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CAR T-cells targeting the integrin αvβ6 and co-expressing the chemokine receptor CXCR2 demonstrate enhanced homing and efficacy against several solid malignancies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lynsey M. Whilding, Leena Halim, Benjamin Draper, Ana C. Parente-Pereira, Tomasz Zabinski, David Marc Davies, John Maher

Original languageEnglish
Article number674
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Early online date14 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 May 2019


King's Authors


Despite the unprecedented clinical success of chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) T-cells against haematological malignancy, solid tumors impose a far greater challenge to success. Largely, this stems from an inadequate capacity of CAR T-cells that can traffic and maintain function within a hostile microenvironment. To enhance tumor-directed T-cell trafficking, we have engineered CAR T-cells to acquire heightened responsiveness to interleukin (IL)-8. Circulating IL-8 levels correlate with disease burden and prognosis in multiple solid tumors in which it exerts diverse pathological functions including angiogenesis, support of cancer stem cell survival, and recruitment of immunosuppressive myeloid cells. To harness tumor-derived IL-8 for therapeutic benefit, we have co-expressed either of its cognate receptors (CXCR1 or CXCR2) in CAR T-cells that target the tumor-associated αvβ6 integrin. We demonstrate here that CXCR2-expressing CAR T-cells migrate more efficiently towards IL-8 and towards tumor conditioned media that contains this cytokine. As a result, these CAR T-cells elicit superior anti-tumor activity against established αvβ6-expressing ovarian or pancreatic tumor xenografts, with a more favorable toxicity profile. These data support the further engineering of CAR T-cells to acquire responsiveness to cancer-derived chemokines in order to improve their therapeutic activity against solid tumors.

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