Researchers at UCSF have developed a novel, doubtlessly life-saving strategy which will stop antibodies from triggering immune rejection of engineered therapeutic and transplant cells.

Rejection mediated by antibodies-;versus the chemical assault initiated by immune cells-;has confirmed notably difficult to resolve, an element holding held again the event of a few of these remedies.

The brand new technique, described within the Monday, Jan. 2, 2023 concern of Nature Biotechnology, concerned utilizing a “decoy” receptor to seize the antibodies and take them out of circulation earlier than they may kill the therapeutic cells, that they deal with as invading foreigners. The tactic may additionally be helpful for organ transplants.

This antibody-mediated rejection is absolutely laborious to beat. So, relatively than making an attempt to suppress the affected person’s immune system, we regarded for methods we will alter the cells that the affected person will obtain and higher allow them to outlive.”

Tobias Deuse, MD, the Julien I.E. Hoffman, M.D. Chair in Cardiac Surgical procedure and senior writer on the research

Defending friendly-but-foreign cells

Probably the most celebrated mobile therapies within the U.S. are chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. These CAR-T therapies are sometimes used to efficiently deal with particular types of lymphomas, a sort of often-deadly most cancers. However deploying them towards strong tumors has proved way more troublesome.

Till just lately, most CAR-T therapies have been made utilizing the affected person’s personal cells, however the long-term industrial viability of mobile therapies of every type will depend on “allogeneic” cells -; mass-produced therapeutic cells grown from a supply outdoors the affected person.

As with transplanted organs, the recipient’s immune system is more likely to deal with any outsider cells, or tissues developed from them, as international and to reject them, in accordance with Deuse.

“We now have been by way of this with organ transplantation, so we all know what’s coming for mobile transplantation,” mentioned Deuse, a cardiac transplant surgeon who is not any stranger to the troubles attributable to immune rejection. “This concern is more likely to be a extreme impediment in any kind of allogeneic cell transplantation.”

Scientific trials of allogeneic CAR-T therapies have had worse outcomes than remedies derived from the sufferers’ cells, Deuse famous, including that immunotherapy entails the added problem of those free-floating cells being extra uncovered to immune assault than these in a transplanted organ.

“We now have to seek out higher methods to guard these cells,” he mentioned.

Duping antibodies with a decoy

Usually when an antibody binds to a cell, it acts as a type of tag, calling out for an immune cell to bind to the antibody and set off an environment friendly technique of destroying the tagged cell. To cease this chain response, Deuse and his staff devised a technique to catch the antibodies earlier than they bind to cells, stopping activation of the immune response.

The researchers genetically engineered three forms of cells-;insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells, thyroid cells, and CAR-T cells-;so that every kind made and displayed massive numbers of a protein known as CD64 on their surfaces.

On these engineered cells, CD64, which tightly binds the antibodies answerable for the sort of immune rejection, acted as a form of decoy, capturing the antibodies and binding them to the engineered cell, so they would not activate immune cells.

“We noticed that we will snatch up excessive ranges of those antibodies, which resulted in very sturdy safety for the therapeutic cells,” mentioned Deuse. “That is clear proof-of-concept for this strategy.”

There’s extra work to do earlier than the strategy might be examined on cells which might be designed to be therapeutics or transplanted cells, he mentioned. Whereas such cells are biologically refined, they’re additionally costly and laborious to fabricate.

“My hope is that our idea may help convey concerning the growth of universally usable allogeneic cells.” mentioned Deuse. “That may make therapy with mobile therapies cheaper and extra accessible, placing them inside attain for a lot of extra sufferers.”


Journal reference:

Gravina, A., et al. (2022) Safety of cell therapeutics from antibody-mediated killing by CD64 overexpression. Nature Biotechnology.

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