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2776 Targeting the Membrane-Proximal C2-Set Domain of CD33 for Improved CD33-Directed CAR T Cell Therapy

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 703. Cellular Immunotherapies: Basic and Translational: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Acute Myeloid Malignancies, Biological therapies, Clinical Practice (Health Services and Quality), AML, APL, Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell Therapies, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEI/DEIA) , Diseases, Therapies, Myeloid Malignancies
Sunday, December 12, 2021, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Salvatore Fiorenza, PhD, BSc, FRACP, FRCPA, MBBS, MPH1, George S. Laszlo, PhD1*, Tinh-Doan Phi, BSc1*, Margaret C. Lunn, BS1*, Delaney R. Kirchmeier, BSc2*, Colin D. Godwin, MD1,3, Erik L. Kimble, MD1,3, Cameron J. Turtle, MBBS, PhD1,4 and Roland B. Walter, MD, PhD, MS1,3,5,6

1Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
2Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
3Department of Medicine/Division of Hematology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
4Department of Medicine/Divison of Medical Oncology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
5Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
6Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Background: There is increasing interest in targeting CD33 in malignant and non-malignant disorders, but available drugs are ineffective in many patients. As one limitation, therapeutic CD33 antibodies typically recognize the membrane-distal V-set domain. Likewise, currently tested CD33-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells likewise target the V-set domain and have thus far shown limited clinical activity. We have recently demonstrated that binding closer to the cell membrane enhances the effector functions of CD33 antibodies. We therefore raised antibodies against the membrane-proximal C2-set domain of CD33 and identified antibodies that bound CD33 regardless of the presence/absence of the V-set domain (“CD33PAN antibodies”). Here, we tested their properties as targeting moiety in CD33PAN CAR T cell constructs, using a clinically validated lentiviral backbone.

Methods: To generate CAR T cells, negatively selected CD8+ T cells were transduced with an epHIV7 lentivirus encoding the scFv from a CD33PAN antibody (clone 1H7 or 9G2) linked to either a short (IgG4 hinge only), intermediate (hinge plus IgG4 CH3 domain), or long (hinge plus IgG4 CH3 domain plus IgG4 CH2 domain) spacer, the CD28-transmembrane domain, CD3zeta and 4-1BB intracellular signaling domains, and non-functional truncated CD19 (tCD19) as transduction marker. Similar constructs using scFvs from 2 different V-set domain-targeting CD33 antibodies, including hP67.6 (My96; used in gemtuzumab ozogamicin), were generated for comparison. CAR-T cells were sorted, expanded in IL-7 and IL-15, and used in vitro or in vivo against human AML cell lines endogenously expressing CD33 and cell lines engineered to lack CD33 (via CRISPR/Cas9) with/or without forced expression of different CD33 variants.

Results: CD33V-set-directed CAR T cells exerted significantly more cytolytic activity against AML cells expressing an artificial CD33 variant lacking the C2-set domain (CD33ΔE3-4) than cells expressing full-length CD33 at similar or higher levels, consistent with the notion that CD33 CAR T cell efficacy is enhanced when targeting an epitope that is located closer to the cell membrane. CD33PAN CAR T cells were highly potent against human AML cells in a strictly CD33-dependent fashion, with constructs containing the short and intermediate-length spacer demonstrating robust cytokine secretion, cell proliferation, and in vitro cytolytic activity, as determined by 51Cr release cytotoxicity assays. When compared to optimized CD33V-set CAR T cells, optimized CD33PAN CAR T cells were significantly more potent in cytotoxicity, proliferation, and cytokine production without appreciably increased acquisition of exhaustion markers. In vivo, CD33PAN CAR T cells extended survival in immunodeficient NOD.SCID.IL2rg-/- (NSG) mice bearing significant leukemic burdens from various cell line-derived xenografts (HL-60, KG1α and MOLM14) with efficient tumor clearance demonstrated in a dose-dependent fashion.

Conclusion: Targeting the membrane proximal domain of CD33 enhances the anti-leukemic potency of CAR T cells. Our data provide the rationale for the further development of CD33PAN CAR T cells toward clinical testing.

Disclosures: Fiorenza: Link Immunotherapeutics: Consultancy; Bristol Myers Squibb: Research Funding. Godwin: Pfizer: Research Funding; Bristol Myers Squibb: Current Employment, Current equity holder in publicly-traded company. Turtle: Allogene: Consultancy; Amgen: Consultancy; Arsenal Bio: Consultancy; Asher bio: Consultancy; Astrazeneca: Consultancy, Research Funding; Caribou Biosciences: Consultancy, Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company; Century Therapeutics: Consultancy, Other; Eureka therapeutics: Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company, Other; Juno therapeutics/BMS: Patents & Royalties, Research Funding; Myeloid Therapeutics: Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company, Other; Nektar therapeutics: Consultancy, Research Funding; PACT Pharma: Consultancy; Precision Biosciences: Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company, Other; T-CURX: Other; TCR2 Therapeutics: Research Funding. Walter: Kite: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy; Genentech: Consultancy; BMS: Consultancy; Astellas: Consultancy; Agios: Consultancy; Amphivena: Consultancy, Other: ownership interests; Selvita: Research Funding; Pfizer: Consultancy, Research Funding; Jazz: Research Funding; Macrogenics: Consultancy, Research Funding; Immunogen: Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy, Research Funding; Aptevo: Consultancy, Research Funding; Amgen: Research Funding.

*signifies non-member of ASH