Selective Inhibition of Tumor Growth by Clonal NK Cells Expressing an ErbB2/HER2-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor.

Schönfeld K, Sahm C, Zhang C, Naundorf S, Brendel C, Odendahl M, Nowakowska P, Bönig H, Köhl U, Kloess S, Köhler S, Holtgreve-Grez H, Jauch A, Schmidt M, Schubert R, Kühlcke K, Seifried E, Klingemann HG, Rieger MA, Tonn T, Grez M, Wels WS
Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy 2014


Natural killer (NK) cells are an important effector cell type for adoptive cancer immunotherapy. Similar to T cells, NK cells can be modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to enhance antitumor activity, but experience with CAR-engineered NK cells and their clinical development is still limited. Here, we redirected continuously expanding and clinically usable established human NK-92 cells to the tumor-associated ErbB2 (HER2) antigen. Following GMP-compliant procedures, we generated a stable clonal cell line expressing a humanized CAR based on ErbB2-specific antibody FRP5 harboring CD28 and CD3ζ signaling domains (CAR 5.28.z). These NK-92/5.28.z cells efficiently lysed ErbB2-expressing tumor cells in vitro and exhibited serial target cell killing. Specific recognition of tumor cells and antitumor activity were retained in vivo, resulting in selective enrichment of NK-92/5.28.z cells in orthotopic breast carcinoma xenografts, and reduction of pulmonary metastasis in a renal cell carcinoma model, respectively. γ-irradiation as a potential safety measure for clinical application prevented NK cell replication, while antitumor activity was preserved. Our data demonstrate that it is feasible to engineer CAR-expressing NK cells as a clonal, molecularly and functionally well-defined and continuously expandable cell therapeutic agent, and suggest NK-92/5.28.z cells as a promising candidate for use in adoptive cancer immunotherapy.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.219.

Affiliation: Georg-Speyer-Haus, Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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