Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have shown remarkable success in treating hematologic cancers. However, this efficacy has yet to translate to treatment in solid tumors. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a fatal malignancy with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. We have developed a second generation CAR T cell using the variable fragments of a novel monoclonal antibody, TAB004, which specifically binds the tumor-associated-MUC1 (tMUC1). tMUC1 is overexpressed on ~85% of all human PDA. We present data showing that TAB004-derived CAR T cells specifically bind to tMUC1 on PDA cells and show robust killing activity; however, they do not bind or kill normal epithelial cells. We further demonstrated that the tMUC1-CAR T cells control the growth of orthotopic pancreatic tumors in vivo. We witnessed that some PDA cells (HPAFII and CFPAC) were refractory to CAR T cell treatment. qPCR analysis of several genes revealed overexpression of indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenases-1 (IDO1), cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 (COX1/2), and galectin-9 (Gal-9) in resistant PDA cells. We showed that combination of CAR T cells and biological inhibitors of IDO1, COX1/2, and Gal-9 resulted in significant enhancement of CAR T cell cytotoxicity against PDA cells. Overcoming PDA resistance is a significant advancement in the field.
- CAR T cell
- engineered T cell
- pancreatic cancer
- pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
- targeted therapy