Targeting multiple tumors using T-cells engineered to express a natural cytotoxicity receptor 2-based chimeric receptor Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent developments in cancer treatment are demonstrating the increasing and powerful potential of immunotherapeutic strategies. In this regard, adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T-lymphocytes approaches can lead to tumor regression in cancer patients. More recently, the use of T-cells genetically engineered to express cancer-specific receptors such as the anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) continues to show promise for the treatment of hematological malignancies. Still, there is a crucial need to develop efficient CAR-T cell approaches for the treatment of solid tumors. It has been shown that other lymphocytes such as Natural Killer (NK) cells can demonstrate potent anti-tumor function - still their use in immunotherapy is rather limited due to difficulties in expanding these cells to therapeutically-relevant numbers and to suppression by endogenous inhibitory mechanisms. Cancer recognition by NK cells is partly mediated by molecules termed natural cytotoxic receptors (NCRs). In the present study, we hypothesize that it is possible to endow T-cells with an NK recognition pattern, providing them with a mean to recognize tumor cells, in a non-MHC restricted way. To test this, we genetically modified human T-cells with different chimeric receptors based on the human NCR2 molecule and then assessed their anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Our results show that expression in primary lymphocytes of an NCR2-derived CAR, termed s4428z, confers T-cells with the ability to specifically recognize heterogeneous tumors and to mediate tumor cytotoxicity in a mouse model. This study demonstrates the benefit of combining tumor recognition capability of NK cells with T cell effectiveness to improve cancer immunotherapy.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017