Gene Summary

Gene:CARS1; cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase 1
Aliases: CARS, CYSRS, MGC:11246
Summary:This gene encodes a class 1 aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase, cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase. Each of the twenty aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases catalyzes the aminoacylation of a specific tRNA or tRNA isoaccepting family with the cognate amino acid. This gene is one of several located near the imprinted gene domain on chromosome 11p15.5, an important tumor-suppressor gene region. Alterations in this region have been associated with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Wilms tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, and lung, ovarian and breast cancers. Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2010]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:cysteine--tRNA ligase, cytoplasmic
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (11)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (2)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Tumor Antigens
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Cytokines
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Translational Medical Research
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Immunotherapy
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Clinical Trials
  • Leukaemia
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Young Adult
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD28 Antigens
  • Haematological Malignancies
  • Antigens, CD19
  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Gene Expression
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • Chromosome 11
  • fas Receptor
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptors
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Tumor Escape
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Lentivirus
  • Breast Cancer
  • Receptors, Antigen
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CARS (cancer-related)

Mensali N, Dillard P, Hebeisen M, et al.
NK cells specifically TCR-dressed to kill cancer cells.
EBioMedicine. 2019; 40:106-117 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adoptive T-cell transfer of therapeutic TCR holds great promise to specifically kill cancer cells, but relies on modifying the patient's own T cells ex vivo before injection. The manufacturing of T cells in a tailor-made setting is a long and expensive process which could be resolved by the use of universal cells. Currently, only the Natural Killer (NK) cell line NK-92 is FDA approved for universal use. In order to expand their recognition ability, they were equipped with Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs). However, unlike CARs, T-cell receptors (TCRs) can recognize all cellular proteins, which expand NK-92 recognition to the whole proteome.
METHODS: We herein genetically engineered NK-92 to express the CD3 signaling complex, and showed that it rendered them able to express a functional TCR. Functional assays and in vivo efficacy were used to validate these cells.
FINDINGS: This is the first demonstration that a non-T cell can exploit TCRs. This TCR-redirected cell line, termed TCR-NK-92, mimicked primary T cells phenotypically, metabolically and functionally, but retained its NK cell effector functions. Our results demonstrate a unique manner to indefinitely produce TCR-redirected lymphocytes at lower cost and with similar therapeutic efficacy as redirected T cells.
INTERPRETATION: These results suggest that an NK cell line could be the basis for an off-the-shelf TCR-based cancer immunotherapy solution. FUND: This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway (#254817), South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (#14/00500-79), by OUS-Radiumhospitalet (Gene Therapy program) and the department of Oncology at the University of Lausanne.

Xu Q, Harto H, Berahovich R, et al.
Generation of CAR-T Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Methods Mol Biol. 2019; 1884:349-360 [PubMed] Related Publications
T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are emerging as powerful cancer immunotherapies. Remarkable efficacies have been demonstrated in treating B-cell malignancies with CAR-T cells, leading to the FDA's first approval of gene therapy. Currently, numerous clinical trials for hematological malignancies and solid tumors are underway worldwide. Production of CAR-T cells with proper qualities is essential for CAR-T success in vivo. Here we detail optimized protocols for the generation of CAR-T cells for preclinical studies using lentiviral gene transfer, expansion of CAR-T cells in culture, detection of CAR expression, and evaluation of CAR-T cellular cytotoxicity in vitro.

Ti D, Niu Y, Wu Z, et al.
Genetic engineering of T cells with chimeric antigen receptors for hematological malignancy immunotherapy.
Sci China Life Sci. 2018; 61(11):1320-1332 [PubMed] Related Publications
The host immune system plays an instrumental role in the surveillance and elimination of tumors by recognizing and destroying cancer cells. In recent decades, studies have mainly focused on adoptive immunotherapy using engineered T cells for the treatment of malignant diseases. Through gene engraftment of the patient's own T cells with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), they can recognize tumor specific antigens effectively and eradicate selectively targeted cells in an MHC-independent fashion. To date, CAR-T cell therapy has shown great clinical utility in patients with B-cell leukemias. Owing to different CAR designs and tumor complex microenvironments, genetically redirected T cells may generate diverse biological properties and thereby impact their long-term clinical performance and outcome. Meanwhile some unexpected toxicities that result from CAR-T cell application have been examined and limited the curative effects. Diverse important parameters are closely related with adoptively transferred cell behaviors, including CAR-T cells homing, CAR constitutive signaling, T cell differentiation and exhaustion. Thus, understanding CARs molecular design to improve infused cell efficacy and safety is crucial to clinicians and patients who are considering this novel cancer therapeutics. In this review, the developments in CAR-T cell therapy and the limitations and perspectives in optimizing this technology towards clinical application are discussed.

Zheng Y, Gao N, Fu YL, et al.
Generation of regulable EGFRvIII targeted chimeric antigen receptor T cells for adoptive cell therapy of glioblastoma.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 507(1-4):59-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adoptive immunotherapy using chimeric antigen receptors-modified T cells (CAR-T) is a promising approach for cancer treatment. However, CARs currently applied in the clinics cannot be effectively regulated and the safety of CAR-T cell therapies remains a major concern. To improve the safety of CAR-T cells, we designed a synthetic splitting CAR (ssCAR) that can regulate T cell functions exogenously. Epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII) was used as a molecular target for ssCAR. Our results indicate that both EGFRvIII and small molecule are needed for the activation of the ssCAR-T cells. AP21967 dose-dependently increased the expression of T cell activation, production of cytokines and extent of cell lysis. In conclusion, the gene switch designed in this study allows for temporal and spatial control over engineered T cells in a dose-and time-dependent manner by AP21967. Our work demonstrates the feasibility and improved safety profile of this novel treatment approach.

Morgan MA, Schambach A
Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells: Extending Translation from Liquid to Solid Tumors.
Hum Gene Ther. 2018; 29(10):1083-1097 [PubMed] Related Publications
Successful translation of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells designed to target and eradicate CD19+ lymphomas has emboldened scientists and physicians worldwide to explore the possibility of applying CAR T-cell technology to other tumor entities, including solid tumors. Next-generation strategies such as fourth-generation CARs (CAR T cells redirected for universal cytokine killing, also known as TRUCKs) designed to deliver immunomodulatory cytokines to the tumor microenvironment, dual CAR designs to improve tumor control, inclusion of suicide genes as safety switches, and precision genome editing are currently being investigated. One major ongoing goal is to determine how best to generate CAR T cells that modulate the tumor microenvironment, overcome tumor survival mechanisms, and thus allow broader applicability as universal allogeneic T-cell therapeutics. Development of state-of-the-art and beyond viral vector systems to deliver designer CARs coupled with targeted genome editing is expected to generate more effective off-the-shelf CAR T cells with activity against a greater number of cancer types and importantly solid tumors.

Ngai H, Tian G, Courtney AN, et al.
IL-21 Selectively Protects CD62L
J Immunol. 2018; 201(7):2141-2153 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
T cells expressing CD19-specific chimeric Ag receptors (CARs) produce high remission rates in B cell lymphoma, but frequent disease recurrence and challenges in generating sufficient numbers of autologous CAR T cells necessitate the development of alternative therapeutic effectors. Vα24-invariant NKTs have intrinsic antitumor properties and are not alloreactive, allowing for off-the-shelf use of CAR-NKTs from healthy donors. We recently reported that CD62L

Ghorashian S, Amrolia P, Veys P
Open access? Widening access to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy for ALL.
Exp Hematol. 2018; 66:5-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
T cells that are genetically modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) specific for CD19 show great promise for the treatment of relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The first U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a cellular cancer therapy in 2017, Novartis's CD19-targeting CAR T-cell product Kymriah™ within the context of relapsed/refractory pediatric ALL, followed rapidly by approval of Kite's Yescarta™ and, more recently, Kymriah™ for diffuse large B-cell indications in adults, highlights the pace of progress made in this field. In this review, we will consider the latest evidence from CAR T-cell therapy for B-lineage ALL. We discuss the barriers to CAR T-cell therapy for ALL patients and give a perspective on the strategy we have taken to date to widen access to CAR T-cell therapy for UK pediatric patients with high-risk ALL.

Parker BM, Parker JV, Lymperopoulos A, Konda V
A case report: Pharmacology and resistance patterns of three generations of ALK inhibitors in metastatic inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma.
J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2019; 25(5):1226-1230 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Little exists currently in research about the mechanisms of resistance of ALK inhibitors in inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma. It is known, however, that ALK gene rearrangements are common in inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors, similar to non-small cell lung cancer. In roughly 50% of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors, gene rearrangement has been found to occur on chromosome 2 at band 2p23. In non-small cell lung cancer, it has been shown that about a third of patients who progress on the first generation ALK inhibitor, crizotinib develops mutations in the ALK kinase domain. The remaining two-thirds of patients tend to develop amplification of ALK or activation of alternative signaling pathways. Chromoplexy has also been described as a mechanism of resistance, where multiple closed chain rearrangements cause loss-of-function of tumor suppressor genes and gain-in-function of oncogenic fusions. Partner genes that have been identified in IMTs are tropomyosin 3 (TPM3), tropomyosin 4 (TPM4), clathrin heavy chain (CLTC), Ran-binding protein 2 (RANBP2), cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (CARS), 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase/IMP cyclohydrolase (ATIC), and SEC31L1. All are active promoters for the fusion gene, in response to NPM binding. Several inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor case reports indicated that fusion of ALK and RANBP2 led to a more aggressive clinical course. Although the majority of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor case reports have utilized first and second generation ALK inhibitors, all generations of ALK inhibitors have demonstrated some ability to impair disease progression and extend life expectancy. However, at some point in the course of therapy with each generation of ALK inhibitor, resistance ultimately developed. In order to better understand the pharmacology and resistance patterns behind three generations of ALK inhibitors, we sought to examine a patient with metastatic anaplastic lymphoma kinase-1-rearranged inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma to the brain. We also explored the similarities and differences of this clinical case to other inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma case reports involving the use of ALK inhibitors.
CASE REPORT: A rare case of pulmonary IMS with ALK-1 gene rearrangement and multiple brain metastases responded to three generations of ALK inhibitors. However, similar to other case reports, due to the development of resistance and recurrence, the patient eventually succumbed to the disease.
CONCLUSIONS: ALK inhibitors are beneficial in the temporary prevention of progression of disease in patients with inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors. In this case, due to the inability to reveal the fusion partner in this patient via DNA sequencing, it is unknown exactly if that partner was RANBP2 or another ALK partner gene. Brain biopsy tissue was also unobtainable during sequence of ALK due to risk versus benefit, which would have provided insight as which type of ALK resistance mutations the patient was developing. It is likely that this patient had some form of chromoplexy occurring.

Castellarin M, Watanabe K, June CH, et al.
Driving cars to the clinic for solid tumors.
Gene Ther. 2018; 25(3):165-175 [PubMed] Related Publications
FDA approval of chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CART cells) is the culmination of several decades of technology development and interrogation of the properties of these gene therapies. CART cells exist as personalized "living drugs" and have demonstrated astounding anti-tumor efficacy in patients with leukemia and lymphoma. However, the future promise of CART efficacy for solid tumors, the greatest unmet burden, is met with a number of challenges that must be surmounted for effective immune responses. In this review, we discuss the next-generation developments of CARs to target solid tumors, including fine-tuned and combinational-targeting receptors. We consider the structural intricacies of the CAR molecules that influence optimal signaling and CART survival, and review pre-clinical cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic combinational therapy approaches.

Moroz MA, Zanzonico P, Lee JT, Ponomarev V
Ex Vivo Radiolabeling and In Vivo PET Imaging of T Cells Expressing Nuclear Reporter Genes.
Methods Mol Biol. 2018; 1790:153-163 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent advances in T cell-based immunotherapies from bench to bedside have highlighted the need for improved diagnostic imaging of T cell trafficking in vivo and the means to noninvasively investigate failures in treatment response. T cells expressing tumor-associated T cell receptors (TCRs) or engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) face multiple challenges, including possible influence of genetic engineering on T cell efficacy, inhibitory effects of the tumor microenvironment, tumor checkpoint proteins and on-target, off-tissue toxicities (Kershaw et al., Nat Rev Cancer 13:525-541, 2013; Corrigan-Curay et al., Mol Ther 22:1564-1574, 2014; June et al., Sci Trans Med 7:280-287, 2015; Whiteside et al., Clin Cancer Res 22:1845-1855, 2016; Rosenberg and Restifo, Science 348:62-68, 2015). Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with nuclear reporter genes is potentially one of the most sensitive and noninvasive methods to quantitatively track and monitor function of adoptively transferred cells in vivo. However, in vivo PET detection of T cells after administration into patients is limited by the degree of tracer accumulation per cell in situ and cell density in target tissues. We describe here a method for ex vivo radiolabeling of T cells, a reliable and robust technique for PET imaging of the kinetics of T cell biodistribution from the time of administration to subsequent localization in targeted tumors and other tissues of the body. This noninvasive technique can provide valuable information to monitor and identify the potential efficacy of adoptive cell therapies.

Sun S, Hao H, Yang G, et al.
Immunotherapy with CAR-Modified T Cells: Toxicities and Overcoming Strategies.
J Immunol Res. 2018; 2018:2386187 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
T cells modified via chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have emerged as a promising treatment modality. Unparalleled clinical efficacy recently demonstrated in refractory B-cell malignancy has brought this new form of adoptive immunotherapy to the center stage. Nonetheless, its current success has also highlighted its potential treatment-related toxicities. The adverse events observed in the clinical trials are described in this review, after which, some innovative strategies developed to overcome these unwanted toxicities are outlined, including suicide genes, targeted activation, and other novel strategies.

Fraietta JA, Nobles CL, Sammons MA, et al.
Disruption of TET2 promotes the therapeutic efficacy of CD19-targeted T cells.
Nature. 2018; 558(7709):307-312 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Cancer immunotherapy based on genetically redirecting T cells has been used successfully to treat B cell malignancies

Drent E, Poels R, Mulders MJ, et al.
Feasibility of controlling CD38-CAR T cell activity with a Tet-on inducible CAR design.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(5):e0197349 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Recent clinical advances with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have led to the accelerated clinical approval of CD19-CARs to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The CAR T cell therapy is nevertheless associated with toxicities, especially if the CARs are not entirely tumor-specific. Therefore, strategies for controlling the CAR T cell activity are required to improve their safety profile. Here, by using the multiple myeloma (MM)-associated CD38 molecule as target molecule, we tested the feasibility and utility of a doxycycline (DOX) inducible Tet-on CD38-CAR design to control the off-target toxicities of CAR T cells. Using CARs with high affinity to CD38, we demonstrate that this strategy allows the proper induction of CD38-CARs and CAR-mediated T cell cytotoxicity in a DOX-dose dependent manner. Especially when the DOX dose was limited to 10ng/ml, its removal resulted in a relatively rapid decay of CAR- related off-tumor effects within 24 hours, indicating the active controllability of undesired CAR activity. This Tet-on CAR design also allowed us to induce the maximal anti-MM cytotoxic activity of affinity-optimized CD38-CAR T cells, which already display a low toxicity profile, hereby adding a second level of safety to these cells. Collectively, these results indicate the possibility to utilize this DOX inducible CAR-design to actively regulate the CAR-mediated activities of therapeutic T cells. We therefore conclude that the Tet-on system may be more advantageous above suicide-genes to control the potential toxicities of CAR T cells without the need to destroy them permanently.

Shum T, Kruse RL, Rooney CM
Strategies for enhancing adoptive T-cell immunotherapy against solid tumors using engineered cytokine signaling and other modalities.
Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2018; 18(6):653-664 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Cancer therapy has been transformed by the demonstration that tumor-specific T-cells can eliminate tumor cells in a clinical setting with minimal long-term toxicity. However, significant success in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma with T-cells using native receptors or redirected with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) has not been recapitulated in the treatment of solid tumors. This lack of success is likely related to the paucity of costimulatory and cytokine signaling available in solid tumors, in addition to a range of inhibitory mechanisms.
AREAS COVERED: We summarize the latest developments in engineered T-cell immunotherapy, describe the limitations of these approaches in treating solid tumors, and finally highlight several strategies that may be useful in mediating solid tumor responses in the future, while also ensuring safety of engineered cells.
EXPERT OPINION: CAR-T therapies require further engineering to achieve their potential against solid tumors. Facilitating cytokine signaling in CAR T-cells appears to be essential in achieving better responses. However, the engineering of T-cells with potentially unchecked proliferation and potency raises the question of whether the simultaneous combination of enhancements will prove safe, necessitating continued advancements in regulating CAR-T activity at the tumor site and methods to safely switch off these engineered cells.

Miliotou AN, Papadopoulou LC
CAR T-cell Therapy: A New Era in Cancer Immunotherapy.
Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2018; 19(1):5-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Over the years, a number of conventional cytotoxic approaches for neoplastic diseases has been developed. However, due to their limited effectiveness in accordance with the heterogeneity of cancer cells, there is a constant search for therapeutic approaches with improved outcome, such as immunotherapy that utilizes and enhances the normal capacity of the patient's immune system.
METHODS: Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy involves genetic modification of patient's autologous T-cells to express a CAR specific for a tumor antigen, following by ex vivo cell expansion and re-infusion back to the patient. CARs are fusion proteins of a selected single-chain fragment variable from a specific monoclonal antibody and one or more T-cell receptor intracellular signaling domains. This T-cell genetic modification may occur either via viral-based gene transfer methods or nonviral methods, such as DNA-based transposons, CRISPR/Cas9 technology or direct transfer of in vitro transcribed-mRNA by electroporation.
RESULTS: Clinical trials have shown very promising results in end-stage patients with a full recovery of up to 92% in Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Despite such results in hematological cancers, the effective translation of CAR T-cell therapy to solid tumors and the corresponding clinical experience is limited due to therapeutic barriers, like CAR T-cell expansion, persistence, trafficking, and fate within tumors.
CONCLUSION: In this review, the basic design of CARs, the main genetic modification strategies, the safety matters as well as the initial clinical experience with CAR T-cells are described.

Friedman KM, Garrett TE, Evans JW, et al.
Effective Targeting of Multiple B-Cell Maturation Antigen-Expressing Hematological Malignances by Anti-B-Cell Maturation Antigen Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells.
Hum Gene Ther. 2018; 29(5):585-601 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) expression has been proposed as a marker for the identification of malignant plasma cells in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Nearly all MM tumor cells express BCMA, while normal tissue expression is restricted to plasma cells and a subset of mature B cells. Consistent BCMA expression was confirmed on MM biopsies (29/29 BCMA+), and it was further demonstrated that BCMA is expressed in a substantial number of lymphoma samples, as well as primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells. To target BCMA using redirected autologous T cells, lentiviral vectors (LVV) encoding chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) were constructed with four unique anti-BCMA single-chain variable fragments, fused to the CD137 (4-1BB) co-stimulatory and CD3ζ signaling domains. One LVV, BB2121, was studied in detail, and BB2121 CAR-transduced T cells (bb2121) exhibited a high frequency of CAR + T cells and robust in vitro activity against MM cell lines, lymphoma cell lines, and primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia peripheral blood. Based on receptor quantification, bb2121 recognized tumor cells expressing as little as 222 BCMA molecules per cell. The in vivo pharmacology of anti-BCMA CAR T cells was studied in NSG mouse models of human MM, Burkitt lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma, where mice received a single intravenous administration of vehicle, control vector-transduced T cells, or anti-BCMA CAR-transduced T cells. In all models, the vehicle and control CAR T cells failed to inhibit tumor growth. In contrast, treatment with bb2121 resulted in rapid and sustained elimination of the tumors and 100% survival in all treatment models. Together, these data support the further development of anti-BCMA CAR T cells as a potential treatment for not only MM but also some lymphomas.

Georgiadis C, Preece R, Nickolay L, et al.
Long Terminal Repeat CRISPR-CAR-Coupled "Universal" T Cells Mediate Potent Anti-leukemic Effects.
Mol Ther. 2018; 26(5):1215-1227 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Gene editing can be used to overcome allo-recognition, which otherwise limits allogeneic T cell therapies. Initial proof-of-concept applications have included generation of such "universal" T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) against CD19 target antigens combined with transient expression of DNA-targeting nucleases to disrupt the T cell receptor alpha constant chain (TRAC). Although relatively efficient, transgene expression and editing effects were unlinked, yields variable, and resulting T cell populations heterogeneous, complicating dosing strategies. We describe a self-inactivating lentiviral "terminal" vector platform coupling CAR expression with CRISPR/Cas9 effects through incorporation of an sgRNA element into the ΔU3 3' long terminal repeat (LTR). Following reverse transcription and duplication of the hybrid ΔU3-sgRNA, delivery of Cas9 mRNA resulted in targeted TRAC locus cleavage and allowed the enrichment of highly homogeneous (>96%) CAR

Kunert A, Debets R
Engineering T cells for adoptive therapy: outsmarting the tumor.
Curr Opin Immunol. 2018; 51:133-139 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T cells gene-engineered with antigen-specific receptors, whether it be chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs), has proven its feasibility and therapeutic potential in the treatment of tumors. Despite clinical successes, the majority of patients experiences no or non-sustainable clearance of solid tumors, which is attributed to local T cell evasive mechanisms. A rapidly expanding understanding of molecular and cellular events that contribute to a reduction in numbers and/or activation of intra-tumor T cells has facilitated the development of gene-engineering strategies, enabling T cells to counter immune tolerance. Here, we present an overview of gene-engineering approaches and considerations to improve tumor-selectivity and effectiveness of adoptively transferred T cells.

Chen N, Li X, Chintala NK, et al.
Driving CARs on the uneven road of antigen heterogeneity in solid tumors.
Curr Opin Immunol. 2018; 51:103-110 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Uniform and strong expression of CD19, a cell surface antigen, on cells of B-cell lineage is unique to hematologic malignancies. Tumor-associated antigen (TAA) targets in solid tumors exhibit heterogeneity with regards to intensity and distribution, posing a challenge for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Novel CAR designs, such as dual TAA-targeted CARs, tandem CARs, and switchable CARs, in conjunction with inhibitory CARs, are being investigated as means to overcome antigen heterogeneity. In addition to heterogeneity in cancer-cell antigen expression, the key determinants for antitumor responses are CAR expression levels and affinity in T cells. Herein, we review CAR T-cell therapy clinical trials for patients with lung or pancreatic cancers, and provide detailed translational strategies to overcome antigen heterogeneity.

Prinzing BL, Gottschalk SM, Krenciute G
CAR T-cell therapy for glioblastoma: ready for the next round of clinical testing?
Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2018; 18(5):451-461 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The outcome for patients with glioblastoma (GBM) remains poor, and there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutic approaches. T cells genetically modified with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) hold the promise to improve outcomes since they recognize and kill cells through different mechanisms than conventional therapeutics. Areas covered: This article reviews CAR design, tumor associated antigens expressed by GBMs that can be targeted with CAR T cells, preclinical and clinical studies conducted with CAR T cells, and genetic approaches to enhance their effector function. Expert commentary: While preclinical studies have highlighted the potent anti-GBM activity of CAR T cells, the initial foray of CAR T-cell therapies into the clinic resulted only in limited benefits for GBM patients. Additional genetic modification of CAR T cells has resulted in a significant increase in their anti-GBM activity in preclinical models. We are optimistic that clinical testing of these enhanced CAR T cells will be safe and result in improved anti-glioma activity in GBM patients.

Pituch KC, Miska J, Krenciute G, et al.
Adoptive Transfer of IL13Rα2-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells Creates a Pro-inflammatory Environment in Glioblastoma.
Mol Ther. 2018; 26(4):986-995 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
In order to fully harness the potential of immunotherapy with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells, pre-clinical studies must be conducted in immunocompetent animal models that closely mimic the immunosuppressive malignant glioma (MG) microenvironment. Thus, the goal of this project was to study the in vivo fate of T cells expressing CARs specific for the MG antigen IL13Rα2 (IL13Rα2-CARs) in immunocompetent MG models. Murine T cells expressing IL13Rα2-CARs with a CD28.ζ (IL13Rα2-CAR.CD28.ζ) or truncated signaling domain (IL13Rα2-CAR.Δ) were generated by retroviral transduction, and their effector function was evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. IL13Rα2-CAR.CD28.ζ T cells' specificity toward IL13Rα2 was confirmed through cytokine production and cytolytic activity. In vivo, a single intratumoral injection of IL13Rα2-CAR.CD28.ζ T cells significantly extended the survival of IL13Rα2-expressing GL261 and SMA560 glioma-bearing mice; long-term survivors were resistant to re-challenge with IL13Rα2-negative and IL13Rα2-positive tumors. IL13Rα2-CAR.CD28.ζ T cells proliferated, produced cytokines (IFNγ, TNF-α), and promoted a phenotypically pro-inflammatory glioma microenvironment by inducing a significant increase in the number of CD4

Muhammad N, Mao Q, Xia H
CAR T-cells for cancer therapy.
Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev. 2017; 33(2):190-226 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells are redirected T-cells that can recognize cancer antigens in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-independent fashion. A typical CAR is comprised of two main functional domains: an extracellular antigen recognition domain, called a single-chain variable fragment (scFv), and an intracellular signaling domain. Based on the number of intracellular signaling molecules, CARs are categorized into four generations. CAR T-cell therapy has become a promising treatment for hematologic malignancies. However, results of its clinical trials on solid tumors have not been encouraging. Here, we described the structure of CARs and summarized the clinical trials of CD19-targeted CAR T-cells. The side effects, safety management, challenges, and future prospects of CAR T-cells for the treatment of cancer, particularly for solid tumors, were also discussed.

Li S, Tao Z, Xu Y, et al.
CD33-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells with Different Co-Stimulators Showed Potent Anti-Leukemia Efficacy and Different Phenotype.
Hum Gene Ther. 2018; 29(5):626-639 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a kind of a malignant hematologic tumor caused by uncontrolled repopulation of myeloid hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Current therapeutic effects for AML patients are unsatisfactory. In particular, relapsed and refractory AML still have a poor prognosis. T cells modified by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) was an immunotherapeutic strategy for malignancies, which has a broad developing prospect. Most AML cells overexpress the myeloid antigen CD33. Therefore, CD33-specific CAR-T cells with different co-stimulators (CD28, 4-1BB, or both, referred to as CD33 28z.CAR-T cells, CD33 BBz.CAR-T cells, or CD33 28BBz.CAR-T cells, respectively) were developed to evaluate their efficacy against AML. The effectiveness of three types of CD33 CAR-T cells against AML was verified by specific killing effect to AML cells and prolonged survival of a xenograft mouse model. In terms of CAR-T cell efficacy, especially when transfused into human bodies, the persistence of T cells is also an important index, as it is closely associated with the long-term effect of CAR-T cells. Therefore, the characteristics of three types of CD33 CAR-T cells related to the persistence of T cells were examined. It was found that during expansion, CD33 BBz.CAR-T cells had an increased central memory compartment, while CD33 28z.CAR-T cells were predominantly effector memory T cells. In addition, CD33 28z.CAR-T cells were more inclined to become exhausted. The study suggests that incorporation of 4-1BB in CARs may endow T cells with long-lasting survival ability, thus improving the long-term anti-leukemia effect of CAR-T cells, especially when transfused to the human body.

Krackhardt AM, Anliker B, Hildebrandt M, et al.
Clinical translation and regulatory aspects of CAR/TCR-based adoptive cell therapies-the German Cancer Consortium approach.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2018; 67(4):513-523 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T cells genetically modified by TCRs or CARs represents a highly attractive novel therapeutic strategy to treat malignant diseases. Various approaches for the development of such gene therapy medicinal products (GTMPs) have been initiated by scientists in recent years. To date, however, the number of clinical trials commenced in Germany and Europe is still low. Several hurdles may contribute to the delay in clinical translation of these therapeutic innovations including the significant complexity of manufacture and non-clinical testing of these novel medicinal products, the limited knowledge about the intricate regulatory requirements of the academic developers as well as limitations of funds for clinical testing. A suitable good manufacturing practice (GMP) environment is a key prerequisite and platform for the development, validation, and manufacture of such cell-based therapies, but may also represent a bottleneck for clinical translation. The German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) have initiated joint efforts of researchers and regulators to facilitate and advance early phase, academia-driven clinical trials. Starting with a workshop held in 2016, stakeholders from academia and regulatory authorities in Germany have entered into continuing discussions on a diversity of scientific, manufacturing, and regulatory aspects, as well as the benefits and risks of clinical application of CAR/TCR-based cell therapies. This review summarizes the current state of discussions of this cooperative approach providing a basis for further policy-making and suitable modification of processes.

Smith M, Zakrzewski J, James S, Sadelain M
Posttransplant chimeric antigen receptor therapy.
Blood. 2018; 131(10):1045-1052 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Therapeutic T-cell engineering is emerging as a powerful approach to treat refractory hematological malignancies. Its most successful embodiment to date is based on the use of second-generation chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) targeting CD19, a cell surface molecule found in most B-cell leukemias and lymphomas. Remarkable complete remissions have been obtained with autologous T cells expressing CD19 CARs in patients with relapsed, chemo-refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Allogeneic CAR T cells may also be harnessed to treat relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. However, the use of donor T cells poses unique challenges owing to potential alloreactivity. We review different approaches to mitigate the risk of causing or aggravating graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), including CAR therapies based on donor leukocyte infusion, virus-specific T cells, T-cell receptor-deficient T cells, lymphoid progenitor cells, and regulatory T cells. Advances in CAR design, T-cell selection and gene editing are poised to enable the safe use of allogeneic CAR T cells without incurring GVHD.

Harrer DC, Dörrie J, Schaft N
Chimeric Antigen Receptors in Different Cell Types: New Vehicles Join the Race.
Hum Gene Ther. 2018; 29(5):547-558 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adoptive cellular therapy has evolved into a powerful force in the battle against cancer, holding promise for curative responses in patients with advanced and refractory tumors. Autologous T cells, reprogrammed to target malignant cells via the expression of a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) represent the frontrunner in this approach. Tremendous clinical regressions have been achieved using CAR-T cells against a variety of cancers both in numerous preclinical studies and in several clinical trials, most notably against acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and resulted in a very recent United States Food and Drug Administration approval of the first CAR-T-cell therapy. In most studies CARs are transferred to conventional αβT cells. Nevertheless, transferring a CAR into different cell types, such as γδT cells, natural killer cells, natural killer T cells, and myeloid cells has yet received relatively little attention, although these cell types possess unique features that may aid in surmounting some of the hurdles CAR-T-cell therapy currently faces. This review focuses on CAR therapy using effectors beyond conventional αβT cells and discusses those strategies against the backdrop of developing a safe, powerful, and durable cancer therapy.

Schwarzbich MA, Witzens-Harig M
Cellular Immunotherapy in B-Cell Malignancy.
Oncol Res Treat. 2017; 40(11):674-681 [PubMed] Related Publications
In recent years, cellular immunotherapy in B-cell malignancies has been driven by adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). CARs consist of a single chain variable fragment (scFv) of a monoclonal antibody, a spacer domain, a transmembrane domain, an intracellular signaling domain, and additional costimulatory domains. The bulk of clinical data available is on CD19-targeting CAR T cells for the treatment of B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (B-ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Results so far have been promising with impressive rates and depth of remission especially among B-ALL patients. However, CAR T-cell therapy is a complex multi-step process, and clinical trials so far differ profoundly in CAR construct used, gene transfer method, composition of the cellular product, lymphodepletion, and CAR T-cell dose used. Randomized trials will be needed to conclusively evaluate the implications of these differences. The treatment concept is associated with significant neurotoxicity and potentially lethal cytokine release syndrome, both of which require specific management. Improvements in CAR design may help to overcome toxicity, the effects of an immunosuppressive microenvironment, and tumor escape by development of antigen-negative clones. This review will explain the mechanism of action, summarize the clinical experience with this treatment modality so far, and explore future developments in the field.

Perales MA, Kebriaei P, Kean LS, Sadelain M
Building a Safer and Faster CAR: Seatbelts, Airbags, and CRISPR.
Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2018; 24(1):27-31 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Therapeutic T cell engineering has recently garnered widespread interest because of the success of CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy. CARs are synthetic receptors for antigen that redirect the specificity and reprogram the function of the T cells in which they are genetically introduced. CARs targeting CD19, a cell surface molecule found in most leukemias and lymphomas, have yielded high remission rates in patients with chemorefractory, relapsed disease, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The toxicities of this treatment include B cell aplasia, cytokine release syndrome (CRS), and neurotoxicity. Although reversible in most instances, these toxicities may require specific medical interventions, including transfer to intensive care to treat severe CRS. Guidelines for managing these toxicities are emerging. The recent report of a nonhuman primate model for CRS is poised to help advance the management of this syndrome. Finally, new engineering modalities, based on the use of targeted nucleases like CRISPR, may further enhance the efficacy and safety of CAR T cells.

Mingzhang R, Zijun Z, Lixia Y, et al.
The construction and application of a cell line resistant to novel subgroup avian leukosis virus (ALV-K) infection.
Arch Virol. 2018; 163(1):89-98 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
A novel avian leukosis viruses (ALV) subgroup named ALV-K was recently isolated from Chinese indigenous chickens which is different from the subgroups (A to E and J) that have previously been reported to infect chickens. More and more ALV-K strains have recently been isolated from local breeds of Chinese chickens. However, there are no more effective diagnostic methods for ALV-K other than virus isolation followed by envelope gene sequencing and comparison. Viral infection can be blocked through expression of the viral receptor-binding protein. In this study, we have engineered a cell line, DF-1/K, that expresses ALV-K env protein and thereby confers resistance to ALV-K infection. DF-1/K can be used in combination with the ALV-K susceptible cell line DF-1 as a specific diagnostic tool for ALV-K and provides a good tool for further research into the molecular mechanisms of interaction between ALV-K env protein and the host cell receptor.

Gomes-Silva D, Mukherjee M, Srinivasan M, et al.
Tonic 4-1BB Costimulation in Chimeric Antigen Receptors Impedes T Cell Survival and Is Vector-Dependent.
Cell Rep. 2017; 21(1):17-26 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Antigen-independent tonic signaling by chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) can increase differentiation and exhaustion of T cells, limiting their potency. Incorporating 4-1BB costimulation in CARs may enable T cells to resist this functional exhaustion; however, the potential ramifications of tonic 4-1BB signaling in CAR T cells remain unclear. Here, we found that tonic CAR-derived 4-1BB signaling can produce toxicity in T cells via continuous TRAF2-dependent activation of the nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) pathway and augmented FAS-dependent cell death. This mechanism was amplified in a non-self-inactivating gammaretroviral vector through positive feedback on the long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter, further enhancing CAR expression and tonic signaling. Attenuating CAR expression by substitution with a self-inactivating lentiviral vector minimized tonic signaling and improved T cell expansion and anti-tumor function. These studies illuminate the interaction between tonic CAR signaling and the chosen expression platform and identify inhibitory properties of the 4-1BB costimulatory domain that have direct implications for rational CAR design.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. CARS, Cancer Genetics Web: Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 31 August, 2019     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999