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The construction of modular universal chimeric antigen receptor T (MU-CAR-T) cells by covalent linkage of allogeneic T cells and various antibody fragments.

Molecular Cancer 2024 March 12
BACKGROUND: Chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cells therapy is one of the novel immunotherapeutic approaches with significant clinical success. However, their applications are limited because of long preparation time, high cost, and interpersonal variations. Although the manufacture of universal CAR-T (U-CAR-T) cells have significantly improved, they are still not a stable and unified cell bank.

METHODS: Here, we tried to further improve the convenience and flexibility of U-CAR-T cells by constructing novel modular universal CAR-T (MU-CAR-T) cells. For this purpose, we initially screened healthy donors and cultured their T cells to obtain a higher proportion of stem cell-like memory T (TSCM ) cells, which exhibit robust self-renewal capacity, sustainability and cytotoxicity. To reduce the alloreactivity, the T cells were further edited by double knockout of the T cell receptor (TCR) and class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA-I) genes utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The well-growing and genetically stable universal cells carrying the CAR-moiety were then stored as a stable and unified cell bank. Subsequently, the SDcatcher/GVoptiTag system, which generate an isopeptide bond, was used to covalently connect the purified scFvs of antibody targeting different antigens to the recovered CAR-T cells.

RESULTS: The resulting CAR-T cells can perform different functions by specifically targeting various cells, such as the eradication of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-latenly-infected cells or elimination of T lymphoma cells, with similar efficiency as the traditional CAR-T cells did.

CONCLUSION: Taken together, our strategy allows the production of CAR-T cells more modularization, and makes the quality control and pharmaceutic manufacture of CAR-T cells more feasible.

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