CD19 target-engineered T-cells accumulate at tumor lesions in human B-cell lymphoma xenograft mouse models
Adoptive T-cell therapy with CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) is promising for treatment of advanced B-cell malignancies. Tumor targeting of CAR-modified T-cells is likely to contribute therapeutic potency; therefore we examined the relationship between the ability of CD19-specific CAR (CD19-CAR)-transduced T-cells to accumulate at CD19(+) tumor lesions, and their ability to provide anti-tumor effects in xenograft mouse models. Normal human peripheral blood lymphocytes, activated with immobilized RetroNectin and anti-CD3 antibodies, were transduced with retroviral vectors that encode CD19-CAR. Expanded CD19-CAR T-cells with a high transgene expression level of about 75% produced IL-2 and IFN-γ in response to CD19, and lysed both Raji and Daudi CD19(+) human B-cell lymphoma cell lines. Furthermore, these cells efficiently accumulated at Raji tumor lesions where they suppressed tumor progression and prolonged survival in tumor-bearing Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) immunodeficient mice compared to control cohorts. These results show that the ability of CD19-CAR T-cells to home in on tumor lesions is pivotal for their anti-tumor effects in our xenograft models, and therefore may enhance the efficacy of adoptive T-cell therapy for refractory B-cell lymphoma.