IL-7 and IL-15 allow the generation of suicide gene-modified alloreactive self-renewing central memory human T lymphocytes.
ABSTRACT Long-term clinical remissions of leukemia, after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, depend on alloreactive memory T cells able to self-renew and differentiate into antileukemia effectors. This is counterbalanced by detrimental graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Induction of a selective suicide in donor T cells is a current gene therapy approach to abrogate GVHD. Unfortunately, genetic modification reduces alloreactivity of lymphocytes. This associates with an effector memory (T(EM)) phenotype of gene-modified lymphocytes and may limit antileukemia effect. We hypothesized that alloreactivity of gene-modified lymphocytes segregates with the central memory (T(CM)) phenotype. To this, we generated suicide gene-modified T(CM) lymphocytes with a retroviral vector after CD28 costimulation and culture with IL-2, IL-7, or a combination of IL-7 and IL-15. In vitro, suicide gene-modified T(CM) cells self-renewed upon alloantigen stimulation and resisted activation-induced cell death. In a humanized mouse model, only suicide gene-modified T cells cultured with IL-7 and IL-15 persisted, differentiated in T(EM) cells, and were as potent as unmanipulated lymphocytes in causing GVHD. GVHD was halted through the activation of the suicide gene machinery. These results warrant the use of suicide gene-modified T(CM) cells cultured with IL-7 and IL-15 for the safe exploitation of the alloreactive response against cancer.
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ABSTRACT: Recent preclinical adoptive immunotherapy studies in murine models prompt to employ "proper" rather than "as many as possible" antigen-specific T cells to gain better therapeutic results. Ideally, "proper" T cells are poorly differentiated in vitro, but retain the capacity to fully differentiate into effector cells in vivo, where they can undergo long-term survival and strong proliferation. Such requirements can be achieved by modifying culture conditions, namely using less "differentiating" cytokines than IL-2. To evaluate this issue in human T cell cultures, we exploited a well characterized and clinical-grade protocol finalized at generating EBV-specific CTL for adoptive immunotherapy. In particular, we studied the impact of IL-7, IL-15 and IL-21 compared to IL-2 on different aspects of T cell functionality, namely growth kinetics, differentiation/activation marker expression, cytokine production, and short-term and long-term cytotoxicity. Results disclosed that the culture modifications we introduced in the standard protocol did not improve activity nor induce substantial changes in differentiation marker expression of EBV-specific CTL. Our data indicated that the addition of γ-chain cytokines other than IL-2 for the generation of EBV-specific T cell cultures did not produce the improvements expected on the basis of recent published literature. This fact was likely due to the intrinsic differences between murine and human models and highlights the need to design ad hoc protocols rather than simply modify the cytokines added in culture.Journal of Translational Medicine 01/2010; 8:121. · 3.41 Impact Factor