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206 The development of ‘chimeric CD3e fusion protein’ and ‘anti-CD3-based bispecific T cell activating element’ engineered T (CAB-T) cells for the treatment of solid malignancies
  1. Andy Tsun1,
  2. Zhiyuan Li2,
  3. Zhenqing Zhang2,
  4. Weifeng Huang2,
  5. Shaogang Peng3 and
  6. Jitian Chai2
  1. 1Biotheus Inc., Zhuhai, China
  2. 2Biotheus (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., Zhuhai, China
  3. 3Biotheus (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., Suzhou, China


Background Cancer immunotherapy has achieved unprecedented success in the complete remission of hematological tumors. However, serious or even fatal clinical side-effects have been associated with CAR-T therapies to solid tumors, which mainly include cytokine release syndrome (CRS), immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), macrophage activation syndrome, etc. Furthermore, CAR-T therapies have not yet demonstrated significant clinical efficacy for the treatment of solid tumors. Here, we present a novel T cell therapeutic platform: a Chimeric CD3e fusion protein and anti-CD3-based bispecific T cell activating element (BiTA) engineered T (CAB-T) cells, which target tumor antigens via the secretion of BiTAs that act independently of MHC interactions. Upon BiTA secretion, CAB-T cells can simultaneously achieve anti-tumor cytotoxic effects from the CAB-T cells and simultaneously activate bystander T cells.

Methods CAB-T cells were generated by co-expressing a chimeric CD3e fusion protein and an anti-CD3-based bispecific T cell activating element. The chimeric CD3e contains the extracellular domain of CD3e, a CD8 transmembrane domain, 4-1BB costimulatory domain, CD3z T cell activation domain and a FLAG tag, while the BiTA element includes a tumor antigen targeting domain fused with an anti-CD3 scFv domain and a 6x His-tag. CAR-T cells were generated as a control. Cytokine release activity, T cell activation and exhaustion markers, T cell killing activity and T cell differentiation stages were analysed. We also tested their tumor growth inhibition activity, peripheral and tumor tissue distribution, and their safety-profiles in humanized mouse models.

Results CAB-T cells have similar or better in vitro killing activity compared with their CAR-T counterparts, with lower levels of cytokine release (IL-2 and IFNγ). CAB-T cells also showed lower levels of exhaustion markers (PD-1, LAG-3 and TIM-3), and higher ratios of naive/Tscm and Tcm T cell populations, after co-culture with their target tumor cells (48h). In in vivo studies, CAIX CAB-T and HER2 CAB-T showed superior anti-tumor efficacy and tumor tissue infiltration activity over their corresponding CAR-T cells. For CLDN18.2 CAB-T cells, similar in vivo anti-tumor efficacy was observed compared to CAR-T after T cell infusion, but blood glucose reduction and animal mortality was observed in the mice administered with CAR-T cells.

Conclusions The advantages of CAB-T in in vitro and in vivo studies may result from TCR signal activation of both the engineered CAB-T cells and the non-engineered bystander T cells via cross-bridging by the secreted BiTA molecules, thus offering superior anti-tumor efficacy with a potential better safety-profile compared to conventional CAR-T platforms.

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