Galunisertib enhances chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cell function
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy still faces the challenge of immunosuppression when treating solid tumors. TGF-β is one of the critical factors in the tumor microenvironment to help tumors escape surveillance by the immune system. Here we tried using the combination of a small molecule inhibitor of TGF-β receptor I, Galunisertib, and CAR T cells to explore whether Galunisertib could enhance CAR T cell function against solid tumor cells. In vitro experiments showed Galunisertib could significantly enhance the specific cytotoxicity of both CD133- and HER2-specific CAR T cells. However, Galunisertib had no direct killing effect on target cells. Galunisertib significantly increased the cytokine secretion of CAR T cells and T cells that do not express CAR (Nontransfected T cells). Galunisertib did not affect the proliferation of T cells, the antigen expression on target cells and CD69 on CAR T cells. We found that TGF-β was secreted by T cells themselves upon activation, and Galunisertib could reduce TGF-β signaling in CAR T cells. Our findings can provide the basis for further preclinical and clinical studies of the combination of Galunisertib and CAR T cells in the treatment of solid tumors.
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