Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Traditional cancer treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, have demonstrated very limited efficacy for patients with late-stage disease. Cancer immunotherapy has shown great promise in the treatment of patients with late-stage disease. CAR T cell application has produced impressive antitumor responses, but it is still associated with several safety concerns about the side-effects it may cause. We designed and screened a T cell-specific chimeric promoter, which was only active after antigen engagement. We placed this promoter upstream of the anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (anti-PD1) antibody gene, and this construct was co-transfected with the CAR construct into T cells. In vitro and in vivo, CAR T cells showed increased secretion of anti-PD-1 antibody under control of the promoter. The chimeric promoter may be a promising strategy to manipulate the content of immune checkpoint inhibitors or other proteins in future therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment.
Dr. Haixia Gao is currently the director of Nucleic Acid Center at Shanghai Cell Therapy Group, a company focuses on the development of cell therapy technology. She joined Shanghai Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital as an assistant researcher in 2010, and joined Shanghai Cell Therapy Group CO., LTD in 2017. With years of experience in basic research of cancer immunology, she is dedicated to develop innovative CAR T therapy for treatment of cancer. Her current research focuses on tumor immunotherapy with non-viral vector and mRNA-based therapeutics.