Session: 625. Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical—Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents: Immunologic approaches
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Biological, antibodies, Therapies, immunotherapy, NK cells
In this study, we hypothesized that we can redirect the specificity of NK cells against CD30+ malignancies by preloading ex vivo activated and expanded CB-derived NK cells with AFM13 prior to adoptive infusion. Briefly, mononuclear cells were isolated from fresh or frozen CB units by ficoll density gradient centrifugation. CD56+ NK cells were cultured with rhIL-12, rhIL-18 and rhIL-15 for 16 hrs, followed by ex vivo expansion with rhIL-2 and irradiated (100 Gy) K562-based feeder cells expressing membrane-bound IL-21 and CD137-ligand (2:1 feeder cell:NK ratio). After 14 days, NK cells were loaded with serial dilutions of AFM13 (0.1, 1, 10 and 100 mg/ml). After washing twice with PBS, we tested the effector function of AFM13-loaded NK-cells (AFM13-NK) compared to expanded CB-NK cells without AFM13 against Karpas-299 (CD30 positive) and Daudi (CD30 negative) lymphoma cell lines by 51Cr release and intracellular cytokine production assays. AFM13-NK cells killed Karpas-299 cells more effectively at all effector:target ratios tested than unloaded NK cells (Figure 1) and produced statistically more INFγ and CD107a (P=0.0034; P=0.0031 respectively, n=4). In contrast, AFM13-NK cells and unloaded NK cells exerted similar cytotoxicity against Daudi cells. Next, we established the optimal concentration of AFM13 for loading (determined to be 100 μg/ml) and the optimal incubation time to obtain maximal activity (1 h) in a series of in vitro experiments. We also confirmed that the activity of AFM13-NK cells against Karpas-299 cells remains stable for at least 72h post-wash (Figure 2).
Additionally, we characterized the phenotype of AFM13-NK vs. unloaded NK cells by flow cytometry using monoclonal antibodies against 22 markers, including markers of activation, inhibitory receptors, exhaustion markers and transcription factors. Compared to unloaded NK cells, AFM13-NK cells expressed higher levels of CD25, CD69, TRAIL, NKp44, granzyme B and CD57, consistent with an activated phenotype.
We next tested the in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of AFM13-NK cells in an immunodeficient mouse model of FFluc-Karpas-299. Briefly, six groups of NOD/SCID/IL2Rγc null mice (n=5 per group) were transplanted by tail-vein injection with 1 x 10e5 FFluc-transduced Karpas cells. Group 1 and 6 received tumor alone or tumor + AFM13 and served as a control. Groups 2-4 receive Karpas FFLuc with either expanded NK cells or AFM13-NK cells (NK cells loaded with AFM13) or expanded NK cells and AFM13 injected separately. Group 5 received AFM13-NK cells without tumor. Initial studies confirm the antitumor activity of AFM13-NK cells.
In summary, we have developed a novel premixed product, comprised of expanded CB-NK cells loaded with AFM13 to ‘redirect’ their specificity against CD30+ malignancies. The encouraging in vitro and in vivo data observed in this study, provide a strong rationale for a clinical trial to test the strategy of an off-the-shelf adoptive immunotherapy with AFM13-loaded CB-NK cells in patients with relapsed/refractory CD30+ malignancies.
Disclosures: Kerbauy: Affimed: Research Funding. Champlin: Sanofi: Research Funding; Otsuka: Research Funding. Koch: Affimed GmbH: Employment. Treder: Affimed GmbH: Employment. Shpall: Affirmed GmbH: Research Funding. Rezvani: Affirmed GmbH: Research Funding.
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