ABSTRACT: Immune-cell-based approaches using cytotoxic and dendritic cells are under constant scrutiny to design novel therapies for the treatment of tumors. These strategies are hampered by the lack of efficient and economical large-scale production methods for effector cells. Here we describe the propagation of large amounts of a unique population of CD4(+) cytotoxic T cells, which we termed tumor killer T cells (TKTC), because of their potent and broad antitumor cell activity. With this cultivation strategy, TKTCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells are generated within a short period of time using a pulse with a stimulating cell line followed by continuous growth in serum-free medium supplemented with a mixture of interleukin-2 and cyclosporin A. Expression and functional profiling did not allow a classification of TKTCs to any thus far defined subtype of T cells. Cytotoxic assays showed that TKTCs kill a panel of tumor targets of diverse tissue origin while leaving normal cells unaffected. Blocking experiments revealed that TKTC killing was, to a significant extent, mediated by tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand and was independent of MHC restriction. These results suggest that TKTCs have a high potential as a novel tool in the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer.
Molecular Cancer Research 03/2009; 7(3):339-53. · 4.29 Impact Factor