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1.  T Cell Receptor-Engineered T Cells to Treat Solid Tumors: T Cell Processing Toward Optimal T Cell Fitness 
Human Gene Therapy Methods  2014;25(6):345-357.
Abstract
Therapy with autologous T cells that have been gene-engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) or T cell receptors (TCR) provides a feasible and broadly applicable treatment for cancer patients. In a clinical study in advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients with CAR T cells specific for carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), we observed toxicities that (most likely) indicated in vivo function of CAR T cells as well as low T cell persistence and clinical response rates. The latter observations were confirmed by later clinical trials in other solid tumor types and other gene-modified T cells. To improve the efficacy of T cell therapy, we have redefined in vitro conditions to generate T cells with young phenotype, a key correlate with clinical outcome. For their impact on gene-modified T cell phenotype and function, we have tested various anti-CD3/CD28 mAb-based T cell activation and expansion conditions as well as several cytokines prior to and/or after gene transfer using two different receptors: CAIX CAR and MAGE-C2(ALK)/HLA-A2 TCR. In a total set of 16 healthy donors, we observed that T cell activation with soluble anti-CD3/CD28 mAbs in the presence of both IL15 and IL21 prior to TCR gene transfer resulted in enhanced proportions of gene-modified T cells with a preferred in vitro phenotype and better function. T cells generated according to these processing methods demonstrated enhanced binding of pMHC, and an enhanced proportion of CD8+, CD27+, CD62L+, CD45RA+T cells. These new conditions will be translated into a GMP protocol in preparation of a clinical adoptive therapy trial to treat patients with MAGE-C2-positive tumors.
doi:10.1089/hgtb.2014.051
PMCID: PMC4268575  PMID: 25423330
2.  TCR Gene Transfer: MAGE-C2/HLA-A2 and MAGE-A3/HLA-DP4 Epitopes as Melanoma-Specific Immune Targets 
Adoptive therapy with TCR gene-engineered T cells provides an attractive and feasible treatment option for cancer patients. Further development of TCR gene therapy requires the implementation of T-cell target epitopes that prevent “on-target” reactivity towards healthy tissues and at the same time direct a clinically effective response towards tumor tissues. Candidate epitopes that meet these criteria are MAGE-C2336-344/HLA-A2 (MC2/A2) and MAGE-A3243-258/HLA-DP4 (MA3/DP4). We molecularly characterized TCRαβ genes of an MC2/A2-specific CD8 and MA3/DP4-specific CD4 T-cell clone derived from melanoma patients who responded clinically to MAGE vaccination. We identified MC2/A2 and MA3/DP4-specific TCR-Vα3/Vβ28 and TCR-Vα38/Vβ2 chains and validated these TCRs in vitro upon gene transfer into primary human T cells. The MC2 and MA3 TCR were surface-expressed and mediated CD8 T-cell functions towards melanoma cell lines and CD4 T-cell functions towards dendritic cells, respectively. We intend to start testing these MAGE-specific TCRs in phase I clinical trial.
doi:10.1155/2012/586314
PMCID: PMC3287115  PMID: 22400038

Results 1-2 (2)