Tailored chemokine receptor modification improves homing of adoptive therapy T cells in a spontaneous tumor model

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In recent years, tumor Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT), using administration of ex vivo-enhanced T cells from the cancer patient, has become a promising therapeutic strategy. However, efficient homing of the anti-tumoral T cells to the tumor or metastatic site still remains a substantial hurdle. Yet the tumor site itself attracts both tumor-promoting and anti-tumoral immune cell populations through the secretion of chemokines. We attempted to identify these chemokines in a model of spontaneous metastasis, in order to "hijack" their function by expressing matching chemokine receptors on the cytotoxic T cells used in ACT, thus allowing us to enhance the recruitment of these therapeutic cells. Here we show that this enabled the modified T cells to preferentially home into spontaneous lymph node metastases in the TRAMP model, as well as in an inducible tumor model, E.G7-OVA. Due to the improved homing, the modified CD8+ T cells displayed an enhanced in vivo protective effect, as seen by a significant delay in E.G7-OVA tumor growth. These results offer a proof of principle for the tailored application of chemokine receptor modification as a means of improving T cell homing to the target tumor, thus enhancing ACT efficacy. Surprisingly, we also uncover that the formation of the peri-tumoral fibrotic capsule, which has been shown to impede T cell access to tumor, is partially dependent on host T cell presence. This finding, which would be impossible to observe in immunodeficient model studies, highlights possible conflicting roles that T cells may play in a therapeutic context.




Garetto, S., Sardi, C., Martini, E., Roselli, G., Morone, D., Angioni, R., … Kallikourdis, M. (2016). Tailored chemokine receptor modification improves homing of adoptive therapy T cells in a spontaneous tumor model. Oncotarget, 7(28), 43010–43026. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9280

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