Multifunctional T-cell Analyses to Study Response and Progression in Adoptive Cell Transfer Immunotherapy
ABSTRACT Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) of genetically engineered T cells expressing cancer-specific T-cell receptors (TCR) is a promising cancer treatment. Here, we investigate the in vivo functional activity and dynamics of the transferred cells by analyzing samples from 3 representative patients with melanoma enrolled in a clinical trial of ACT with TCR transgenic T cells targeted against the melanosomal antigen MART-1. The analyses included evaluating 19 secreted proteins from individual cells from phenotypically defined T-cell subpopulations, as well as the enumeration of T cells with TCR antigen specificity for 36 melanoma antigens. These analyses revealed the coordinated functional dynamics of the adoptively transferred, as well as endogenous, T cells, and the importance of highly functional T cells in dominating the antitumor immune response. This study highlights the need to develop approaches to maintaining antitumor T-cell functionality with the aim of increasing the long-term efficacy of TCR-engineered ACT immunotherapy.
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ABSTRACT: Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) represents a prominent form of immunotherapy against malignant diseases. ACT is conceptually distinct from dendritic cell-based approaches (which de facto constitute cellular vaccines) and allogeneic transplantation (which can be employed for the therapy of hematopoietic tumors) as it involves the isolation of autologous lymphocytes exhibiting antitumor activity, their expansion/activation ex vivo and their reintroduction into the patient. Re-infusion is most often performed in the context of lymphodepleting regimens (to minimize immunosuppression by host cells) and combined with immunostimulatory interventions, such as the administration of Toll-like receptor agonists. Autologous cells that are suitable for ACT protocols can be isolated from tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes or generated by engineering their circulating counterparts for the expression of transgenic tumor-specific T-cell receptors. Importantly, lymphocytes can be genetically modified prior to re-infusion for increasing their persistence in vivo, boosting antitumor responses and minimizing side effects. Moreover, recent data indicate that exhausted antitumor T lymphocytes may be rejuvenated in vitro by exposing them to specific cytokine cocktails, a strategy that might considerably improve the clinical success of ACT. Following up the Trial Watch that we published on this topic in the third issue of OncoImmunology (May 2012), here we summarize the latest developments in ACT-related research, covering both high-impact studies that have been published during the last 13 months and clinical trials that have been initiated in the same period to assess the antineoplastic profile of this form of cellular immunotherapy.OncoImmunology 05/2013; 2(5):e24238. DOI:10.4161/onci.24238 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: It has been demonstrated that large numbers of tumor-specific T cells for adoptive cell transfer (ACT) can be manufactured by retroviral genetic engineering of autologous peripheral blood lymphocytes and expanding them over several weeks. In mouse models, this therapy is optimized when administered with dendritic cell (DC) vaccination. We developed a short one-week manufacture protocol to determine the feasibility, safety and antitumor efficacy of this double cell therapy. A clinical trial (NCT00910650) adoptively transferring MART-1 T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic lymphocytes together with MART-1 peptide pulsed DC vaccination in HLA-A2.1 patients with metastatic melanoma. Autologous TCR transgenic cells were manufactured in 6 to 7 days using retroviral vector gene transfer, and re-infused with (n = 10) or without (n = 3) prior cryopreservation. 14 patients with metastatic melanoma were enrolled and nine out of 13 treated patients (69%) showed evidence of tumor regression. Peripheral blood reconstitution with MART-1-specific T cells peaked within two weeks of ACT indicating rapid in vivo expansion. Administration of freshly manufactured TCR transgenic T cells resulted in a higher persistence of MART-1-specific T cells in the blood as compared to cryopreserved. Evidence that DC vaccination could cause further in vivo expansion was only observed with ACT using non-cryopreserved T cells. Double cell therapy with ACT of TCR engineered T cells with a very short ex vivo manipulation and DC vaccines is feasible and results in antitumor activity, but improvements are needed to maintain tumor responses.Clinical Cancer Research 03/2014; DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3017 · 8.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs) occupy a privileged position at the interface between innate and adaptive immunity, orchestrating a large panel of responses to both physiological and pathological cues. In particular, whereas the presentation of antigens by immature DCs generally results in the development of immunological tolerance, mature DCs are capable of priming robust, and hence therapeutically relevant, adaptive immune responses. In line with this notion, functional defects in the DC compartment have been shown to etiologically contribute to pathological conditions including (but perhaps not limited to) infectious diseases, allergic and autoimmune disorders, graft rejection and cancer. Thus, the possibility of harnessing the elevated immunological potential of DCs for anticancer therapy has attracted considerable interest from both researchers and clinicians over the last decade. Alongside, several methods have been developed not only to isolate DCs from cancer patients, expand them, load them with tumor-associated antigens and hence generate highly immunogenic clinical grade infusion products, but also to directly target DCs in vivo. This intense experimental effort has culminated in 2010 with the approval by the US FDA of a DC-based preparation (sipuleucel-T, Provenge®) for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castration-refractory prostate cancer. As an update to the latest Trial Watch dealing with this exciting field of research (October 2012), here we summarize recent advances in DC-based anticancer regimens, covering both high-impact studies that have been published during the last 13 mo and clinical trials that have been launched in the same period to assess the antineoplastic potential of this variant of cellular immunotherapy.OncoImmunology 10/2013; 2(10). DOI:10.4161/onci.25771 · 6.28 Impact Factor