The metabolic milieu of solid tumors provides a barrier to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. Excessive lactate or hypoxia suppresses T-cell growth, through mechanisms including NADH buildup and the depletion of oxidized metabolites. NADH is converted into NAD+ by the enzyme Lactobacillus brevis NADH Oxidase (LbNOX), which mimics the oxidative function of the electron transport chain without generating ATP. Here we determine if LbNOX promotes human CAR T-cell metabolic activity and antitumor efficacy. CAR T-cells expressing LbNOX have enhanced oxygen as well as lactate consumption and increased pyruvate production. LbNOX renders CAR T-cells resilient to lactate dehydrogenase inhibition. But in vivo in a model of mesothelioma, CAR T-cell’s expressing LbNOX showed no increased antitumor efficacy over control CAR T-cells. We hypothesize that T cells in hostile environments face dual metabolic stressors of excessive NADH and insufficient ATP production. Accordingly, futile T-cell NADH oxidation by LbNOX is insufficient to promote tumor clearance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Armor CAR T-cells
- Lactobacillus brevis NADH oxidase