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Blood. 2011 Aug 4;118(5):1255-63. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-02-337360. Epub 2011 Jun 7.

A transgene-encoded cell surface polypeptide for selection, in vivo tracking, and ablation of engineered cells.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, USA.


An unmet need in cell engineering is the availability of a single transgene encoded, functionally inert, human polypeptide that can serve multiple purposes, including ex vivo cell selection, in vivo cell tracking, and as a target for in vivo cell ablation. Here we describe a truncated human EGFR polypeptide (huEGFRt) that is devoid of extracellular N-terminal ligand binding domains and intracellular receptor tyrosine kinase activity but retains the native amino acid sequence, type I transmembrane cell surface localization, and a conformationally intact binding epitope for pharmaceutical-grade anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody, cetuximab (Erbitux). After lentiviral transduction of human T cells with vectors that coordinately express tumor-specific chimeric antigen receptors and huEGFRt, we show that huEGFRt serves as a highly efficient selection epitope for chimeric antigen receptor(+) T cells using biotinylated cetuximab in conjunction with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP)-grade anti-biotin immunomagnetic microbeads. Moreover, huEGFRt provides a cell surface marker for in vivo tracking of adoptively transferred T cells using both flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry, and a target for cetuximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and in vivo elimination. The versatility of huEGFRt and the availability of pharmaceutical-grade reagents for its clinical application denote huEGFRt as a significant new tool for cellular engineering.

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