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Chimeric antigen receptors that trigger phagocytosis.

  • Author(s): Morrissey, Meghan A
  • Williamson, Adam P
  • Steinbach, Adriana M
  • Roberts, Edward W
  • Kern, Nadja
  • Headley, Mark B
  • Vale, Ronald D
  • et al.

Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors that reprogram T cells to kill cancer. The success of CAR-T cell therapies highlights the promise of programmed immunity and suggests that applying CAR strategies to other immune cell lineages may be beneficial. Here, we engineered a family of Chimeric Antigen Receptors for Phagocytosis (CAR-Ps) that direct macrophages to engulf specific targets, including cancer cells. CAR-Ps consist of an extracellular antibody fragment, which can be modified to direct CAR-P activity towards specific antigens. By screening a panel of engulfment receptor intracellular domains, we found that the cytosolic domains from Megf10 and FcRɣ robustly triggered engulfment independently of their native extracellular domain. We show that CAR-Ps drive specific engulfment of antigen-coated synthetic particles and whole human cancer cells. Addition of a tandem PI3K recruitment domain increased cancer cell engulfment. Finally, we show that CAR-P expressing murine macrophages reduce cancer cell number in co-culture by over 40%.

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