Chimeric antigen receptor–engineered T cells as oncolytic virus carriers
The use of engineered T cells in adoptive transfer therapies has shown significant promise in treating hematological cancers.However, successes treating solid tumors are much less prevalent. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) have the capacity to induce specific lysis of tumor cells and indirectly impact tumor growth via vascular shutdown. These viruses bear natural abilities to associate with lymphocytes upon systemic administration, but therapeutic doses must be very high in order to evade antibodies and other components of the immune system. As T cells readily circulate through the body, using these cells to deliver OVs directly to tumors may provide an ideal combination. Our studies demonstrate that loading chimeric antigen receptor–engineered T cells with low doses of virus does not impact receptor expression or function in either murine or human T cells. Engineered T cells can deposit virus onto a variety of tumor targets, which can enhance the tumoricidal activity of the combination treatment. This concept appears to be broadly applicable, as we observed similar results using murine or human T cells, loaded with either RNA or dna
viruses. Overall,loading of engineered T cells with OVs represents a novel combination therapy that may increase the efficacy of both treatments.