IL-15 superagonist N-803 improves IFNγ production and killing of leukemia and ovarian cancer cells by CD34(+) progenitor-derived NK cells
SourceCancer Immunology Immunotherapy, 70, 5, (2021), pp. 1305-1321
Article / Letter to editor
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Cell Biology (UMC)
Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy
SubjectRadboudumc 2: Cancer development and immune defence RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell transfer is a potential immunotherapy to eliminate and control cancer. A promising source are CD34 + hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), since large numbers of cytotoxic NK cells can be generated. Effective boosting of NK cell function can be achieved by interleukin (IL)-15. However, its in vivo half-life is short and potent trans-presentation by IL-15 receptor α (IL-15Rα) is absent. Therefore, ImmunityBio developed IL-15 superagonist N-803, which combines IL-15 with an activating mutation, an IL-15Rα sushi domain for trans-presentation, and IgG1-Fc for increased half-life. Here, we investigated whether and how N-803 improves HPC-NK cell functionality in leukemia and ovarian cancer (OC) models in vitro and in vivo in OC-bearing immunodeficient mice. We used flow cytometry-based assays, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, microscopy-based serial killing assays, and bioluminescence imaging, for in vitro and in vivo experiments. N-803 increased HPC-NK cell proliferation and interferon (IFN)γ production. On leukemia cells, co-culture with HPC-NK cells and N-803 increased ICAM-1 expression. Furthermore, N-803 improved HPC-NK cell-mediated (serial) leukemia killing. Treating OC spheroids with HPC-NK cells and N-803 increased IFNγ-induced CXCL10 secretion, and target killing after prolonged exposure. In immunodeficient mice bearing human OC, N-803 supported HPC-NK cell persistence in combination with total human immunoglobulins to prevent Fc-mediated HPC-NK cell depletion. Moreover, this combination treatment decreased tumor growth. In conclusion, N-803 is a promising IL-15-based compound that boosts HPC-NK cell expansion and functionality in vitro and in vivo. Adding N-803 to HPC-NK cell therapy could improve cancer immunotherapy.
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