioblastoma model.

Oncoimmunology 2020 05 13;9(1):1757360. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.

Recent advances in novel immune strategies, particularly chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-bearing T-cells, have shown limited efficacy against glioblastoma (GBM) in clinical trials. We currently have an incomplete understanding of how these emerging therapies integrate with the current standard of care, specifically radiation therapy (RT). Additionally, there is an insufficient number of preclinical studies monitoring these therapies with high spatiotemporal resolution. To address these limitations, we report the first longitudinal fluorescence-based intravital microscopy imaging of CAR T-cells within an orthotopic GBM preclinical model to illustrate the necessity of RT for complete therapeutic response. Additionally, we detail the first usage of murine-derived CAR T-cells targeting the disialoganglioside GD2 in an immunocompetent tumor model. Cell culture assays demonstrated substantial GD2 CAR T-cell-mediated killing of murine GBM cell lines SB28 and GL26 induced to overexpress GD2. Complete antitumor response in advanced syngeneic orthotopic models of GBM was achieved only when a single intravenous dose of GD2 CAR T-cells was following either sub-lethal whole-body irradiation or focal RT. Intravital microscopy imaging successfully visualized CAR T-cell homing and T-cell mediated apoptosis of tumor cells in real-time within the tumor stroma. Findings indicate that RT allows for rapid CAR T-cell extravasation from the vasculature and expansion within the tumor microenvironment, leading to a more robust and lasting immunologic response. These exciting results highlight potential opportunities to improve intravenous adoptive T-cell administration in the treatment of GBM through concurrent RT. Additionally, they emphasize the need for advancements in immunotherapeutic homing to and extravasation through the tumor microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2020.1757360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458609PMC
May 2020

Novel NanoLuc substrates enable bright two-population bioluminescence imaging in animals.

Nat Methods 2020 08 13;17(8):852-860. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Sensitive detection of two biological events in vivo has long been a goal in bioluminescence imaging. Antares, a fusion of the luciferase NanoLuc to the orange fluorescent protein CyOFP, has emerged as a bright bioluminescent reporter with orthogonal substrate specificity to firefly luciferase (FLuc) and its derivatives such as AkaLuc. However, the brightness of Antares in mice is limited by the poor solubility and bioavailability of the NanoLuc substrate furimazine. Here, we report a new substrate, hydrofurimazine, whose enhanced aqueous solubility allows delivery of higher doses to mice. In the liver, Antares with hydrofurimazine exhibited similar brightness to AkaLuc with its substrate AkaLumine. Further chemical exploration generated a second substrate, fluorofurimazine, with even higher brightness in vivo. We used Antares with fluorofurimazine to track tumor size and AkaLuc with AkaLumine to visualize CAR-T cells within the same mice, demonstrating the ability to perform two-population imaging with these two luciferase systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41592-020-0889-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Locoregionally administered B7-H3-targeted CAR T cells for treatment of atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors.

Nat Med 2020 05 27;26(5):712-719. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRTs) typically arise in the central nervous system (CNS) of children under 3 years of age. Despite intensive multimodal therapy (surgery, chemotherapy and, if age permits, radiotherapy), median survival is 17 months. We show that ATRTs robustly express B7-H3/CD276 that does not result from the inactivating mutations in SMARCB1 (refs. ), which drive oncogenesis in ATRT, but requires residual SWItch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable (SWI/SNF) activity mediated by BRG1/SMARCA4. Consistent with the embryonic origin of ATRT, B7-H3 is highly expressed on the prenatal, but not postnatal, brain. B7-H3.BB.z-chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells administered intracerebroventricularly or intratumorally mediate potent antitumor effects against cerebral ATRT xenografts in mice, with faster kinetics, greater potency and reduced systemic levels of inflammatory cytokines compared to CAR T cells administered intravenously. CAR T cells administered ICV also traffic from the CNS into the periphery; following clearance of ATRT xenografts, B7-H3.BB.z-CAR T cells administered intracerebroventricularly or intravenously mediate antigen-specific protection from tumor rechallenge, both in the brain and periphery. These results identify B7-H3 as a compelling therapeutic target for this largely incurable pediatric tumor and demonstrate important advantages of locoregional compared to systemic delivery of CAR T cells for the treatment of CNS malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0821-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7992505PMC
May 2020

CD4/CD8 T-Cell Selection Affects Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Potency and Toxicity: Updated Results From a Phase I Anti-CD22 CAR T-Cell Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2020 06 14;38(17):1938-1950. Epub 2020 Apr 14.

Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

Purpose: Patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia who experience relapse after or are resistant to CD19-targeted immunotherapies have limited treatment options. Targeting CD22, an alternative B-cell antigen, represents an alternate strategy. We report outcomes on the largest patient cohort treated with CD22 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a single-center, phase I, 3 + 3 dose-escalation trial with a large expansion cohort that tested CD22-targeted CAR T cells for children and young adults with relapsed/refractory CD22 malignancies. Primary objectives were to assess the safety, toxicity, and feasibility. Secondary objectives included efficacy, CD22 CAR T-cell persistence, and cytokine profiling.

Results: Fifty-eight participants were infused; 51 (87.9%) after prior CD19-targeted therapy. Cytokine release syndrome occurred in 50 participants (86.2%) and was grade 1-2 in 45 (90%). Symptoms of neurotoxicity were minimal and transient. Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis-like manifestations were seen in 19/58 (32.8%) of subjects, prompting utilization of anakinra. CD4/CD8 T-cell selection of the apheresis product improved CAR T-cell manufacturing feasibility as well as heightened inflammatory toxicities, leading to dose de-escalation. The complete remission rate was 70%. The median overall survival was 13.4 months (95% CI, 7.7 to 20.3 months). Among those who achieved a complete response, the median relapse-free survival was 6.0 months (95% CI, 4.1 to 6.5 months). Thirteen participants proceeded to stem-cell transplantation.

Conclusion: In the largest experience of CD22 CAR T-cells to our knowledge, we provide novel information on the impact of manufacturing changes on clinical outcomes and report on unique CD22 CAR T-cell toxicities and toxicity mitigation strategies. The remission induction rate supports further development of CD22 CAR T cells as a therapeutic option in patients resistant to CD19-targeted immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.03279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280047PMC
June 2020

The Emerging Landscape of Immune Cell Therapies.

Cell 2020 04;181(1):46-62

Center for Cancer Cell Therapy, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Cell therapies present an entirely new paradigm in drug development. Within this class, immune cell therapies are among the most advanced, having already demonstrated definitive evidence of clinical benefits in cancer and infectious disease. Numerous features distinguish these "living therapies" from traditional medicines, including their ability to expand and contract in proportion to need and to mediate therapeutic benefits for months or years following a single application. Continued advances in fundamental immunology, genetic engineering, gene editing, and synthetic biology exponentially expand opportunities to enhance the sophistication of immune cell therapies, increasing potency and safety and broadening their potential for treatment of disease. This perspective will summarize the current status of immune cell therapies for cancer, infectious disease, and autoimmunity, and discuss advances in cellular engineering to overcome barriers to progress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.03.001DOI Listing
April 2020

Tuning the Antigen Density Requirement for CAR T-cell Activity.

Cancer Discov 2020 05 19;10(5):702-723. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Insufficient reactivity against cells with low antigen density has emerged as an important cause of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell resistance. Little is known about factors that modulate the threshold for antigen recognition. We demonstrate that CD19 CAR activity is dependent upon antigen density and that the CAR construct in axicabtagene ciloleucel (CD19-CD28ζ) outperforms that in tisagenlecleucel (CD19-4-1BBζ) against antigen-low tumors. Enhancing signal strength by including additional immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAM) in the CAR enables recognition of low-antigen-density cells, whereas ITAM deletions blunt signal and increase the antigen density threshold. Furthermore, replacement of the CD8 hinge-transmembrane (H/T) region of a 4-1BBζ CAR with a CD28-H/T lowers the threshold for CAR reactivity despite identical signaling molecules. CARs incorporating a CD28-H/T demonstrate a more stable and efficient immunologic synapse. Precise design of CARs can tune the threshold for antigen recognition and endow 4-1BBζ-CARs with enhanced capacity to recognize antigen-low targets while retaining a superior capacity for persistence. SIGNIFICANCE: Optimal CAR T-cell activity is dependent on antigen density, which is variable in many cancers, including lymphoma and solid tumors. CD28ζ-CARs outperform 4-1BBζ-CARs when antigen density is low. However, 4-1BBζ-CARs can be reengineered to enhance activity against low-antigen-density tumors while maintaining their unique capacity for persistence..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-0945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7939454PMC
May 2020

Nivolumab in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory solid tumours or lymphoma (ADVL1412): a multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 1-2 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2020 04 17;21(4):541-550. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-1 have shown clinical benefit in adults with cancer, but data on these drugs in children are scarce. We did a phase 1-2 study of nivolumab, a PD-1 blocking monoclonal antibody, to determine its safety, pharmacokinetics, and antitumour activity in children and young adults with recurrent or refractory non-CNS solid tumours or lymphoma.

Methods: We did a multicentre, open-label, single-arm, dose-confirmation and dose-expansion, phase 1-2 trial in 23 hospitals in the USA. Eligible patients for part A (dose-confirmation phase) of the study were aged 1-18 years with solid tumours with measurable or evaluable disease (by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors [RECIST] version 1.1) regardless of histology. Eligible patients for part B (dose-expansion phase) were aged 1-30 years with measurable disease (by RECIST criteria) in the following disease cohorts: rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and melanoma. Patients in part A and were given nivolumab 3 mg/kg intravenously over 60 min on days 1 and 15 of a 28-day cycle in a rolling 6 study design with de-escalation upon dose-limiting toxicities to establish the recommended phase 2 dose. Patients in part B were given the recommended phase 2 dose. The primary outcomes were the tolerability, systemic exposure, maximum tolerated dose, and the antitumour activity of nivolumab at the adult recommended dose in children and young adults. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02304458, with follow-up ongoing and is closed to new participants.

Findings: 85 patients were enrolled between Feb 22, 2015, and Dec 31, 2018, and 75 patients were fully evaluable for toxicity. Median follow-up was 30 days (IQR 27-83). In part A, 13 patients were enrolled and 12 were evaluable for toxicity. There were no dose de-escalations or dose-limiting toxicities and nivolumab 3 mg/kg was confirmed as the paediatric recommended phase 2. 72 patients were enrolled in part B and 63 were evaluable for toxicity. Five (7%) patients in part B had dose-limiting toxicities. The most common overall toxicity was anaemia (35 [47%] of 75 patients; five patients had grade 3 or grade 4) and non-haematological toxicity was fatigue (28 [37%] patients; none had grade 3 or grade 4). Responses were observed in patients with lymphoma (three [30%] of ten with Hodgkin lymphoma and one [10%] of ten with non-Hodgkin lymphoma; all responders had PD-L1 expression). Objective responses were not observed in other tumour types.

Interpretation: Nivolumab was safe and well tolerated in children and young adults and showed clinical activity in lymphoma. Nivolumab showed no significant single-agent activity in the common paediatric solid tumours. This study defines the recommended phase 2 dose and establishes a favourable safety profile for nivolumab in children and young adults, which can serve as the basis for its potential study in combinatorial regimens for childhood cancer.

Funding: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Children's Oncology Group, National Institutes of Health, Cookies for Kids Cancer Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30023-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255545PMC
April 2020

Immune-Based Approaches for the Treatment of Pediatric Malignancies.

Annu Rev Cancer Biol 2020 Mar;4:353-370

Division of Oncology and Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

Immune-based therapies have now been credentialed for pediatric cancers with the robust efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for pediatric B cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), offering a chance of a cure for children with previously lethal disease and a potentially more targeted therapy to limit treatment-related morbidities. The developmental origins of most pediatric cancers make them ideal targets for immune-based therapies that capitalize on the differential expression of lineage-specific cell surface molecules such as antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, or CAR T cells, while the efficacy of other therapies that depend on tumor immunogenicity such as immune checkpoint inhibitors has been limited to date. Here we review the current status of immune-based therapies for childhood cancers, discuss challenges to developing immunotherapeutics for these diseases, and outline future directions of pediatric immunotherapy discovery and development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-cancerbio-030419-033436DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8189419PMC
March 2020
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