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Cytosine base editing enables quadruple-edited allogeneic CART cells for T-ALL.

llogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CART) therapies require multiple gene edits to be clinically tractable. Most allogeneic CARTs have been created using gene editing techniques that induce DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs), resulting in unintended on-target editing outcomes with potentially unforeseen consequences. Cytosine base editors (CBEs) install C•G to T•A point mutations in T cells, with between 90% and 99% efficiency to silence gene expression without creating DSBs, greatly reducing or eliminating undesired editing outcomes following multiplexed editing as compared with clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9). Using CBE, we developed 7CAR8, a CD7-directed allogeneic CART created using 4 simultaneous base edits. We show that CBE, unlike CRISPR-Cas9, does not impact T-cell proliferation, lead to aberrant DNA damage response pathway activation, or result in karyotypic abnormalities following multiplexed editing. We demonstrate 7CAR8 to be highly efficacious against T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) using multiple in vitro and in vivo models. Thus, CBE is a promising technology for applications requiring multiplexed gene editing and can be used to manufacture quadruple-edited 7CAR8 cells, with high potential for clinical translation for relapsed and refractory T-ALL.

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