Substantial evidence suggests a role for immunotherapy in treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While the precise pathophysiology of AD is incompletely understood, clinical trials of antibodies targeting aggregated forms of β amyloid (Aβ) have shown that reducing amyloid plaques can mitigate cognitive decline in patients with early-stage AD. Here, we describe what we believe to be a novel approach to target and degrade amyloid plaques by genetically engineering macrophages to express an Aβ-targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-Ms). When injected intrahippocampally, first-generation CAR-Ms have limited persistence and fail to significantly reduce plaque load, which led us to engineer next-generation CAR-Ms that secrete M-CSF and self-maintain without exogenous cytokines. Cytokine secreting “reinforced CAR-Ms” have greater survival in the brain niche and significantly reduce plaque load locally in vivo. These findings support CAR-Ms as a platform to rationally target, resorb, and degrade pathogenic material that accumulates with age, as exemplified by targeting Aβ in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere175015
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2024


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