Blood 2012 Jun 24;119(24):5697-705. Epub 2012 Apr 24.
Division of Pediatrics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Clinical-grade T cells are genetically modified ex vivo to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to redirect specificity to a tumor associated antigen (TAA) thereby conferring antitumor activity in vivo. T cells expressing a CD19-specific CAR recognize B-cell malignancies in multiple recipients independent of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) because the specificity domains are cloned from the variable chains of a CD19 monoclonal antibody. We now report a major step toward eliminating the need to generate patient-specific T cells by generating universal allogeneic TAA-specific T cells from one donor that might be administered to multiple recipients. This was achieved by genetically editing CD19-specific CAR(+) T cells to eliminate expression of the endogenous αβ T-cell receptor (TCR) to prevent a graft-versus-host response without compromising CAR-dependent effector functions. Genetically modified T cells were generated using the Sleeping Beauty system to stably introduce the CD19-specific CAR with subsequent permanent deletion of α or β TCR chains with designer zinc finger nucleases. We show that these engineered T cells display the expected property of having redirected specificity for CD19 without responding to TCR stimulation. CAR(+)TCR(neg) T cells of this type may potentially have efficacy as an off-the-shelf therapy for investigational treatment of B-lineage malignancies.