Redirected T cells that target pancreatic adenocarcinoma antigens eliminate tumors and metastases in mice

Amit Maliar, Charlotte Servais, Tova Waks, Markus Chmielewski, Ron Lavy, Peter Altevogt, Hinrich Abken, Zelig Eshhar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAC) is often diagnosed at an advanced and inoperable stage, and standard systemic treatments are generally ineffective. We investigated the effects of adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T cells that express chimeric antibody-based receptors (CAR) to mice with primary and metastatic PAC xenografts. Methods: Human effector T cells were genetically modified to express CAR against Her2/neu or CD24, a putative PAC stem cell antigen. The antitumor reactivity of the engineered T cells (T-bodies) was evaluated in SCID mice with different PAC xenografts. A total of 1 × 107 T-bodies were injected via the tail vein or directly administered to the subcutaneous tumor on 3 or 4 alternating days. Mice were then given twice-daily intraperitoneal injections of interleukin-2 for 10 days. Results: Intratumor injection of human CD24 and Her2/neu-specific T-bodies completely eliminated the tumors from most animals. Intravenous injection of T-bodies reduced tumor size and prolonged survival of mice with orthotopically transplanted tumors; more than 50% of animals appeared to be disease-free more than 2 months later. Additional systemic administration of T-bodies 8 weeks after the initial injection eliminated primary tumors, along with liver and draining lymph node metastases. A single administration of the Her2/neu-specific T-bodies prolonged the survival of mice with tumors in which most of the cells expressed the target antigen. In contrast, the CD24-specific T-bodies prolonged survival of mice in which only a subpopulation of the tumor cells expressed the antigen. Conclusions: CAR-redirected T cells stop growth and metastasis of PAC xenografts in mice. T-bodies specific to CD24, a putative cancer stem cell antigen, were effective against PAC xenografts that had only a subset of antigen-expressing cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1384.e5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Friends of Assaf Harofeh Medical Center
Moross Cancer Center
Wilhelm Sander-Stiftung
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Weizmann Institute of Science
Israel Science Foundation


    • Adoptive Cell Therapy
    • Chimeric Antigen Receptor
    • Immunotherapy
    • Pancreatic Cancer


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