NY-ESO-1 TCR single edited stem and central memory T cells to treat multiple myeloma without graft-versus-host disease

Sara Mastaglio, Pietro Genovese, Zulma Magnani, Eliana Ruggiero, Elisa Landoni, Barbara Camisa, Giulia Schiroli, Elena Provasi, Angelo Lombardo, Andreas Reik, Nicoletta Cieri, Martina Rocchi, Giacomo Oliveira, Giulia Escobar, Monica Casucci, Bernhard Gentner, Antonello Spinelli, Anna Mondino, Attilio Bondanza, Luca Vago, Maurilio Ponzoni, Fabio Ciceri, Michael C. Holmes, Luigi Naldini and Chiara Bonini

Key Points

  • TCR SE is a clinically feasible approach to rapidly produce highly performing and specific tumor reactive T cells.

  • NY-ESO-1 TCR SE T cells kill multiple myeloma in the absence of off-target reactivity including alloreactivity.


Transfer of T-cell receptors (TCRs) specific for tumor-associated antigens is a promising approach for cancer immunotherapy. We developed the TCR gene editing technology that is based on the knockout of the endogenous TCR α and β genes, followed by the introduction of tumor-specific TCR genes, and that proved safer and more effective than conventional TCR gene transfer. Although successful, complete editing requires extensive cell manipulation and 4 transduction procedures. Here we propose a novel and clinically feasible TCR “single editing” (SE) approach, based on the disruption of the endogenous TCR α chain only, followed by the transfer of genes encoding for a tumor-specific TCR. We validated SE with the clinical grade HLA-A2 restricted NY-ESO-1157-165–specific TCR. SE allowed the rapid production of high numbers of tumor-specific T cells, with optimal TCR expression and preferential stem memory and central memory phenotype. Similarly to unedited T cells redirected by TCR gene transfer (TCR transferred [TR]), SE T cells efficiently killed NY-ESO-1pos targets; however, although TR cells proved highly alloreactive, SE cells showed a favorable safety profile. Accordingly, when infused in NSG mice previously engrafted with myeloma, SE cells mediated tumor rejection without inducing xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease, thus resulting in significantly higher survival than that observed in mice treated with TR cells. Overall, single TCR gene editing represents a clinically feasible approach that is able to increase the safety and efficacy of cancer adoptive immunotherapy.

  • Submitted August 6, 2016.
  • Accepted May 22, 2017.
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