TCR-engineered adoptive cell therapy effectively treats intracranial murine glioblastoma

Maximilian O. Schaettler, Rupen Desai, Anthony Z. Wang, Alexandra J. Livingstone, Dale K. Kobayashi, Andrew T. Coxon, Jay A. Bowman-Kirigin, Connor J. Liu, Mao Li, Diane E. Bender, Michael J. White, David M. Kranz, Tanner M. Johanns, Gavin P. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Adoptive cellular therapies with chimeric antigen receptor T cells have revolutionized the treatment of some malignancies but have shown limited efficacy in solid tumors such as glioblastoma and face a scarcity of safe therapeutic targets. As an alternative, T cell receptor (TCR)-engineered cellular therapy against tumor-specific neoantigens has generated significant excitement, but there exist no preclinical systems to rigorously model this approach in glioblastoma. Methods We employed single-cell PCR to isolate a TCR specific for the Imp3 D81N neoantigen (mImp3) previously identified within the murine glioblastoma model GL261. This TCR was used to generate the Mutant Imp3-Specific TCR TransgenIC (MISTIC) mouse in which all CD8 T cells are specific for mImp3. The therapeutic efficacy of neoantigen-specific T cells was assessed through a model of cellular therapy consisting of the transfer of activated MISTIC T cells and interleukin 2 into lymphodepleted tumor-bearing mice. We employed flow cytometry, single-cell RNA sequencing, and whole-exome and RNA sequencing to examine the factors underlying treatment response. Results We isolated and characterized the 3×1.1C TCR that displayed a high affinity for mImp3 but no wild-type cross-reactivity. To provide a source of mImp3-specific T cells, we generated the MISTIC mouse. In a model of adoptive cellular therapy, the infusion of activated MISTIC T cells resulted in rapid intratumoral infiltration and profound antitumor effects with long-term cures in a majority of GL261-bearing mice. The subset of mice that did not respond to the adoptive cell therapy showed evidence of retained neoantigen expression but intratumoral MISTIC T cell dysfunction. The efficacy of MISTIC T cell therapy was lost in mice bearing a tumor with heterogeneous mImp3 expression, showcasing the barriers to targeted therapy in polyclonal human tumors. Conclusions We generated and characterized the first TCR transgenic against an endogenous neoantigen within a preclinical glioma model and demonstrated the therapeutic potential of adoptively transferred neoantigen-specific T cells. The MISTIC mouse provides a powerful novel platform for basic and translational studies of antitumor T-cell responses in glioblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere006121
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2023


  • T-lymphocytes
  • antigens
  • brain neoplasms
  • cell engineering
  • immunotherapy


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