Developing a membrane-proximal CD33-targeting CAR T cell

May, 05, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


CD33 is a tractable target in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, but clinical success is lacking.


We developed 3P14HLh28Z, a novel CD33-directed CD28/CD3Z-based CAR T cell derived from a high-affinity binder obtained through membrane-proximal fragment immunization in humanized mice.


We found that immunization exclusively with the membrane-proximal domain of CD33 is necessary for identification of membrane-proximal binders in humanized mice. Compared with clinically validated lintuzumab-based CAR T cells targeting distal CD33 epitopes, 3P14HLh28Z showed enhanced in vitro functionality as well as superior tumor control and increased overall survival in both low antigen density and clinically relevant patient-derived xenograft models. Increased activation and enhanced polyfunctionality led to enhanced efficacy.


Showing for the first time that a membrane-proximal CAR is superior to a membrane-distal one in the setting of CD33 targeting, our results demonstrate the rationale for targeting membrane-proximal epitopes with high-affinity binders. We also demonstrate the importance of optimizing CAR T cells for functionality in settings of both low antigen density and clinically relevant patient-derived models.

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