Tumor control via targeting PD-L1 with chimeric antigen receptor modified NK cells

Yvette Robbins, Sarah Greene, Jay Friedman, Paul E. Clavijo, Carter Van Waes, Kellsye P. Fabian, Michelle R. Padget, Houssein Abdul Sater, John H. Lee, Patrick Soon-Shiong, James Gulley, Jeffrey Schlom, James W. Hodge, Clint T. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Failed T cell-based immunotherapies in the presence of genomic alterations in antigen presentations pathways may be overcome by NK cell-based immunotherapy. This approach may still be limited by the presence of immunosuppressive myeloid populations. Here we demonstrate that NK cells (haNKs) engineered to express a PD-L1 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) haNKs killed a panel of human and murine head and neck cancer cells at low effector-to-target ratios in a PD-L1-dependent fashion. Treatment of syngeneic tumors resulted in CD8 and PD-L1-dependent tumor rejection or growth inhibition and a reduction in myeloid cells endogenously expressing high levels of PD-L1. Treatment of xenograft tumors resulted in PD-L1 dependent tumor growth inhibition. PD-L1 CAR haNKs reduced levels of macrophages and other myeloid cells endogenously expressing high PD-L1 in peripheral blood from patients with head and neck cancer. The clinical study of PD-L1 CAR haNKs is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 30 2020


  • chimeric antigen receptor
  • myeloid cell
  • NK cell therapy
  • programmed death-ligand 1
  • syngeneic
  • xenograft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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