Characterization and functional analysis of scFv-based chimeric antigen receptors to redirect T Cells to IL13Rα2-positive glioma

Giedre Krenciute, Simone Krebs, David Torres, Meng Fen Wu, Hao Liu, Gianpietro Dotti, Xiao Nan Li, Maciej S. Lesniak, Irina V. Balyasnikova, Stephen Gottschalk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Immunotherapy with T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) is an attractive approach to improve outcomes for patients with glioblastoma (GBM). IL13Rα2 is expressed at a high frequency in GBM but not in normal brain, making it a promising CAR T-cell therapy target. IL13Rα2-specific CARs generated up to date contain mutated forms of IL13 as an antigen-binding domain. While these CARs target IL13Rα2, they also recognize IL13Rα1, which is broadly expressed. To overcome this limitation, we constructed a panel of IL13Rα2-specific CARs that contain the IL13Rα2-specific single-chain variable fragment (scFv) 47 as an antigen binding domain, short or long spacer regions, a transmembrane domain, and endodomains derived from costimulatory molecules and CD3.ζ (IL13Rα2-CARs). IL13Rα2-CAR T cells recognized IL13Rα2-positive target cells in coculture and cytotoxicity assays with no cross-reactivity to IL13Rα1. However, only IL13Rα2-CAR T cells with a short spacer region produced IL2 in an antigen-dependent fashion. In vivo, T cells expressing IL13Rα2-CARs with short spacer regions and CD28.ζ, 41BB.ζ, and CD28.OX40.ζ endodomains had potent anti-glioma activity conferring a significant survival advantage in comparison to mice that received control T cells. Thus, IL13Rα2-CAR T cells hold the promise to improve current IL13Rα2-targeted immunotherapy approaches for GBM and other IL13Rα2-positive malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-363
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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