Reengineering chimeric antigen receptor T cells for targeted therapy of autoimmune disease

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Science  30 Jun 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6756

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Ideally, therapy for autoimmune diseases should eliminate pathogenic autoimmune cells while sparing protective immunity, but feasible strategies for such an approach have been elusive. Here, we show that in the antibody-mediated autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV), autoantigen-based chimeric immunoreceptors can direct T cells to kill autoreactive B lymphocytes through the specificity of the B cell receptor (BCR). We engineered human T cells to express a chimeric autoantibody receptor (CAAR), consisting of the PV autoantigen, desmoglein (Dsg) 3, fused to CD137-CD3ζ signaling domains. Dsg3 CAAR-T cells exhibit specific cytotoxicity against cells expressing anti-Dsg3 BCRs in vitro and expand, persist, and specifically eliminate Dsg3-specific B cells in vivo. CAAR-T cells may provide an effective and universal strategy for specific targeting of autoreactive B cells in antibody-mediated autoimmune disease.

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