Purpose: While adoptive transfer of T cells bearing a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) can eliminate substantial burdens of some leukemias, the ultimate challenge remains the eradication of large solid tumors for most cancers. We aimed to develop an immunotherapy approach effective against large tumors in an immunocompetent, self-antigen preclinical mouse model. Experimental Design: In this study, we generated dual-specific T cells expressing both a CAR specific for Her2 and a TCR specific for the melanocyte protein (gp100). We used a regimen of adoptive cell transfer incorporating vaccination (ACTIV), with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing gp100, to treat a range of tumors including orthotopic breast tumors and large liver tumors. Results: ACTIV therapy induced durable complete remission of a variety of Her2+ tumors, some in excess of 150 mm2, in immunocompetent mice expressing Her2 in normal tissues, including the breast and brain. Vaccinia virus induced extensive proliferation of T cells, leading to massive infiltration of T cells into tumors. Durable tumor responses required the chemokine receptor CXCR3 and exogenous IL2, but were independent of IFNγ. Mice were resistant to tumor rechallenge, indicating immune memory involving epitope spreading. Evidence of limited neurologic toxicity was observed, associated with infiltration of cerebellum by T cells, but was only transient. Conclusions: This study supports a view that it is possible to design a highly effective combination immunotherapy for solid cancers, with acceptable transient toxicity, even when the target antigen is also expressed in vital tissues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research