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CARPOOL: A library-based platform to rapidly identify next generation chimeric antigen receptors

By Taeyoon Kyung, Khloe S Gordon, Caleb R Perez, Patrick V. Holec, Azucena Ramos, Angela Q Zhang, Yunpeng Liu, Catherine Koch, Alina Starchenko, Brian Joughin, Douglas A Lauffenburger, Darrell J Irvine, Michael T Hemann, Michael E Birnbaum

Posted 11 Jul 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.07.09.450900

CD19-targeted CAR therapies have successfully treated B cell leukemias and lymphomas, but many responders later relapse or experience toxicities. CAR intracellular domains (ICDs) are key to converting antigen recognition into anti-tumor effector functions. Despite the many possible immune signaling domain combinations that could be included in CARs, almost all CARs currently rely upon CD3{zeta}, CD28, and/or 4-1BB signaling. To explore the signaling potential of CAR ICDs, we generated a library of 700,000 CD19 CAR molecules with diverse signaling domains and developed a high throughput screening platform to enable optimization of CAR signaling for anti-tumor functions. Our strategy identifies CARs with novel signaling domain combinations that elicit distinct T cell behaviors from a clinically available CAR, including enhanced proliferation and persistence, lower exhaustion, potent cytotoxicity in an in vitro tumor rechallenge condition, and comparable tumor control in vivo. This approach is readily adaptable to numerous disease models, cell types, and selection conditions, making it a promising tool for rapidly improving adoptive cell therapies and expanding their utility to new disease indications.

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