Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Adoptive T-cell therapy is clinically efficacious in the treatment of select cancers. However, it is often difficult to obtain adequate numbers of tumor-specific T cells for therapy. One method for overcoming this limitation is to generate tumor-specific T cells by retrovirally mediated T-cell-receptor (TCR) gene transfer. However, despite instances of therapeutic success, major obstacles remain, including attaining the survival of retrovirally modified T cells in vivo as well as inducing long-term and multi-gene retroviral expression. Using a murine model of adoptively transferred retrovirally modified CD8(+) T cells, where antitumor immunity was dependent on sustained, multigene expression, we found that in vitro assays are poor indicators of in vivo efficacy. Despite persisting for over 9 months in a nonlymphopenic environment, genetically modified T cells exhibited discordant retrovirally mediated gene expression in vivo not readily evident from initial in vitro assays. In particular, one of the two TCR subunit genes necessary for antigen specificity was selectively lost in vivo. As this discordant gene expression was associated with the loss of antitumor immunity, consideration of these findings may provide guidance in the design, evaluation and application of retroviral vectors for use in the treatment of cancer and other human disease.
    Cancer gene therapy 09/2008; 16(2):171-83. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although cyclophosphamide (CTX) has been clearly shown to enhance active specific and adoptive immunotherapies, the mechanism(s) underlying these beneficial effects have not been clearly defined. To define the impact of CTX preconditioning on the antigen-specific CD8 T-cell response to peptide vaccination, we used an adoptive transfer model based on the OT-1 T-cell receptor transgenic mouse. CTX preconditioning dramatically enhanced the antigen-specific CD8 T-cell response to peptide vaccination. Specifically, CTX significantly enhanced the expansion and function of responding CD8 T cells as demonstrated by flow cytometry and cytokine production. In parallel experiments, we attempted to define the mechanism(s) underlying these beneficial effects of CTX therapy. CTX therapy increased the relative number and activation status of myeloid dendritic cells, and was associated with the induction of significant levels of the inflammatory cytokines interferon-alpha, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and IL-6. Adoptive transfer experiments into type I IFNR-/- and CR3-/- mice confirmed that the beneficial effects of CTX were at least partially dependent on type I interferons and myeloid cells. Adoptive transfer of up to 150x10(6) naive spleen cells at the time of antigen-specific CD8 T-cell transfer did not abrogate the effects of CTX therapy, suggesting that the creation of a niche in the immune system may not be required. CTX decreased the absolute, but not relative number of CD4+CD25+ Treg cells, consistent with the possibility that regulatory T cells may be targeted by CTX therapy. Of note, combination therapy with CTX and a synthetic TLR3 agonist further enhanced the antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell response. Taken together, our data suggest that CTX modulates specific components of the innate immune system resulting in a beneficial host microenvironment. Specific targeting of these components may enhance the effectiveness of CTX preconditioning for adoptive immunotherapy.
    Journla of Immunotherapy 02/2007; 30(1):40-53. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has become increasingly apparent that the ability to generate an optimal host immune response requires effective cross talk between the innate and adaptive components of the immune system. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, in particular those that can induce a danger signal, often called signal 3, are crucial in this role of initiating and augmenting the presentation of exogenous antigen to T cells by dendritic cells. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) in particular has been defined as a "signal 3" cytokine required for the antigen cross priming. Given this unique interactive function, a significant amount of work has been performed to define possible therapeutic applications for IL-12. Systemic IL-12 administration can clearly act as a potent adjuvant for postvaccination T cell responses in a variety of diseases. As an example, in the cancer setting, systemic IL-12 is capable of suppressing tumor growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis in vivo. IL-12, however, has been associated with significant dose- and schedule-dependent toxicity in early clinical trials, results that have proven to be a major obstacle to its clinical application. Recent research has focused on decreasing the toxicity of IL-12 using different delivery approaches, including virus-based and gene-modified cell-based delivery. Although effective, these approaches also have limitations, including the generation of neutralizing antibodies, in addition to lacking the simplicity and versatility required for universal clinical application. Thus, there is a significant interest in the development of alternative delivery approaches for IL-12 administration that can overcome these issues. Several nonviral delivery approaches for IL-12 protein or gene expression vectors are being defined, including alum, liposomes, and polymer-based delivery. These developing approaches have shown promising adjuvant effects with significantly lessened systemic toxicity. This article discusses the potential capabilities of these nonvirus-based IL-12 delivery systems in different disease settings, including allergy, infection, and cancer.
    Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research 10/2006; 26(9):593-608. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Poly (I:C), a TLR3 ligand, has shown promise as a vaccine adjuvant to CD8(+) T cell responses. The underlying mechanisms involved in creating this adjuvant response in vivo, however, have not been well defined. In this study, we explored the contribution of NK cells and inflammatory cytokines in mediation the poly (I:C) adjuvant effects. Enhanced antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell responses were observed only when poly (I:C) was administered within 4h of peptide vaccination. Poly (I:C) treatment was associated with a rapid induction of inflammatory cytokines in the serum, including IL-6, IL-10, MCP-1, TNF-alpha, IFN-alpha, and IFN-gamma, and selective increases in the numbers of NK (NK1.1(+)CD11b(+)) cells and Mvarphi (NK1.1(-)CD11b(+)), but not NK T (CD3(+)NK1.1(+)) cells. NK cells were required for the adjuvant effects of poly (I:C). Poly (I:C) treatment in TNF-alpha, type I IFNR, IFN-gamma, IL-6, IL-12Rbeta2, or IL-15 gene-deficient mice revealed a reciprocal interaction and interdependence in the induction of these cytokines, where the absence of one cytokine impacted on the production of others. Further, the adjuvant effects of poly (I:C) were dependent on the endogenous levels of type I IFNs, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, IL-12, and IL-15. IFN-alpha and IFN-beta, but not TNF-alpha or IL-6, were able to mimic the adjuvant effects of poly (I:C). We conclude that the adjuvant effects of poly (I:C) on antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells appeared to be exquisitely dependent on the rapid induction of certain beneficial cytokines produced in part by NK cells.
    Vaccine 07/2006; 24(24):5119-32. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Poly(I:C), a synthetic double-stranded RNA polymer and a TLR3 agonist, can be used as a vaccine adjuvant to enhance adaptive immunity. However, the antigen-specific CD8 T-cell response to peptide vaccination and poly(I:C) has not been clearly defined. Here, the authors characterized the antigen-specific CD8 T-cell response to peptide vaccination and poly(I:C) and specifically addressed the hypothesis that poly(I:C) can enhance antitumor immunity. To define the antigen-specific T-cell response, the authors established a model based on the adoptive transfer of T cells from the OT-1 T-cell receptor transgenic mouse. In this model, vaccination with peptide alone resulted in a limited, transient expansion of antigen-specific CD8 T cells. In contrast, peptide vaccination with concomitant administration of poly(I:C) resulted in a dramatic sustained increase in the number of antigen-specific CD8 T cells. This increase in cell number was associated with an increase in CD8 T-cell function, as defined by specific IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha production, and protection from tumor challenge. The adjuvant effects of poly(I:C) appear to be at least partially dependent on an increase in the transcription of the anti-apoptotic molecules Bcl-3 and Bcl-xL and a concomitant decrease in apoptosis during the contraction phase of the primary T-cell response. In addition, administration of poly(I:C) enhanced the response to a nonimmunogenic self-antigen in a dendritic cell vaccine-based vaccine strategy. Collectively, these results confirm the potential of poly(I:C) as a vaccine adjuvant and suggest that targeting of TLR3 is likely to be a valuable addition to peptide-based vaccination strategies.
    Journla of Immunotherapy 01/2005; 28(3):220-8. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin-12 can act as a potent adjuvant for T cell vaccines, but its clinical use is limited by toxicity. Paracrine administration of IL-12 could significantly enhance the response to such vaccines without the toxicity associated with systemic administration. We have developed a novel vaccine delivery system (designated F2 gel matrix) composed of poly-N-acetyl glucosamine that has the dual properties of a sustained-release delivery system and a potent adjuvant. To test the efficacy of paracrine IL-12, we incorporated this cytokine into F2 gel matrix and monitored the response of OT-1 T cells in an adoptive transfer model. Recipient mice were vaccinated with F2 gel/SIINFEKL, F2 gel/SIINFEKL/IL-12 (paracrine IL-12), or F2 gel/SIINFEKL plus systemic IL-12 (systemic IL-12). Systemic levels of IL-12 were lower in paracrine IL-12-treated mice, suggesting that paracrine administration of IL-12 may be associated with less toxicity. However, paracrine administration of IL-12 was associated with an enhanced Ag-specific T cell proliferative and functional response. Furthermore, paracrine IL-12 promoted the generation of a stable, functional memory T cell population and was associated with protection from tumor challenge. To study the mechanisms underlying this enhanced response, wild-type and gene-deficient mice were used. The enhanced immune response was significantly reduced in IFN-gamma(-/-) and IL-12R beta 2(-/-) recipient mice suggesting that the role of IL-12 is mediated, at least in part, by host cells. Collectively, the results support the potential of F2 gel matrix as a vaccine delivery system and suggest that sustained paracrine release of IL-12 has potential clinical application.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2004; 172(9):5159-67. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T cells expanded in vitro can be of significant therapeutic value in select cancer patients. This strategy is limited though, as it is often difficult, if not impossible, to obtain T cells of clinical value. The transfer of TCR genes to mature T cells to generate tumor-reactive T cells provides a potential mechanism to overcome these limitations. To evaluate the feasibility of such an approach and the quality of the resulting T cells, we generated replication-deficient retroviral vectors using the well-characterized OT-1 TCR genes. After transducing murine T cells, we were able to expand large numbers of Ag-specific T cells that were functionally active against tumor cells expressing the relevant Ag. Furthermore, we found that T cells expressing retrovirally encoded TCR had avidity that was similar to that of the parental clone. This maintenance of avidity was despite variable expression of the retrovirally encoded TCR and the presence of potentially competing endogenous TCRs. These results suggest that the inherent qualities of the TCR, as dictated by the coding sequence, are the most critical parameters in the generation of high-avidity T cells.
    The Journal of Immunology 03/2003; 170(3):1209-17. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The systemic administration of IL-2 can act as a potent adjuvant for T cell-directed vaccine strategies. However, not only is the administration of IL-2 potentially toxic, but recent evidence suggests that it may also paradoxically limit the duration and magnitude of the cytotoxic T cell response. A recently identified cytokine, IL-15, shares many properties with IL-2 and may provide a preferential means of augmenting T cell-directed vaccine responses. Although well characterized in vitro, there are few data on the ability of IL-15 to augment T cell-mediated responses in vivo. We therefore evaluated the ability of systemic IL-15 to function as a T cell adjuvant in a murine vaccine model. To establish a population of easily identifiable Ag-responsive T cells, naive CD8(+) (OT-1) T cells were first adoptively transferred into mice. Vaccination with peptide-pulsed dendritic cells induced a modest expansion of OT-1 T cells. The addition of systemic IL-15 for 7 days following vaccination resulted in a significant increase in the expansion of responding T cells in the PBL, spleen, and lymph nodes. Importantly, the responding T cells were cytotoxic and maintained a Tc1-biased phenotype. We did not observe either enhanced resistance to activation-induced cell death or preferential generation of memory T cells as a result of treatment with IL-15 compared with IL-2. These studies show for the first time that IL-15 is capable of augmenting the primary CD8(+) T cell response to vaccination and contribute to the basis for future experiments exploring the clinical role of IL-15.
    The Journal of Immunology 12/2002; 169(9):4928-35. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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