Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells are genetically engineered T cells, directed against a tumor-associated antigen. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from CAR-T cells (CAR-T EVs) may preserve CAR-T activity and overcome one of the major obstacles responsible for CAR-T cell failure in patients with solid tumors. This study aimed to compare CAR-T EVs with their parental cells and explore their cell penetration and cytotoxic activity. Anti-HER-2 CARs were stimulated with specific target cells. EVs were isolated from the cell media and characterized for their content and functions. We found that CAR-T EVs contained a mixture of small and large EVs. Stimulated anti-HER-2+ CAR-T EVs expressed lower cytokine levels compared with their parental CAR-T cells (such as interferon gamma). Higher levels of granzyme B were found in CAR-T EVs (≥20 × ) compared with EVs from unstimulated cells (p < 0.001). Anti-HER-2+ CAR-T EVs bound and penetrated specifically into HER-2 expressing target cells. Similar cytotoxic effects measured by caspase-3/7 activity were found in CAR-T cells and their derived EVs. However, while the CAR-T cells induced massive apoptosis during the first 24 h, CAR-T EVs required 60 - 90 h. In summary, CAR-T EVs provide a novel potent immunotherapy approach that may be effective against solid tumors.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2021, by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2021.
- cancer therapy