Abstract: HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 32 million lives so far. However, the increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment has made it less threatening. Recently, convertibleCAR-T cell has been a hot issue for its great power to kill HIV-infected cells.
CAR-T is the short name for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Immunotherapy. To put it simply, CAR-T is to transform the patient's immune T cells in vitro to make them recognize the antigens on the surface of tumor cells, and then transfer these cells back to the patient to achieve the therapeutic effect of identifying and killing cancer cells.
In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two CAR-T cell therapies for the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. Since T cells can be transformed to identify and kill cancer cells, can CAR-T technology be used to transform T cells to kill other cells, for example, cells infected with HIV?
On October 25, 2019, the international academic journal Cell published the latest research which developed a new type of CAR-T called convertibleCAR-T. This new version of CAR-T shows great hope in combating HIV and can greatly reduce its continued existence under antiretroviral therapy HIV reservoir in patients.
The research team has been testing anti-HIV antibodies in the laboratory, that is, broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAb). The researchers combined bNAb with convertibleCAR cells to obtain the required lethality. The experimental results are amazing: after combining convertibleCAR cells with Mic-bNAbs, they specifically killed CD4 T cells infected with HIV, but not uninfected cells.
In addition, it can kill CD4 T cells infected with multiple virus strains. When combined with Mic-bNAb and MicAbody (MicAbody is comprised of full-length broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies coupled to a mutated ligand) targeting cancer cells, convertibleCAR cells can effectively kill cancer cells and HIV-infected cells mixed in the same culture. After 48 hours, ConvertibleCAR/Mic-bNAb had cleared more than half of the activated, HIV-expressing cells.
But before this new technology enters the clinic phase, there are still many obstacles. For example, ConvertibleCAR cells produced in the laboratory may trigger rejection reactions. Therefore, it is necessary to explore universal donor cells and use genetic modification to eliminate such possible rejection reactions.
A webinar organized by Creative Biolabs will be held on May 7th, 2020 with the subject “ConvertibleCAR-T, a highly adaptable CAR-T platform to fight HIV”. During this live webinar, Dr. Eytan Herzig, the staff research scientist in the Gladstone Center for HIV Cure Research at the University of California, San Francisco, who is also the first author of the aforementioned thesis, will share some insights on the principles and opportunities of innovative convertibleCAR-T platform in HIV cure.
The webinar will cover the following topics:
·The potential approach to achieve a functional HIV cure
·How does convertibleCAR-T detect and eliminate HIV infected cells?
·The performance of the convertibleCAR-T cells ex vivo and in vivo
·ConvertibleCAR-T cells advantages over conventional CAR-T cells
In general, ConvertibleCAR technology can help promote the treatment of AIDS, and is also expected to solve diseases related to cell or pathogen mutations, such as cancer. More importantly, this new version of CAR-T can greatly reduce the costs of cell therapy.