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J Cell Mol Med. 2012 Mar;16(3):569-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2011.01343.x.

NK cells engineered to express a GD2 -specific antigen receptor display built-in ADCC-like activity against tumour cells of neuroectodermal origin.

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Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma (NB) represents a major challenge in paediatric oncology. Alternative therapeutic strategies include antibodies targeting the disialoganglioside GD(2) , which is expressed at high levels on NB cells, and infusion of donor-derived natural killer (NK) cells. To combine specific antibody-mediated recognition of NB cells with the potent cytotoxic activity of NK cells, here we generated clonal derivatives of the clinically applicable human NK cell line NK-92 that stably express a GD(2) -specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) comprising an anti-GD(2) ch14.18 single chain Fv antibody fusion protein with CD3-ζ chain as a signalling moiety. CAR expression by gene-modified NK cells facilitated effective recognition and elimination of established GD(2) expressing NB cells, which were resistant to parental NK-92. In the case of intrinsically NK-sensitive NB cell lines, we observed markedly increased cell killing activity of retargeted NK-92 cells. Enhanced cell killing was strictly dependent on specific recognition of the target antigen and could be blocked by GD(2) -specific antibody or anti-idiotypic antibody occupying the CAR's cell recognition domain. Importantly, strongly enhanced cytotoxicity of the GD(2) -specific NK cells was also found against primary NB cells and GD(2) expressing tumour cells of other origins, demonstrating the potential clinical utility of the retargeted effector cells.

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