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98 ATA3271: an armored, next-generation off-the-shelf, allogeneic, mesothelin-CAR T cell therapy for solid tumors
  1. Jiangyue Liu,
  2. Xianhui Chen,
  3. Jason Karlen,
  4. Alfonso Brito,
  5. Tiffany Jheng,
  6. Philippe Foubert,
  7. Janani Krishnamurthy,
  8. Yannick Bulliard and
  9. Blake Aftab
  1. Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, USA


Background Mesothelin (MSLN) is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored membrane protein with high expression levels in an array of malignancies including mesothelioma, ovaria, non-small cell lung cancer, and pancreatic cancers and is an attractive target antigen for immune-based therapies. Early clinical evaluation of autologous MSLN-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies for malignant pleural mesothelioma has shown promising acceptable safety1 and have recently evolved with incorporation of next-generation CAR co-stimulatory domains and armoring with intrinsic checkpoint inhibition via expression of a PD-1 dominant negative receptor (PD1DNR).2 Despite the promise that MSLN CAR-T therapies hold, manufacturing and commercial challenges using an autologous approach may prove difficult for widespread application. EBV T cells represent a unique, non-gene edited approach toward an off-the-shelf, allogeneic T cell platform. EBV-specific T cells are currently being evaluated in phase 3 trials [NCT03394365] and, to-date, have demonstrated a favorable safety profile including limited risks for GvHD and cytokine release syndrome.3 4 Clinical proof-of-principle studies for CAR transduced allogeneic EBV T cell therapies have also been associated with acceptable safety and durable response in association with CD19 targeting.5 Here we describe the first preclinical evaluation of ATA3271, a next-generation allogeneic CAR EBV T cell therapy targeting MSLN and incorporating PD1DNR, designed for the treatment of solid tumor indications.

Methods We generated allogeneic MSLN CAR+ EBV T cells (ATA3271) using retroviral transduction of EBV T cells. ATA3271 includes a novel 1XX CAR signaling domain, previously associated with improved signaling and decreased CAR-mediated exhaustion. It is also armored with PD1DNR to provide intrinsic checkpoint blockade and is designed to retain functional persistence.

Results In this study, we characterized ATA3271 both in vitro and in vivo. ATA3271 show stable and proportional CAR and PD1DNR expression. Functional studies show potent antitumor activity of ATA3271 against MSLN-expressing cell lines, including PD-L1-high expressors. In an orthotopic mouse model of pleural mesothelioma, ATA3271 demonstrates potent antitumor activity and significant survival benefit (100% survival exceeding 50 days vs. 25 day median for control), without evident toxicities. ATA3271 maintains persistence and retains central memory phenotype in vivo through end-of-study. Additionally, ATA3271 retains endogenous EBV TCR function and reduced allotoxicity in the context of HLA mismatched targets.

Conclusions Overall, ATA3271 shows potent anti-tumor activity without evidence of allotoxicity, both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that allogeneic MSLN-CAR-engineered EBV T cells are a promising approach for the treatment of MSLN-positive cancers and warrant further clinical investigation.


  1. Adusumilli PS, Zauderer MG, Rusch VW, et al. Abstract CT036: A phase I clinical trial of malignant pleural disease treated with regionally delivered autologous mesothelin-targeted CAR T cells: Safety and efficacy. Cancer Research 2019;79:CT036-CT036.

  2. Kiesgen S, Linot C, Quach HT, et al. Abstract LB-378: Regional delivery of clinical-grade mesothelin-targeted CAR T cells with cell-intrinsic PD-1 checkpoint blockade: Translation to a phase I trial. Cancer Research 2020;80:LB-378-LB-378.

  3. Prockop S, Doubrovina E, Suser S, et al. Off-the-shelf EBV-specific T cell immunotherapy for rituximab-refractory EBV-associated lymphoma following transplantation. J Clin Invest 2020;130:733–747.

  4. Prockop S, Hiremath M, Ye W, et al. A Multicenter, Open Label, Phase 3 Study of Tabelecleucel for Solid Organ Transplant Subjects with Epstein-Barr Virus-Driven Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disease (EBV+PTLD) after Failure of Rituximab or Rituximab and Chemotherapy. Blood 2019; 134: 5326–5326.

  5. Curran KJ, Sauter CS, Kernan NA, et al. Durable remission following ‘Off-the-Shelf’ chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-Cells in patients with relapse/refractory (R/R) B-Cell malignancies. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2020;26:S89.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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