Highly activated and expanded natural killer cells for multiple myeloma immunotherapy

Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 4301 West Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205 USA. .
Haematologica (Impact Factor: 5.81). 03/2012; 97(9):1348-56. DOI: 10.3324/haematol.2011.056747
Source: PubMed


Background Patients with gene expression profiling-defined high-risk myeloma in relapse have poor outcomes with current therapies. We tested whether natural killer cells expanded by co-culture with K562 cells transfected with 41BBL and membrane-bound interleukin-15 could kill myeloma cells with a high-risk gene expression profile in vitro and in a unique model which recapitulates human myeloma. DESIGN AND METHODS: OPM2 and high-risk primary myeloma tumors were grown in human fetal bone implanted into non-obese diabetic severe combined immunodeficiency mice with a deficient interleukin-2 receptor gamma chain. These mice are devoid of endogenous natural killer and T-cell activity and were used to determine whether adoptively transferred expanded natural killer cells could inhibit myeloma growth and myeloma-associated bone destruction. RESULTS: Natural killer cells from healthy donors and myeloma patients expanded a median of 804- and 351-fold, respectively, without significant T-cell expansion. Expanded natural killer cells killed both allogeneic and autologous primary myeloma cells avidly via a perforin-mediated mechanism in which the activating receptor NKG2D, natural cytotoxicity receptors, and DNAX-accessory molecule-1 played a central role. Adoptive transfer of expanded natural killer cells inhibited the growth of established OPM2 and high-risk primary myeloma tumors grown in the murine model. The transferred, expanded natural killer cells proliferated in vivo in an interleukin-2 dose-dependent fashion, persisted up to 4 weeks, were readily detectable in the human bone, inhibited myeloma growth and protected bone from myeloma-induced osteolysis. Conclusions These studies provide the rationale for testing expanded natural killer cells in humans.

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    • "The present findings may have clinical implications for cancer and allogeneic adoptive transfer immunotherapy. Allogeneic adoptive transfer of NK-cells has already been successfully utilized to curtail the growth of multiple myeloma in vivo using both human (Shi et al., 2008) and animal models (Garg et al., 2012). The ability of exercise to enhance NK-cell cytotoxicity against multiple myeloma (U266) cells could lead to improvements in existing adoptive transfer protocols. "
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    ABSTRACT: NK-cells undergo a ''licensing'' process as they develop into fully-functional cells capable of efficiently killing targets. NK-cell differentiation is accompanied by an increased surface expression of inhibitory killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) molecules, which is positively associated with cytotoxicity against the HLA-deficient K562 cell line. NK-cells are rapidly redeployed between the blood and tissues in response to acute exercise, but it is not known if exercise evokes a preferential trafficking of differentiated NK-cells or impacts NK-cell cytotoxic activity (NKCA) against HLA-expressing target cells. Sixteen healthy cyclists performed three 30-minute bouts of cycling exercise at -5%, +5%, and +15% of lactate threshold. Blood samples obtained before, immediately after, and 1h after exercise were used to enumerate NK-cells and their subsets, and determine NKCA and degranulating subsets (CD107+) against cell lines of multiple myeloma (U266 and RPMI-8226), lymphoma (721.221 and 221 AEH), and leukemia (K562) origin by 4 and 11-color flow cytometry, respectively. Exercise evoked a stepwise redeployment of NK-cell subsets in accordance with differentiation status [highly-differentiated (KIR+/NKG2A-) > medium-differentiated (KIR+/NKG2A+) > low-differentiated (KIR-/NKG2A+)] that was consistent across all exercise intensities. NKCA per cell increased ∼1.6 fold against U266 and 221 AEH targets 1h post-exercise and was associated with a decreased proportion of NK-cells expressing the inhibitory receptor CD158b and increased proportion of NK-cells expressing the activating receptor NKG2C, respectively. We conclude that exercise evokes a preferential redeployment of NK-cell subsets with a high differentiation phenotype and augments cytotoxicity against HLA-expressing target cells. Exercise may serve as a simple strategy to enrich the blood compartment of highly cytotoxic NK-cell subsets that can be harvested for clinical use.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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    • "Natural killer (NK) cells are CD56+/CD3− cytotoxic lymphocytes that are increasingly recognized as a potent cellular therapy. NK cells have been shown to be active against MM in several preclinical studies [3], [4]. In addition, a relative decrease in NK cell frequency or function in MM patients has been shown to correlate with more advanced disease or poorer outcome [5], [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells are important mediators of anti-tumor immunity and are active against several hematologic malignancies, including multiple myeloma (MM). Umbilical cord blood (CB) is a promising source of allogeneic NK cells but large scale ex vivo expansion is required for generation of clinically relevant CB-derived NK (CB-NK) cell doses. Here we describe a novel strategy for expanding NK cells from cryopreserved CB units using artificial antigen presenting feeder cells (aAPC) in a gas permeable culture system. After 14 days, mean fold expansion of CB-NK cells was 1848-fold from fresh and 2389-fold from cryopreserved CB with >95% purity for NK cells (CD56(+)/CD3(-)) and less than 1% CD3(+) cells. Though surface expression of some cytotoxicity receptors was decreased, aAPC-expanded CB-NK cells exhibited a phenotype similar to CB-NK cells expanded with IL-2 alone with respect to various inhibitory receptors, NKG2C and CD94 and maintained strong expression of transcription factors Eomesodermin and T-bet. Furthermore, CB-NK cells formed functional immune synapses with and demonstrated cytotoxicity against various MM targets. Finally, aAPC-expanded CB-NK cells showed significant in vivo activity against MM in a xenogenic mouse model. Our findings introduce a clinically applicable strategy for the generation of highly functional CB-NK cells which can be used to eradicate MM.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Moreover, patient derived NK cells have been primed ex vivo with the tumor cell line CTV-1a resulting in improved killing of autologous and allogeneic MM cells [5]. Garg et al. have demonstrated expansion of patient derived NK cells by K562 cells transfected with 41BBL and membrane-bound interleukin-15 in the presence of 300 U/mL IL-2 [6]. More importantly, these expanded NK cells reduced myeloma burden in immunodeficient mice, and expanded in vivo in an IL-2 dependent fashion. "
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple Myeloma (MM) is an incurable plasma cell malignancy residing within the bone marrow (BM). We aim to develop allogeneic Natural Killer (NK) cell immunotherapy for MM. As the BM contains hypoxic regions and the tumor environment can be immunosuppressive, we hypothesized that hypoxia inhibits NK cell anti-MM responses. NK cells were isolated from healthy donors by negative selection and NK cell function and phenotype were examined at oxygen levels representative of hypoxic BM using flowcytometry. Additionally, NK cells were activated with IL-2 to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity under hypoxia. Hypoxia reduced NK cell killing of MM cell lines in an oxygen dependent manner. Under hypoxia, NK cells maintained their ability to degranulate in response to target cells, though, the percentage of degranulating NK cells was slightly reduced. Adaptation of NK- or MM cells to hypoxia was not required, hence, the oxygen level during the killing process was critical. Hypoxia did not alter surface expression of NK cell ligands (HLA-ABC, -E, MICA/B and ULBP1-2) and receptors (KIR, NKG2A/C, DNAM-1, NCRs and 2B4). It did, however, decrease expression of the activating NKG2D receptor and of intracellular perforin and granzyme B. Pre-activation of NK cells by IL-2 abrogated the detrimental effects of hypoxia and increased NKG2D expression. This emphasized that activated NK cells can mediate anti-MM effects, even under hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia abolishes the killing potential of NK cells against multiple myeloma, which can be restored by IL-2 activation. Our study shows that for the design of NK cell-based immunotherapy it is necessary to study biological interactions between NK- and tumor cells also under hypoxic conditions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · PLoS ONE
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