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The cancer-testis antigen MAGE-A4 is an attractive target for T-cell-based immunotherapy, especially for indications with unmet clinical need like non-small cell lung or triple-negative breast cancer. An unbiased CD137-based sorting approach was first used to identify an immunogenic MAGE-A4-derived epitope (GVYDGREHTV) that was properly processed and presented on human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A2 molecules encoded by the HLA-A*02:01 allele. To isolate high-avidity T cells via subsequent multimer sorting, an in vitro priming approach using HLA-A2-negative donors was conducted to bypass central tolerance to this self-antigen. Pre-clinical parameters of safety and activity were assessed in a comprehensive set of in vitro and in vivo studies. A MAGE-A4-reactive, HLA-A2-restricted T-cell receptor (TCR) was isolated from primed T cells of an HLA-A2-negative donor. The respective TCR-T-cell (TCR-T) product bbT485 was demonstrated pre-clinically to have a favorable safety profile and superior in vivo potency compared with TCR-Ts expressing a TCR derived from a tolerized T-cell repertoire to self-antigens. This natural high-avidity TCR was found to be CD8 co-receptor independent, allowing effector functions to be elicited in transgenic CD4+ T helper cells. These CD4+ TCR-Ts supported an anti-tumor response by direct killing of MAGE-A4-positive tumor cells and upregulated hallmarks associated with helper function, such as CD154 expression and release of key cytokines on tumor-specific stimulation. The extensive pre-clinical assessment of safety and in vivo potency of bbT485 provide the basis for its use in TCR-T immunotherapy studies. The ability of this non-mutated high-avidity, co-receptor-independent TCR to activate CD8+ and CD4+ T cells could potentially provide enhanced cellular responses in the clinical setting through the induction of functionally diverse T-cell subsets that goes beyond what is currently tested in the clinic. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Citation

Kathrin Davari, Tristan Holland, Laura Prassmayer, Giulia Longinotti, Kenneth P Ganley, Lisa J Pechilis, Iulia Diaconu, Prashant R Nambiar, Michael S Magee, Dolores J Schendel, Daniel Sommermeyer, Christian Ellinger. Development of a CD8 co-receptor independent T-cell receptor specific for tumor-associated antigen MAGE-A4 for next generation T-cell-based immunotherapy. Journal for immunotherapy of cancer. 2021 Mar;9(3)


PMID: 33771892

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