Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive and deadly form of adult brain cancer. Despite of many attempts to identify potential therapies for this disease, including promising cancer immunotherapy approaches, it remains incurable. To address the need of improved persistence, expansion, and optimal antitumor activity of T-cells in the glioma milieu, we have developed an EGFRvIII-specific third generation (G3-EGFRvIII) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that expresses both co-stimulatory factors CD28 and OX40 (MR1-CD8TM-CD28-OX40-CD3ζ). To enhance ex vivo target specific activation and optimize T-cell culturing conditions, we generated artificial antigen presenting cell lines (aAPC) expressing the extracellular and transmembrane domain of EGFRvIII (EGFRVIIIΔ654) with costimulatory molecules including CD32, CD80 and 4-1BBL (EGFRVIIIΔ654 aAPC and CD32-80-137L-EGFRVIIIΔ654 aAPC). We demonstrate that the highest cell growth was achieved when G3-EGFRvIII CAR T-cells were cocultured with both co-stimulatory aAPCs and with exposure to EGFRvIII (CD32-80-137L-EGFRVIIIΔ654 aAPCs) in culturing periods of three to six weeks. G3-EGFRvIII CAR T-cells showed an increased level of IFN-γ when cocultured with CD32-80-137L-EGFRVIIIΔ654 aAPCs. Evaluation of G3-EGFRvIII CAR T-cells in an orthotropic human glioma xenograft model demonstrated a prolonged survival of G3-EGFRvIII CAR treated mice compared to control mice. Importantly, we observed survival of G3-EGFRvIII CAR T-cells within the tumor as long as 90 days after implantation in low-dose and single administration, accompanied by a marked tumor stroma demolition. These findings suggest that G3-EGFRvIII CAR cocultured with CD32-80-137L-EGFRVIIIΔ654 aAPCs warrants itself as a potential anti-tumor therapy strategy for glioblastoma.
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