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Cancer Research

Dynamic Imaging of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells with [18F]Tetrafluoroborate Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography

Published: February 17th, 2022



1T Cell Engineering, Mayo Clinic, 2Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, 3Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 4Regenerative Sciences PhD, Mayo Clinic, 5Department of Molecular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 6Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic

This protocol describes the methodology for non-invasively tracking T cells genetically engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors in vivo with a clinically available platform.

T cells genetically engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) have shown unprecedented results in pivotal clinical trials for patients with B cell malignancies or multiple myeloma (MM). However, numerous obstacles limit the efficacy and prohibit the widespread use of CAR T cell therapies due to poor trafficking and infiltration into tumor sites as well as lack of persistence in vivo. Moreover, life-threatening toxicities, such as cytokine release syndrome or neurotoxicity, are major concerns. Efficient and sensitive imaging and tracking of CAR T cells enables the evaluation of T cell trafficking, expansion, and in vivo characterization and allows the development of strategies to overcome the current limitations of CAR T cell therapy. This paper describes the methodology for incorporating the sodium iodide symporter (NIS) in CAR T cells and for CAR T cell imaging using [18F]tetrafluoroborate-positron emission tomography ([18F]TFB-PET) in preclinical models. The methods described in this protocol can be applied to other CAR constructs and target genes in addition to the ones used for this study.

Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cell therapy is a rapidly emerging and potentially curative approach in hematological malignancies1,2,3,4,5,6. Extraordinary clinical outcomes were reported after CD19-directed CAR T (CART19) or B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) CAR T cell therapy2. This led to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of CART19 cells for aggressive B-cell lymphoma (axicabtagene ciloleucel (Axi-Cel)4

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The protocol follows the guidelines of Mayo Clinic's Institutional Review Board, Institutional Biosafety Committee, and Mayo Clinic's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

1. NIS+ BCMA-CAR T cell production

NOTE: This protocol follows the guidelines of the Mayo Clinic's Institutional Review Board (IRB 17-008762) and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC Bios00000006.04).

  1. Production of BCMA-CAR, NIS, and luciferase-green flu.......

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Figure 1 represents the steps of generating NIS+BCMA-CAR T cells. On day 0, isolate PBMCs and then isolate T cells by negative selection. Then, stimulate T cells with anti-CD3/CD28 beads. On day 1, transduce T cells with both NIS and BCMA-CAR lentiviruses. On days 3, 4, and 5, count T cells and feed with media to adjust the concentration to be 1.0 × 106/mL. For NIS-transduced T cells, add 1 μg/mL of puromycin to select NIS+ cells. On day 6, remove t.......

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This paper describes a methodology for incorporating NIS into CAR T cells and imaging infused CAR T cells in vivo through [18F]TFB-PET. As proof of concept, NIS+BCMA-CAR T cells were generated via dual transduction. We have recently reported that incorporating NIS into CAR T cells does not impair CAR T cell functions and efficacy in vivo and allows CAR T cell trafficking and expansion30. As CAR T cell therapies continue to expand beyond the current B cell ma.......

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This work was partly supported through the Mayo Clinic K2R pipeline (SSK), the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine (SSK), and the Predolin Foundation (RS). Figures 1, 2, and 4 were created with


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
22 Gauge needle Covidien 8881250206
28 gauge insulin syringe BD 329461
96 well plate Corning 3595
Anti-human (ETNL) NIS Imanis REA009 ETNL antibody binds the cytosolic C-terminus of NIS
Anti-human BCMA, clone 19F2, PE-Cy7 BioLegend 357507 Flow antibody
Anti-human CD45, clone HI30, BV421 BioLegend 304032 Flow antibody
Anti-mouse CD45, clone 30-F11, APC-Cy7 BioLegend 103116 Flow antibody
Anti-rabbit IgG R&D F0110 Secondary antibody for NIS staining
BCMA-CAR construct, second generation IDT, Coralville, IA
BD Cytofix/Cytoperm Fixation/Permeabilization Solution Kit BD 554714
CD3 Monoclonal Antibody (OKT3), PE, eBioscience Invitrogen 12-0037-42
CTS (Cell Therapy Systems) Dynabeads CD3/CD28 Gibco 40203D
CytoFLEX System  B5-R3-V5 Beckman Coulter C04652 flow cytometer
Dimethyl sulfoxide Millipore Sigma D2650-100ML
Disposable Syringes with Luer-Lok Tips BD 309646
D-Luciferin, Potassium Salt Gold Biotechnology LUCK-1G
D-PBS (Dulbecco's phosphate-buffered saline) Gibco 14190-144
Dulbecco's Phosphate-Buffered Saline Gibco 14190-144
Dynabeads MPC-S (Magnetic Particle Concentrator) Applied Biosystems A13346
Easy 50 EasySep Magnet STEMCELL Technologies 18002
EasySep Human T Cell Isolation Kit STEMCELL Technologies 17951 negative selection magnetic beads; 17951RF includes tips and buffer
Fetal bovine serum Millipore Sigma F8067
Goat anti-Mouse IgG (H+L) Cross-Adsorbed Secondary Antibody, Alexa Fluor 647 Invitrogen A-21235
Inveon Multiple Modality PET/CT scanner Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. 10506989 VFT 000 03
Isoflurane liquid Piramal Critical Care 66794-017-10
IVIS Lumina S5 Imaging System PerkinElmer CLS148588
IVIS® Spectrum In Vivo Imaging System PerkinElmer  124262
Lipofectamine 3000 Transfection Reagent Invitrogen L3000075
LIVE/DEAD Fixable Aqua Dead Cell Stain Kit, for 405 nm excitation Invitrogen L34966
Lymphoprep STEMCELL Technologies 07851
Nalgene Rapid-Flow 500 mL Vacuum Filter, 0.22 uM, sterile Thermo Scientific 450-0020
Nalgene Rapid-Flow 500 mL Vacuum Filter, 0.45 uM, sterile Thermo Scientific 450-0045
NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid Il2rgtm1Wjl/SzJ Jackson laboratory 05557
OPM-2 DSMZ CRL-3273 multiple myeloma cell line
pBMN(CMV-copGFP-Luc2-Puro) Addgene 80389 lentiviral vector encoding luciferase-GFP
Penicillin-Streptomycin-Glutamine (100x), Liquid Gibco 10378-016
PMOD software PMOD PBAS and P3D
Pooled Human AB Serum Plasma Derived Innovative Research IPLA-SERAB-H-100ML
Puromycin Dihydrochloride MP Biomedicals, Inc. 0210055210
RoboSep-S STEMCELL Technologies 21000 Fully Automated Cell Separator
RPMI (Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI) 1640 Medium) Gibco 21870-076
SepMate-50 (IVD) STEMCELL Technologies 85450 density gradient separation tubes
Sodium Azide, 5% (w/v) Ricca Chemical 7144.8-16
T175 flask Corning 353112
Terrell (isoflurane, USP) Piramal Critical Care Inc 66794-019-10
Webcol Alcohol Prep Covidien 6818
X-VIVO 15 Serum-free Hematopoietic Cell Medium Lonza 04-418Q

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