Publications & Posters

Activity of Anti-CD19 Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells Against B Cell Lymphoma Is Enhanced by Antibody-Targeted Interferon-Alpha

Young PA, Yamada RE, Trinh KR, Vasuthasawat A, De Oliveira S, Yamada DH, Morrison SL and Timmerman JM

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2018 Jun;38(6):239-254

DOI: 10.1089/jir.2018.0030


An important emerging form of immunotherapy targeting B cell malignancies is chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. Despite encouraging response rates of anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy in B cell lymphomas, limited durability of response necessitates further study to potentiate CAR T cell efficacy. Antibody-targeted interferon (IFN) therapy is a novel approach in immunotherapy. Given the ability of IFNs to promote T cell activation and survival, target cell recognition, and cytotoxicity, we asked whether antibody-targeted IFN could enhance the antitumor effects of anti-CD19 CAR T cells. We produced an anti-CD20-IFN fusion protein containing the potent type 1 IFN isoform alpha14 (α14), and demonstrated its ability to suppress proliferation and induce apoptosis of human B cell lymphomas. Indeed, with the combination of anti-CD20-hIFNα14 and CAR T cells, we found enhanced cell killing among B cell lymphoma lines. Importantly, for all cell lines pretreated with anti-CD20-hIFNα14, the subsequent cytokine production by CAR T cells was markedly increased regardless of the degree of cell killing. Thus, several activities of CD19 CAR T cells were enhanced in the presence of anti-CD20-hIFNα14. These data suggest that antibody-targeted IFN may be an important novel approach to improving the efficacy of CAR T cell therapy.