NIH Research Festival
AXL is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) that is commonly expressed in metastatic melanoma and several other forms of cancer. Activation of AXL signaling is linked to tumor cell growth, invasion, metastatic transformation, drug resistance, and immune response regulation. However, treatment of metastatic melanoma continues to present clinical challenges due to its capacity to rapidly develop drug resistance, which manifests under the influence of AXL signaling. As such, AXL may be a viable antigen target for immunotherapies. Despite their successes in hematological malignancies, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies remain limited by their susceptibility to causing off-target toxicity. In contrast, natural killer (NK) cells are not associated with such risks, which makes them clinically appealing as an alternative to T cells. However, studies on the application of CAR-NK cells to treat solid tumors remain acutely scarce. To explore the clinical viability of CAR-NK cells for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, AXL-specific CAR-NK cells were generated by transfecting NK cells obtained from NK cell lines. Preliminary data from a cytotoxicity assay indicated that the cytotoxicity of CAR-NK92-MI cells against AXL-positive melanoma cell lines was significantly stronger (up to a 10-fold difference) than the corresponding parental cells. Further in vitro characterization of this CAR-NK cell line and other CAR-NK cell lines, as well as in vivo evaluation of their efficacy in a mouse xenograft model of melanoma metastasis, will be conducted in future experiments.
Scientific Focus Area: Cancer Biology
This page was last updated on Monday, September 25, 2023