The immune system's response to a latent and ubiquitous virus is harnessed to kill tumors in a small study of humans. The approach overcomes a major barrier to effective tumor immunotherapy—generating a sustained immune response (pages 1264–1270).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been demonstrated that a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) can directly recognize the CD19 molecule expressed on the cell surface of B-cell malignancies independent of major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Although T-cell therapy of tumors using CD19-specific CAR is promising, this approach relies on using expression vectors that stably integrate the CAR into T-cell chromosomes. To circumvent the potential genotoxicity that may occur from expressing integrating transgenes, we have expressed the CD19-specific CAR transgene from mRNA using a high throughput microelectroporation device. This research was accomplished using a microelectroporator to achieve efficient and high throughput non-viral gene transfer of in vitro transcribed CAR mRNA into human T cells that had been numerically expanded ex vivo. Electro-transfer of mRNA avoids the potential genotoxicity associated with vector and transgene integration and the high throughput capacity overcomes the expected transient CAR expression, as repeated rounds of electroporation can replace T cells that have lost transgene expression. We fabricated and tested a high throughput microelectroporator that can electroporate a stream of 2 x 10(8) primary T cells within 10 min. After electroporation, up to 80% of the passaged T cells expressed the CD19-specific CAR. Video time-lapse microscopy (VTLM) demonstrated the redirected effector function of the genetically manipulated T cells to specifically lyse CD19+ tumor cells. Our biomedical microdevice, in which T cells are transiently and safely modified to be tumor-specific and then can be re-infused, offers a method for redirecting T-cell specificity, that has implications for the development of adoptive immunotherapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Epstein-Barr virus has evolved a plethora of strategies to evade immune system recognition and to establish latent infection in memory B cells, where the virus resides lifelong without any consequence in the majority of individuals. However, some imbalances in the equilibrium between the inherent virus transforming properties and the host immune system can lead to the development of different tumors, such as lymphoproliferative disorders, Hodgkin's lymphoma, Burkitt's lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The expression of viral antigens in malignant cells makes them suitable targets for immunotherapeutic approaches, which are mainly based on the ex vivo expansion of EBV-specific T cells. Indeed, the infusion of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes has proved not only to be safe and effective, but also capable of restoring or inducing a protective anti-virus immunity, which is lacking, albeit to a different extent, in every EBV-driven malignancy. The purpose of this review is to summarize the results of adoptive immunotherapy approaches for EBV-related malignancies, with particular emphasis on the immunological and virological aspects linked to the clinical responses obtained. Data collected confirm the clinical relevance of the use of EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the field of adoptive immunotherapy and suggest the increasing importance of this approach also against other tumors, concurrent with the increasing knowledge of the intimate and continuous interplay between the virus and the host immune system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cluster of differentiation (CD)8(+) T cells exist as naive, central memory, and effector memory subsets, and any of these populations can be genetically engineered into tumor-reactive effector cells for adoptive immunotherapy. However, the optimal subset from which to derive effector CD8(+) T cells for patient treatments is controversial and understudied. We investigated human CD8(+) T cells and found that naive cells were not only the most abundant subset but also the population most capable of in vitro expansion and T-cell receptor transgene expression. Despite increased expansion, naive-derived cells displayed minimal effector differentiation, a quality associated with greater efficacy after cell infusion. Similarly, the markers of terminal differentiation, killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 and CD57, were expressed at lower levels in cells of naive origin. Finally, naive-derived effector cells expressed higher CD27 and retained longer telomeres, characteristics that suggest greater proliferative potential and that have been linked to greater efficacy in clinical trials. Thus, these data suggest that naive cells resist terminal differentiation, or "exhaustion," maintain high replicative potential, and therefore may be the superior subset for use in adoptive immunotherapy.
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