Purpose: Recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer has no curative options, necessitating the development of novel treatments, including immunotherapy.
Rationale: Patient-derived T cells can be genetically modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) specific to tumor-associated antigens in an HLA-independent manner, with promising preclinical results. MUC16(ecto) is highly expressed on most epithelial ovarian carcinomas but at low levels on normal tissues, offering an excellent immunotherapeutic target for this cancer. CAR T cells further modified to secrete IL-12 show enhanced cytotoxicity, persistence, and modulation of the tumor microenvironment.
Design: We propose a dose escalation phase I clinical trial for patients with recurrent MUC-16(ecto+) ovarian cancer to test the safety of intravenous and intraperitoneal administration and the preliminary efficacy of autologous IL-12 secreting, MUC-16(ecto) CAR T cells containing a safety elimination gene.
Innovation: This trial targets MUC-16(ecto), a novel and promising tumor-associated antigen. This will be the first time CAR T cells are injected intraperitoneally directly into the site of the tumor within the abdomen in humans. Furthermore, the ability of genetically modified cells to secrete IL-12 will potentially enhance CAR T cell persistence and modulate the tumor microenvironment. For safety purposes, an elimination gene has been incorporated into the CAR T cells to mitigate any on-target, off-tumor or other unforeseen toxicity.