Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) designs that incorporate pharmacologic control are desirable; however, designs suitable for clinical translation are needed. We designed a fully human, rapamycin-regulated drug product for targeting CD33+ tumors called dimerizaing agent–regulated immunoreceptor complex (DARIC33). T cell products demonstrated target-specific and rapamycin-dependent cytokine release, transcriptional responses, cytotoxicity, and in vivo antileukemic activity in the presence of as little as 1 nM rapamycin. Rapamycin withdrawal paused DARIC33-stimulated T cell effector functions, which were restored following reexposure to rapamycin, demonstrating reversible effector function control. While rapamycin-regulated DARIC33 T cells were highly sensitive to target antigen, CD34+ stem cell colony-forming capacity was not impacted. We benchmarked DARIC33 potency relative to CD19 CAR T cells to estimate a T cell dose for clinical testing. In addition, we integrated in vitro and preclinical in vivo drug concentration thresholds for off-on state transitions, as well as murine and human rapamycin pharmacokinetics, to estimate a clinically applicable rapamycin dosing schedule. A phase I DARIC33 trial has been initiated (PLAT-08, NCT05105152), with initial evidence of rapamycin-regulated T cell activation and antitumor impact. Our findings provide evidence that the DARIC platform exhibits sensitive regulation and potency needed for clinical application to other important immunotherapy targets.


Jacob Appelbaum, April E. Price, Kaori Oda, Joy Zhang, Wai-Hang Leung, Giacomo Tampella, Dong Xia, Pauline P.L. So, Sarah K. Hilton, Claudya Evandy, Semanti Sarkar, Unja Martin, Anne-Rachel Krostag, Marissa Leonardi, Daniel E. Zak, Rachael Logan, Paula Lewis, Secil Franke-Welch, Njabulo Ngwenyama, Michael Fitzgerald, Niklas Tulberg, Stephanie Rawlings-Rhea, Rebecca A. Gardner, Kyle Jones, Angelica Sanabria, William Crago, John Timmer, Andrew Hollands, Brendan Eckelman, Sanela Bilic, Jim Woodworth, Adam Lamble, Philip D. Gregory, Jordan Jarjour, Mark Pogson, Joshua A. Gustafson, Alexander Astrakhan, Michael C. Jensen


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