Background Adoptive transfer of T cells is a promising anti-tumor therapy for many cancers. To enhance tumor recognition by T cells, chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) consisting of signaling domains fused to receptors that recognize tumor antigens can be expressed in T cells. One receptor that is a prospective target for a new chimeric antigen receptor is PD1 because the ligands for the PD1 receptor are expressed on many cancer types. Therefore, we developed a murine chimeric PD1 receptor (chPD1) consisting of the PD1 receptor extracellular domain and the activation domain of CD3 zeta. In addition, current chimeric antigen receptor therapies utilize various costimulatory domains to enhance anti-tumor efficacy. Therefore, we also compared the inclusion of CD28, Dap10, 4-1BB, GITR, ICOS, or OX40 costimulatory domains in the chPD1 receptor to determine which costimulatory domain induced optimal anti-tumor immunity.
Methods To determine if this novel CAR could potentially target a wide variety of tumors, the anti-tumor efficacy of chPD1 T cells against murine lymphoma, melanoma, kidney, pancreatic, liver, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and bladder cancer cell lines was measured.
Results Of the eighteen cell lines tested, all expressed PD1 ligands on their cell surface, making them potential targets for chPD1 T cells. Regardless of the costimulatory domain in the CAR, all of the chPD1 T cells induced similar levels of T cell proliferation and tumor cell lysis. However, differences were observed in the cytokine secretion profiles depending on which costimulatory receptor was included in the CAR. While most of the chPD1 T cell receptor combinations secreted both pro-inflammatory (IFNγ, TNFα, IL-2, GM-CSF, IL-17, and IL-21) and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10), chPD1 T cells containing a Dap10 costimulatory domain secreted high levels of proinflammatory cytokines but did not secrete a significant amount of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, T cells expressing chPD1 receptors with a Dap10 domain also had the strongest anti-tumor efficacy in vivo. ChPD1 T cells did not survive for longer than 14 days in vivo, however treatment with chPD1 T cells induced long-lived protective host-anti-tumor immune responses in tumor-bearing mice.
Conclusions Therefore, adoptive transfer of chPD1 T cells could be a novel therapeutic strategy to treat multiple types of cancer and inclusion of the Dap10 costimulatory domain in chimeric antigen receptors may induce a preferential cytokine profile for anti-tumor therapies.
Ethics Approval The study was approved by Longwood University’s IACUC.
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