Background aims: Adoptive cell therapy employing natural killer group 2D (NKG2D) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells has demonstrated preclinical efficacy in several model systems, including hematological and solid tumors. We present comprehensive data on manufacturing development and clinical production of autologous NKG2D CAR T cells for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02203825). An NKG2D CAR was generated by fusing native full-length human NKG2D to the human CD3ζ cytoplasmic signaling domain. NKG2D naturally associates with native costimulatory molecule DAP10, effectively generating a second-generation CAR against multiple ligands upregulated during malignant transformation including MIC-A, MIC-B and the UL-16 binding proteins.
Methods: CAR T cells were infused fresh after a 9-day process wherein OKT3-activated T cells were genetically modified with replication-defective gamma-retroviral vector and expanded ex vivo for 5 days with recombinant human interleukin-2.
Results: Despite sizable interpatient variation in originally collected cells, release criteria, including T-cell expansion and purity (median 98%), T-cell transduction (median 66% CD8+ T cells), and functional activity against NKG2D ligand-positive cells, were met for 100% of healthy donors and patients enrolled and collected. There was minimal carryover of non-T cells, particularly malignant cells; both effector memory and central memory cells were generated, and inflammatory cytokines such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, RANTES, interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α were selectively up-regulated.
Conclusions: The process resulted in production of required cell doses for the first-in-human phase I NKG2D CAR T clinical trial and provides a robust, flexible base for further optimization of NKG2D CAR T-cell manufacturing.
Keywords: CAR T; Good manufacturing practice cell therapy; NKG2D; acute myeloid leukemia; chimeric antigen receptor; gamma retrovirus; multiple myeloma.
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