CD28 costimulation provided through a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor enhances in vivo persistence and antitumor efficacy of adoptively transferred T cells

Claudia M Kowolik, Max S Topp, Sergio Gonzalez, Timothy Pfeiffer, Simon Olivares, Nancy Gonzalez, David D Smith, Stephen J Forman, Michael C Jensen, Laurence J N Cooper
Cancer Research 2006 November 15, 66 (22): 10995-1004
Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) combine an antigen-binding domain with a CD3-zeta signaling motif to redirect T-cell specificity to clinically important targets. First-generation CAR, such as the CD19-specific CAR (designated CD19R), may fail to fully engage genetically modified T cells because activation is initiated by antigen-dependent signaling through chimeric CD3-zeta, independent of costimulation through accessory molecules. We show that enforced expression of the full-length costimulatory molecule CD28 in CD8(+)CD19R(+)CD28(-) T cells can restore fully competent antigen-dependent T-cell activation upon binding CD19(+) targets expressing CD80/CD86. Thus, to provide costimulation to T cells through a CD19-specific CAR, independent of binding to CD80/CD86, we developed a second-generation CAR (designated CD19RCD28), which includes a modified chimeric CD28 signaling domain fused to chimeric CD3-zeta. CD19R(+) and CD19RCD28(+) CD8(+) T cells specifically lyse CD19(+) tumor cells. However, the CD19RCD28(+) CD8(+) T cells proliferate in absence of exogenous recombinant human interleukin-2, produce interleukin-2, propagate, and up-regulate antiapoptotic Bcl-X(L) after stimulation by CD19(+) tumor cells. For the first time, we show in vivo that adoptively transferred CD19RCD28(+) T cells show an improved persistence and antitumor effect compared with CD19R(+) T cells. These data imply that modifications to the CAR can result in improved therapeutic potential of CD19-specific T cells expressing this second-generation CAR.

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