Targeting CD38-Expressing Multiple Myeloma and Burkitt Lymphoma Cells In Vitro with Nanobody-Based Chimeric Antigen Receptors (Nb-CARs)


The NAD-hydrolyzing ecto-enzyme CD38 is overexpressed by multiple myeloma and other hematological malignancies. We recently generated CD38-specific nanobodies, single immunoglobulin variable domains derived from heavy-chain antibodies naturally occurring in llamas. Nanobodies exhibit high solubility and stability, allowing easy reformatting into recombinant fusion proteins. Here we explore the utility of CD38-specific nanobodies as ligands for nanobody-based chimeric antigen receptors (Nb-CARs). We cloned retroviral expression vectors for CD38-specific Nb-CARs. The human natural killer cell line NK-92 was transduced to stably express these Nb-CARs. As target cells we used CD38-expressing as well as CRISPR/Cas9-generated CD38-deficient tumor cell lines (CA-46, LP-1, and Daudi) transduced with firefly luciferase. With these effector and target cells we established luminescence and flow-cytometry CAR-dependent cellular cytotoxicity assays (CARDCCs). Finally, the cytotoxic efficacy of Nb-CAR NK-92 cells was tested on primary patient-derived CD38-expressing multiple myeloma cells. NK-92 cells expressing CD38-specific Nb-CARs specifically lysed CD38-expressing but not CD38-deficient tumor cell lines. Moreover, the Nb-CAR-NK cells effectively depleted CD38-expressing multiple myeloma cells in primary human bone marrow samples. Our results demonstrate efficacy of Nb-CARs in vitro. The potential clinical efficacy of Nb-CARs in vivo remains to be evaluated.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29.01.2020
PubMed 32013131