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.
chimeric antigen receptor; cyclophosphamide; FOXP3+ regulatory T cells; lymphodepletion; T-cell receptor; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
We present a strategy for adoptive immunotherapy using T-lineage committed lymphoid precursor cells generated by Notch1-based culture. We found that allogeneic T-cell precursors can be transferred to irradiated individuals irrespective of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) disparities and give rise to host-MHC restricted and host-tolerant functional allogeneic T cells, improving survival in irradiated recipients as well as enhancing anti-tumor responses. T-cell precursors transduced to express a chimeric receptor targeting hCD19 resulted in significant additional anti-tumor activity, demonstrating the feasibility of genetic engineering of these cells. We conclude that ex vivo generated MHC-disparate T-cell precursors from any donor can be used universally for ‘off-the-shelf’ immunotherapy, and can be further enhanced by genetic engineering for targeted immunotherapy.
Genetic engineering of T cells for adoptive immunotherapy in cancer patients has shown significant promise. To ensure optimal antitumor activity and safety, the simultaneous expression of multiple genes is frequently required, and short viral-derived 2A sequences are increasingly preferred for this purpose. Concerns exist, however, that these virus-derived sequences may induce unwanted immune responses, and thus diminish persistence of the gene-modified cells after adoptive transfer. Whereas such responses were absent in immunocompromised recipients, potential immunogenicity in immunocompetent individuals remains a concern. We now address whether ex vivo T cell responses can be elicited against the most widely used 2A sequences (2A-Thosea asigna virus (TAV) or 2A-equine rhinitis virus (ERAV), specifically) in immunocompetent individuals. We used a potent ex vivo culture system previously validated to induce T cell responses even against weakly immunogenic antigens. Of the sixteen donors tested, only five released very low levels of interferon-γ in response to 2A-TAV peptide mixtures (single peptide specificity in three donors, adjacent self-antigen peptide specificity in one donor and nonspecific reactivity in one donor). None of them produced cytotoxic activity or responded to 2A-ERAV. These results suggest that exposure to viral-derived 2A sequences is unlikely to produce unwanted T cell responses in immunocompetent individuals and further supports their continued use for studies of human gene therapy.
2A sequences; polycistronic vectors; T cell gene transfer; immunogenicity
CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes are powerful components of adaptive immunity, which essentially contribute to the elimination of tumors. Due to their cytotoxic capacity, T cells emerged as attractive candidates for specific immunotherapy of cancer. A promising approach is the genetic modification of T cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). First generation CARs consist of a binding moiety specifically recognizing a tumor cell surface antigen and a lymphocyte activating signaling chain. The CAR-mediated recognition induces cytokine production and tumor-directed cytotoxicity of T cells. Second and third generation CARs include signal sequences from various costimulatory molecules resulting in enhanced T-cell persistence and sustained antitumor reaction. Clinical trials revealed that the adoptive transfer of T cells engineered with first generation CARs represents a feasible concept for the induction of clinical responses in some tumor patients. However, further improvement is required, which may be achieved by second or third generation CAR-engrafted T cells.
Adoptive transfer of tumor-reactive T cells has emerged as a promising advance in tumor immunotherapy. Specifically, infusion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes has led to long-term objective clinical responses for patients with metastatic melanoma. Donor lymphocyte infusion is also an effective treatment of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease. However, adoptive T cell therapy has restrictions in the isolation and expansion of antigen-specific lymphocytes for a large group of patients. One approach to circumvent this limitation and extend adoptive immunotherapy to other cancer types is the genetic modification of T cells with antigen-specific receptors. In this article, we review strategies to redirect T cell specificity, including T cell receptor gene transfer and antibody receptor gene transfer.
T cell receptor; CAR; T cells; gene therapy; immunotherapy
Multimodal therapy approaches, such as combining chemotherapy agents with cellular immunotherapy, suffers from potential drug-mediated toxicity to immune effector cells. Overcoming such toxic effects of anticancer cellular products is a potential critical barrier to the development of combined therapeutic approaches. We are evaluating an anticancer strategy that focuses on overcoming such a barrier by genetically engineering drug-resistant variants of immunocompetent cells, thereby allowing for the coadministration of cellular therapy with cytotoxic chemotherapy, a method we refer to as drug-resistant immunotherapy (DRI). The strategy relies on the use of cDNA sequences that confer drug resistance and recombinant lentiviral vectors to transfer nucleic acid sequences into immunocompetent cells. In the present study, we evaluated a DRI-based strategy that incorporates the immunocompetent cell line NK-92, which has intrinsic antitumor properties, genetically engineered to be resistant to both temozolomide and trimetrexate. These immune effector cells efficiently lysed neuroblastoma cell lines, which we show are also sensitive to both chemotherapy agents. The antitumor efficacy of the DRI strategy was demonstrated in vivo, whereby neuroblastoma-bearing NOD/SCID/γ-chain knockout (NSG) mice treated with dual drug-resistant NK-92 cell therapy followed by dual cytotoxic chemotherapy showed tumor regression and significantly enhanced survival compared with animals receiving either nonengineered cell-based therapy and chemotherapy, immunotherapy alone, or chemotherapy alone. These data show there is a benefit to using drug-resistant cellular therapy when combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy approaches.
Dasgupta and colleagues evaluate a drug-resistant immunotherapy approach aimed at overcoming the toxic effects of chemotherapeutic agents on cell-based cancer immunotherapies. Immunocompetent NK-92 cells, which are intrinsically antitumorigenic, were genetically engineered to be resistant to the chemotherapeutic agents temozolomide and trimetrexate. The NK-92 cells efficiently lysed neuroblastoma cell lines in vitro, and in vivo treatment of neuroblastoma-bearing NOD/SCID/cc mice with NK-92 cells followed by dual chemotherapy resulted in tumor regression and enhanced survival.
Cyclophosphamide (CTX) increases the antitumor effectiveness of adoptive immunotherapy in mice, and combined immunotherapy regimens are now used in some clinical trials. However, the mechanisms underlying the synergistic antitumor responses are still unclear. The purpose of this study was (a) to evaluate the antitumor response to CTX and adoptive immunotherapy in mice bearing four different syngeneic tumors (two responsive in vivo to CTX and two resistant); and (b) to define the mechanism(s) of the CTX-immunotherapy synergism. Tumor-bearing DBA/2 mice were treated with a single injection of CTX followed by an intravenous infusion of tumor-immune spleen cells. In all the four tumor models, a single CTX injection resulted in an impressive antitumor response to the subsequent injection of spleen cells from mice immunized with homologous tumor cells independently of the in vivo response to CTX alone. Detailed analysis of the antitumor mechanisms in mice transplanted with metastatic Friend leukemia cells revealed that (a) the effectiveness of this combined therapy was dependent neither on the CTX-induced reduction of tumor burden nor on CTX-induced inhibition of some putative tumor-induced suppressor cells; (b) the CTX/immune cells' regimen strongly protected the mice from subsequent injection of FLC, provided the animals were also preinoculated with inactivated homologous tumor together with the immune spleen cells; (c) CD4(+) T immune lymphocytes were the major cell type responsible for the antitumor activity; (d) the combined therapy was ineffective in mice treated with antiasialo-GM1 or anti-IFN-alpha/beta antibodies; (e) spleen and/ or bone marrow cells from CTX-treated mice produced soluble factors that assisted in proliferation of the spleen cells. Altogether, these results indicate that CTX acts via bystander effects, possibly through production of T cell growth factors occurring during the rebound events after drug administration, which may sustain the proliferation, survival, and activity of the transferred immune T lymphocytes. Thus, our findings indicate the need for reappraisal of the mechanisms underlying the synergistic effects of CTX and adoptive immunotherapy, and may provide new insights into the definition of new and more effective strategies with chemotherapy and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer patients.
Through the adoptive transfer of lymphocytes after host immunodepletion, it is possible to mediate objective cancer regression in human patients with metastatic melanoma. However, the generation of tumor-specific T cells in this mode of immunotherapy is often limiting. Here we report the ability to specifically confer tumor recognition by autologous lymphocytes from peripheral blood by using a retrovirus that encodes a T cell receptor. Adoptive transfer of these transduced cells in 15 patients resulted in durable engraftment at levels exceeding 10% of peripheral blood lymphocytes for at least 2 months after the infusion. We observed high sustained levels of circulating, engineered cells at 1 year after infusion in two patients who both demonstrated objective regression of metastatic melanoma lesions. This study suggests the therapeutic potential of genetically engineered cells for the biologic therapy of cancer.
Cancer immunotherapy comprises a variety of treatment approaches, incorporating the tremendous specificity of the adaptive immune system (T cells and antibodies) as well as the diverse and potent cytotoxic weaponry of both adaptive and innate immunity. Immunotherapy strategies include antitumor monoclonal antibodies, cancer vaccines, adoptive transfer of ex vivo activated T and natural killer cells, and administration of antibodies or recombinant proteins that either costimulate immune cells or block immune inhibitory pathways (so-called immune checkpoints). Although clear clinical efficacy has been demonstrated with antitumor antibodies since the late 1990s, other immunotherapies had not been shown to be effective until recently, when a spate of successes established the broad potential of this therapeutic modality. These successes are based on fundamental scientific advances demonstrating the toleragenic nature of cancer and the pivotal role of the tumor immune microenvironment in suppressing antitumor immunity. New therapies based on a sophisticated knowledge of immune-suppressive cells, soluble factors, and signaling pathways are designed to break tolerance and reactivate antitumor immunity to induce potent, long-lasting responses. Preclinical models indicate the importance of a complex integrated immune response in eliminating established tumors and validate the exploration of combinatorial treatment regimens, which are anticipated to be far more effective than monotherapies. Unlike conventional cancer therapies, most immunotherapies are active and dynamic, capable of inducing immune memory to propagate a successful rebalancing of the equilibrium between tumor and host.
Modulation of the immune system for therapeutic ends has a long history, stretching back to Edward Jenner’s use of cowpox to induce immunity to smallpox in 1796. Since then, immunotherapy, in the form of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, has enabled doctors to treat and prevent a variety of infectious diseases, including cholera, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, measles and mumps. Immunotherapy is now increasingly being applied to oncology. Cancer immunotherapy attempts to harness the power and specificity of the immune system for the treatment of malignancy. Although cancer cells are less immunogenic than pathogens, the immune system is capable of recognizing and eliminating tumor cells. However, tumors frequently interfere with the development and function of immune responses. Thus, the challenge for cancer immunotherapy is to apply advances in cellular and molecular immunology and develop strategies that effectively and safely augment antitumor responses.
Cancer; immunotherapy; vaccines; antibodies; peptides; cytokines; clinical trials
Adoptive transfer of autologous or allogenic T cells to patients is being used with increased frequency as a therapy for infectious diseases and cancer. However, many questions remain with regard to defining optimized procedures for preparation and selection of T cell populations for transfer. In a new study in this issue of the JCI, Gattinoni and colleagues used a TCR transgenic mouse model to examine in vitro–generated tumor antigen–specific CD8+ T cells at various stages of differentiation for their efficacy in adoptive immunotherapy against transplantable melanoma. The results confirm that CD8+ T cells progressively lose immunocompetence with prolonged in vitro cultivation and suggest that effector CD8+ T cells alone may be considerably less potent at protecting hosts with advanced tumors than are less differentiated T cells.
In contrast to antigen-specific αβ-T cells (adaptive immune system), γδ-T cells can recognize and lyse malignantly transformed cells almost immediately upon encounter in a manner that does not require the recognition of tumor-specific antigens (innate immune system). Given the well-documented capacity of γδ-T cells to innately kill a variety of malignant cells, efforts are now actively underway to exploit the antitumor properties of γδ-T cells for clinical purposes. Here, we present for the first time preclinical in vivo mouse models of γδ-T cell-based immunotherapy directed against breast cancer. These studies were explicitly designed to approximate clinical situations in which adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells would be employed therapeutically against breast cancer. Using radioisotope-labeled γδ-T cells, we first show that adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells localize to breast tumors in a mouse model (4T1 mammary adenocarcinoma) of human breast cancer. Moreover, by using an antibody directed against the γδ-T cell receptor (TCR) we determined that localization of adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells to tumor is a TCR-dependant process. Additionally, biodistribution studies revealed that adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells traffic differently in tumor-bearing mice compared to healthy with fewer γδ-T cells localizing into the spleens of tumor-bearing mice. Finally, in both syngeneic (4T1) and xenogeneic (2Lmp) models of breast cancer, we demonstrate that adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells are both effective against breast cancer and are otherwise well-tolerated by treated animals. These findings provide a strong preclinical rationale for using ex vivo expanded adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells as a form of cell-based immunotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer. Additionally, these studies establish that clinically-applicable methods for radiolabeling γδ-T cells allows for the tracking of adoptively-transferred γδ-T cells in tumor-bearing hosts.
γδ-T cells; Immunotherapy; Cell therapy; Innate Immunity
CTL with optimal effector function play critical roles in mediating protection against various intracellular infections and cancer. However, individuals may exhibit suppressive immune microenvironment and, in contrast to activating CTL, their autologous antigen presenting cells may tend to tolerize or anergize antigen specific CTL. As a result, although still in the experimental phase, CTL-based adoptive immunotherapy has evolved to become a promising treatment for various diseases such as cancer and virus infections. In initial experiments ex vivo expanded CMV (cytomegalovirus) specific CTL have been used for treatment of CMV infection in immunocompromised allogeneic bone marrow transplant patients. While it is common to have life-threatening CMV viremia in these patients, none of the patients receiving expanded CTL develop CMV related illness, implying the anti-CMV immunity is established by the adoptively transferred CTL1. Promising results have also been observed for melanoma and may be extended to other types of cancer2.
While there are many ways to ex vivo stimulate and expand human CTL, current approaches are restricted by the cost and technical limitations. For example, the current gold standard is based on the use of autologous DC. This requires each patient to donate a significant number of leukocytes and is also very expensive and laborious. Moreover, detailed in vitro characterization of DC expanded CTL has revealed that these have only suboptimal effector function 3.
Here we present a highly efficient aAPC based system for ex vivo expansion of human CMV specific CTL for adoptive immunotherapy (Figure 1). The aAPC were made by coupling cell sized magnetic beads with human HLA-A2-Ig dimer and anti-CD28mAb4. Once aAPC are made, they can be loaded with various peptides of interest, and remain functional for months. In this report, aAPC were loaded with a dominant peptide from CMV, pp65 (NLVPMVATV). After culturing purified human CD8+ CTL from a healthy donor with aAPC for one week, CMV specific CTL can be increased dramatically in specificity up to 98% (Figure 2) and amplified more than 10,000 fold. If more CMV-specific CTL are required, further expansion can be easily achieved by repetitive stimulation with aAPC. Phenotypic and functional characterization shows these expanded cells have an effector-memory phenotype and make significant amounts of both TNFα and IFNγ (Figure 3).
The use of dendritic cells (DCs) as a cellular adjuvant is a promising approach to the immunotherapy of cancer. It has previously been demonstrated that DCs pulsed ex vivo with Toxoplasma gondii antigens trigger a systemic Th1-biased specific immune response and induce protective and specific antitoxoplasma immunity. In the present study, we demonstrate that tumor antigen-pulsed DCs matured in the presence of Toxoplasma gondii components induce a potent antitumor response in a mouse model of fibrosarcoma. Bone-marrow derived DCs (BMDCs) were cultured in the presence of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-4. After 5 days, tumor lysates with or without the T. gondii lysate were added to the culture for another 2 days. The cytokine production in the BMDC culture and the coculture supernatants of DCs and splenic cells was evaluated. For immunization, 7 days after tumor challenge, different groups of BALB/c mice received different kinds of DCs subcutaneously around the tumor site. Tumor growth was monitored, and 2 weeks after DC immunotherapy, the cytotoxic activity and the infiltration of CD8+ T cells were monitored in different groups. According to the findings, immunotherapy with T. gondii-matured DCs led to a significant increase in the activity of cytotoxic T cells and decreased the rate of growth of the tumor in immunized animals. Immature DCs did not cause any change in cytotoxic activity or the tumor growth rate compared to that in the healthy controls. The current study suggests that a specific antitumor immune response can be induced by DCs matured with T. gondii components and provide the basis for the use of T. gondii in DC-targeted clinical therapies.
Over the past few decades, great strides have been made to advance the field of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The donor immune mediated graft-vs-tumor effect that follows the procedure is now widely accepted as the most effective form cancer immunotherapy available for patients with a variety of advanced hematological malignancies. Recognition that a transplanted immune system could cure patients with treatment refractory leukemia led to the development of `low-intensity' conditioning regimens, which have improved the safety of the procedure and broadened the application of allogeneic immunotherapy to a growing list of neoplastic diseases. Here we discuss the investigational use of allogeneic transplantation as immunotherapy for patients with metastatic, treatment-refractory solid tumors.
allogeneic transplant; immunotherapy; graft-versus tumor; Nonmyeloablative stem cell transplant; Renal Cell Carcinoma.
To study the immune response to prostate cancer, we developed an autochthonous animal model based on the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mouse in which spontaneously developing tumors express influenza hemagglutinin as a unique, tumor-associated antigen. Our prior studies in these animals showed immunologic tolerance to hemagglutinin, mirroring the clinical situation in patients with cancer who are generally nonresponsive to their disease. We used this physiologically relevant animal model to assess the immunomodulatory effects of cyclophosphamide when administered in combination with an allogeneic, cell-based granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor–secreting cancer immunotherapy. Through adoptive transfer of prostate/prostate cancer–specific CD8 T cells as well as through studies of the endogenous T-cell repertoire, we found that cyclophosphamide induced a marked augmentation of the antitumor immune response. This effect was strongly dependent on both the dose and the timing of cyclophosphamide administration. Mechanistic studies showed that immune augmentation by cyclophosphamide was associated with a transient depletion of regulatory T cells in the tumor draining lymph nodes but not in the peripheral circulation. Interestingly, we also noted effects on dendritic cell phenotype; low-dose cyclophosphamide was associated with increased expression of dendritic cell maturation markers. Taken together, these data clarify the dose, timing, and mechanism of action by which immunomodulatory cyclophosphamide can be translated to a clinical setting in a combinatorial cancer treatment strategy.
Immunotherapy for B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (B-CLL) and other haematological malignancies may consist of passive antibody, active immunization or adoptive T-cell transfer. This chapter will focus on T-lymphocyte immunotherapy; an approach supported by earlier observations that the beneficial effects of allogeneic stem cell transplantation depend, in part, on the graft-versus-leukaemia effects mediated by these cells. One promising strategy consists of the genetic manipulation of effector T lymphocytes to express tumour-specific T-cell receptors or chimeric antigen receptors directed against surface antigens on the B-CLL cells. This methodology is now being integrated with the concept that tumour recurrence may be due to the persistence of a reservoir of more primitive and chemoresistant tumour cells, dubbed ‘cancer stem cells’, with self-renewal capacity. Identification and characterization of these cancer stem cells in B-CLL is crucial for the development of new anti-tumour agents, and for the identification of target antigens for cellular immunotherapy. This chapter will describe how immunotherapy may be directed to a more primitive side population of B-CLL cells.
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; immunotherapy; adoptive T-cell transfer; chimeric antigen receptor; CD19; CD20; immunoglobulins; cancer stem cells
Adoptive cellular immunotherapy utilizing tumor-reactive T cells has proven to be a promising strategy for cancer treatment. However, we hypothesize that successful treatment strategies will have to appropriately stimulate not only cellular immunity, but also humoral immunity. We previously reported that B cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN) may function as antigen-presenting cells. In this study, we identified TDLN B cells as effector cells in an adoptive immunotherapy model. In vivo primed and in vitro activated TDLN B cells alone mediated effective (p<0.05) tumor regression after adoptive transfer into two histologically distinct murine pulmonary metastatic tumor models. Prior lymphodepletion of the host with either chemotherapy or whole-body irradiation augmented the therapeutic efficacy of the adoptively transferred TDLN B cells in the treatment of subcutaneous tumors as well as metastatic pulmonary tumors. Furthermore, B cell plus T cell transfers resulted in substantially more efficient antitumor responses than B cells or T cells alone (p<0.05). Activated TDLN B cells conferred strong humoral responses to tumor. This was evident by the production of IgM, IgG and IgG2b, which bound specifically to tumor cells and led to specific tumor cell lysis in the presence of complement. Collectively, these data indicate that in vivo primed and in vitro activated B cells can be employed as effector cells for cancer therapy. The synergistic antitumor efficacy of co-transferred activated B effector cells and T effector cells represents a novel approach for cancer adoptive immunotherapy.
B Cells; T Cells; Antibody; Cytotoxicity; Cancer Immunotherapy
CD73, originally defined as a lymphocyte differentiation antigen, is thought to function as a co-signaling molecule on T lymphocytes and an adhesion molecule that is required for lymphocyte binding to endothelium. We show here that CD73 is widely expressed on many tumor cell lines and is upregulated in cancerous tissues. Because the ecto-5′-nucleotidase activity of CD73 catalyzes AMP breakdown to immunosuppressive adenosine, we hypothesized that CD73-generated adenosine prevents tumor destruction by inhibiting antitumor immunity. We confirmed this hypothesis by showing that combining tumor CD73 knockdown and tumor-specific T cell transfer cured all tumor-bearing mice. In striking contrast, there was no therapeutic benefit of adoptive T-cell immunotherapy in mice bearing tumors without CD73 knockdown. Moreover, blockade of the A2A adenosine receptor with a selective antagonist also augmented the efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy. These findings identify a potential mechanism for CD73-mediated tumor immune evasion and point to a novel cancer immunotherapy strategy by targeting the enzymatic activity of tumor CD73.
The cancer-testis antigen NY-ESO-1 has been used as a target for different immunotherapies like vaccinations and adoptive transfer of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells, as it is expressed in various tumor types and has limited expression in normal cells. The in vitro generation of T cells with defined antigen specificity by T cell receptor (TCR) gene transfer is an established method to create cells for immunotherapy. However, an extensive characterization of TCR which are candidates for treatment of patients is crucial for successful therapies. The TCR has to be efficiently expressed, their affinity to the desired antigen should be high enough to recognize low amounts of endogenously processed peptides on tumor cells, and the TCR should not be cross-reactive to other antigens. We characterized three NY-ESO-1 antigen-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocyte clones which were generated by different approaches of T cell priming (autologous, allogeneic), and transferred their TCR into donor T cells for more extensive evaluations. Although one TCR most efficiently bound MHC-multimers loaded with NY-ESO-1 peptide, T cells expressing this transgenic TCR were not able to recognize endogenously processed antigen. A second TCR recognized HLA-A2 independent of the bound peptide beside its much stronger recognition of NY-ESO-1 bound to HLA-A2. A third TCR displayed an intermediate but peptide-specific performance in all functional assays and, therefore, is the most promising candidate TCR for further clinical development. Our data indicate that multiple parameters of TCR gene-modified T cells have to be evaluated to identify an optimal TCR candidate for adoptive therapy.
tumor immunity; human; cytotoxic T cells; T cell receptor; NY-ESO-1
Infection with high risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is associated with cancer of the cervix, vagina, penis, vulva, anus and some cases of head and neck carcinomas. The HPV derived oncoproteins E6 and E7 are constitutively expressed in tumor cells and therefore potential targets for T cell mediated adoptive immunotherapy. Effective immunotherapy is dependent on the presence of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. However, low precursor frequencies of HPV16 specific T cells in patients and healthy donors hampers routine isolation of these cells for adoptive transfer purposes. An alternative to generate HPV specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells is TCR gene transfer.
HPV specific CD4+ T cells were generated using either a MHC class I or MHC class II restricted TCR (from clones A9 and 24.101 respectively) directed against HPV16 antigens. Functional analysis was performed by interferon-γ secretion, proliferation and cytokine production assays.
Introduction of HPV16 specific TCRs into blood derived CD4+ recipient T cells resulted in recognition of the relevant HPV16 epitope as determined by IFN-γ secretion. Importantly, we also show recognition of the endogenously processed and HLA-DP1 presented HPV16E6 epitope by 24.101 TCR transgenic CD4+ T cells and recognition of the HLA-A2 presented HPV16E7 epitope by A9 TCR transgenic CD4+ T cells.
Our data indicate that TCR transfer is feasible as an alternative strategy to generate human HPV16 specific CD4+ T helper cells for the treatment of patients suffering from cervical cancer and other HPV16 induced malignancies.
Both adoptive immunotherapy and gene therapy hold a great promise for treatment of malignancies. However, these strategies exhibit limited anti-tumor activity, when they are used alone. In this study, we explore whether combination of cytokine-induced killer (CIK) adoptive immunotherapy with oncolytic adenovirus-mediated transfer of human interleukin-12 (hIL-12) gene induce the enhanced antitumor potency. Our results showed that oncolytic adenovirus carrying hIL-12 (AdCN205-IL12) could produce high levels of hIL-12 in liver cancer cells, as compared with replication-defective adenovirus expressing hIL-12 (Ad-IL12). AdCN205-IL12 could specifically induce cytotoxocity to liver cancer cells. Combination of CIK cells with AdCN205-IL12 could induce higher antitumor activity to liver cancer cells in vitro than that induced by either CIK or AdCN205-IL12 alone, or combination of CIK and control vector AdCN205-GFP. Furthermore, treatment of the established liver tumors with the combined therapy of CIK cells and AdCN205-IL12 resulted in tumor regression and long-term survival. High level expression of hIL-12 in tumor tissues could increase traffic of CIK cells to tumor tissues and enhance their antitumor activities. Our study provides a novel strategy for the therapy of cancer by the combination of CIK adoptive immunotherapy with oncolytic adenovirus-mediated transfer of immune stimulatory molecule hIL-12.
Immunotherapy and chemotherapy are generally effective against small tumors in animal models of cancer. However, these treatment regimens are generally ineffective against large, bulky tumors. We have found that a multimodality treatment regimen using DNA vaccination in combination with chemotherapeutic agent epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound found in green tea, is effective in inhibiting large tumor growth. EGCG was found to induce tumor cellular apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. The combination of EGCG and DNA vaccination led to an enhanced tumor-specific T-cell immune response and enhanced antitumor effects, resulting in a higher cure rate than either immunotherapy or EGCG alone. In addition, combined DNA vaccination and oral EGCG treatment provided long-term antitumor protection in cured mice. Cured animals rejected a challenge of E7-expressing tumors, such as TC-1 and B16E7, but not a challenge of B16 7 weeks after the combined treatment, showing antigen-specific immune responses. These results suggest that multimodality treatment strategies, such as combining immunotherapy with a tumor-killing cancer drug, may be a more effective anticancer strategy than single-modality treatments.
Epstein Barr virus (EBV)+ Hodgkin's disease (HD) expresses clearly identified tumor antigens derived from the virus and could, in principle, be a target for adoptive immunotherapy with viral antigen–specific T cells. However, like most tumor-associated antigens in immunocompetent hosts, these potential targets are only weakly immunogenic, consisting primarily of the latent membrane protein (LMP)1 and LMP2 antigens. Moreover, Hodgkin tumors possess a range of tumor evasion strategies. Therefore, the likely value of immunotherapy with EBV-specific cytotoxic effector cells has been questioned. We have now used a combination of gene marking, tetramer, and functional analyses to track the fate and assess the activity of EBV cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) lines administered to 14 patients treated for relapsed EBV+ HD. Gene marking studies showed that infused effector cells could further expand by several logs in vivo, contribute to the memory pool (persisting up to 12 mo), and traffic to tumor sites. Tetramer and functional analyses showed that T cells reactive with the tumor-associated antigen LMP2 were present in the infused lines, expanded in peripheral blood after infusion, and also entered tumor. Viral load decreased, demonstrating the biologic activity of the infused CTLs. Clinically, EBV CTLs were well tolerated, could control type B symptoms (fever, night sweats, and weight loss), and had antitumor activity. After CTL infusion, five patients were in complete remission at up to 40 mo, two of whom had clearly measurable tumor at the time of treatment. One additional patient had a partial response, and five had stable disease. The performance and fate of these human tumor antigen–specific T cells in vivo suggests that they might be of value for the treatment of EBV+ Hodgkin lymphoma.
immunotherapy; lymphoma; Epstein-Barr virus; LMP2; gene marking
Adoptive cellular immunotherapy (ACI) has been demonstrated to be a promising cancer therapeutic, however, the distribution of immune cells injected into a tumor-bearing body is unclear. In this study, we investigated the tumor-targeting capacity of cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in a human gastric carcinoma orthotopic mouse model using a near-infrared fluorescence imaging system. CIK cells and tumor-specific CTLs were prepared with the near-infrared fluorescent dye DiR. As expected, no significant change in the proliferation rate or antitumor activity of CIK cells and CTLs was noted after labeling with DiR. Furthermore, a gastric carcinoma orthotopic model was established using a fibrinogen-thrombin method in nude mice followed by intraperitoneal infusion of the labeled immune cells into nude mice with established gastric carcinoma. Dynamic tracing of the immune cells was performed using a fluorescence-based live imaging system. Concentrated fluorescence signals were observed for a minimum of two weeks at the tumor site in mice infused with either CIK cells or CTLs with a peak signal at 48 h. Notably, CTLs were more persistent at the tumor site and exhibited a more intense antitumor activity than CIK cells following infusion. These results provided visual evidence of the tumor-targeting capacity of immune cells in live animals.
gastric carcinoma orthotopic model; cytokine-induced killer cells; cytotoxic T lymphocytes; antitumor effect; near-infrared fluorescence live imaging