TCR β chain-directed bispecific antibodies for the treatment of T cell cancers

Suman Paul, Alexander H. Pearlman, Jacqueline Douglass, Brian J. Mog, Emily Han Chung Hsiue, Michael S. Hwang, Sarah R. DiNapoli, Maximilian F. Konig, Patrick A. Brown, Katharine M. Wright, Surojit Sur, Sandra B. Gabelli, Yana Li, Gabriel Ghiaur, Drew M. Pardoll, Nickolas Papadopoulos, Chetan Bettegowda, Kenneth W. Kinzler, Shibin Zhou, Bert Vogelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Immunotherapies such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and bispecific antibodies redirect healthy T cells to kill cancer cells expressing the target antigen. The pan-B cell antigen-targeting immunotherapies have been remarkably successful in treating B cell malignancies. Such therapies also result in the near-complete loss of healthy B cells, but this depletion is well tolerated by patients. Although analogous targeting of pan-T cell markers could, in theory, help control T cell cancers, the concomitant healthy T cell depletion would result in severe and unacceptable immunosuppression. Thus, therapies directed against T cell cancers require more selective targeting. Here, we describe an approach to target T cell cancers through T cell receptor (TCR) antigens. Each T cell, normal or malignant, expresses a unique TCR β chain generated from 1 of 30 TCR β chain variable gene families (TRBV1 to TRBV30). We hypothesized that bispecific antibodies targeting a single TRBV family member expressed in malignant T cells could promote killing of these cancer cells, while preserving healthy T cells that express any of the other 29 possible TRBV family members. We addressed this hypothesis by demonstrating that bispecific antibodies targeting TRBV5-5 (α-V5) or TRBV12 (α-V12) specifically lyse relevant malignant T cell lines and patient-derived T cell leukemias in vitro. Treatment with these antibodies also resulted in major tumor regressions in mouse models of human T cell cancers. This approach provides an off-the-shelf, T cell cancer selective targeting approach that preserves enough healthy T cells to maintain cellular immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabd3595
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number584
StatePublished - Mar 10 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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