BACKGROUND. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy has resulted in complete remission (CR) and durable response in highly refractory patients. However, logistical complexity and high costs of manufacturing autologous viral products limit CAR T cell availability. METHODS. We report the early results of a phase I/II trial in B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) patients relapsed after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) using donor-derived CD19 CAR T cells generated with the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon and differentiated into cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells. RESULTS. The cellular product was produced successfully for all patients from the donor peripheral blood (PB) and consisted mostly of CD3+ lymphocytes with 43% CAR expression. Four pediatric and 9 adult patients were infused with a single dose of CAR T cells. Toxicities reported were 2 grade I and 1 grade II cytokine-release syndrome (CRS) cases at the highest dose in the absence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), neurotoxicity, or dose-limiting toxicities. Six out of 7 patients receiving the highest doses achieved CR and CR with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi) at day 28. Five out of 6 patients in CR were also minimal residual disease negative (MRD–). Robust expansion was achieved in the majority of the patients. CAR T cells were measurable by transgene copy PCR up to 10 months. Integration site analysis showed a positive safety profile and highly polyclonal repertoire in vitro and at early time points after infusion. CONCLUSION. SB-engineered CAR T cells expand and persist in pediatric and adult B-ALL patients relapsed after HSCT. Antileukemic activity was achieved without severe toxicities.
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