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Cancer Res. 2004 Dec 15;64(24):9160-6.

Specific recognition and killing of glioblastoma multiforme by interleukin 13-zetakine redirected cytolytic T cells.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute, Departments of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA.


The interleukin (IL) 13 receptor alpha2 (IL13Ralpha2) is a glioma-restricted cell-surface epitope not otherwise detected within the central nervous system. Here, we describe a novel approach for targeting glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) with IL13Ralpha2-specific cytolytic T cells (CTLs) by their genetic modification to express a membrane-tethered IL13 cytokine chimeric T-cell antigen receptor, or zetakine. Our prototype zetakine incorporates an IL13 E13Y mutein for selective binding to IL13Ralpha2. Human IL13-zetakine(+)CD8(+) CTL transfectants display IL13Ralpha2-specific antitumor effector function including tumor cell cytolysis, T(C)1 cytokine production, and zetakine-regulated autocrine proliferation. The E13Y amino acid substitution of the IL13 mutein of the zetakine endows CTL transfectants with the capacity to discriminate between IL13Ralpha2(+) GBM targets from targets expressing IL13Ralpha1. In vivo, the adoptive transfer of IL13-zetakine(+)CD8(+) CTL clones results in the regression of established human glioblastoma orthotopic xenografts. Pilot clinical trials have been initiated to evaluate the feasibility and safety of local-regional delivery of autologous IL13-zetakine redirected CTL clones in patients with recurrent GBM. Our IL13-zetakine is a prototype of a new class of chimeric immunoreceptors that signal through an engineered immune synapse composed of membrane-tethered cytokine muteins bound to cell-surface cytokine receptors on tumors.

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