alexa Artificial antigen-presenting cells transduced with telomerase efficiently expand epitope-specific, human leukocyte antigen-restricted cytotoxic T cells.


Advancements in Genetic Engineering

Author(s): Dupont J, Latouche JB, Ma C, Sadelain M

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Abstract Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is overexpressed in most human tumors, making it a potential target for cancer immunotherapy. hTERT-derived CTL epitopes have been identified previously, including p865 (RLVDDFLLV) and p540 (ILAKFLHWL), which are restricted by the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I A*0201 allele. However, it remains a major challenge to efficiently and consistently expand hTERT-specific CTLs from donor peripheral blood T lymphocytes. To bypass the need for generating conventional antigen-presenting cells (APC) on an autologous basis, we investigated the potential ability of fibroblast-derived artificial APCs (AAPC) to activate and expand HLA-A*0201-restricted CTLs. We show here that AAPCs stably expressing HLA-A*0201, human beta(2)-microglobulin, B7.1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and LFA-3, together with either p540 and p865 minigenes or the full-length hTERT, effectively stimulate tumoricidal, hTERT-specific CTLs. hTERT-expressing AAPCs stimulated both p540 and p865 CTLs as shown by peptide-specific cytolysis and tetramer staining, indicating that hTERT is processed by the AAPCs and that the two peptides are presented as codominant epitopes. The level of cytotoxic activity against a panel of tumors comprising hematologic and epithelial malignancies varied, correlating overall with the level of HLA-A2 and hTERT expression by the target cell. Starting from 100 mL blood, approximately 100 million hTERT-specific CTLs could be generated over the course of five sequential stimulations, representing an expansion of approximately 1 x 10(5). Our data show that AAPCs process hTERT antigen and efficiently stimulate hTERT-specific CTLs from human peripheral blood T lymphocytes and suggest that sufficient expansion could be achieved to be clinically useful for adoptive cell therapy. This article was published in Cancer Res and referenced in Advancements in Genetic Engineering

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