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1.  Establishment and operation of a Good Manufacturing Practice-compliant allogeneic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific cytotoxic cell bank for the treatment of EBV-associated lymphoproliferative disease 
British Journal of Haematology  2014;167(3):402-410.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with several malignancies, including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). Conventional treatments for PTLD are often successful, but risk organ rejection and cause significant side effects. EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) generated in vitro from peripheral blood lymphocytes provide an alternative treatment modality with few side effects, but autologous CTLs are difficult to use in clinical practice. Here we report the establishment and operation of a bank of EBV-specific CTLs derived from 25 blood donors with human leucocyte antigen (HLA) types found at high frequency in European populations. Since licensure, there have been enquiries about 37 patients, who shared a median of three class I and two class II HLA types with these donors. Cells have been infused into ten patients with lymphoproliferative disease, eight of whom achieved complete remission. Neither patient with refractory disease was matched for HLA class II. Both cases of EBV-associated non-haematopoietic sarcoma receiving cells failed to achieve complete remission. Thirteen patients died before any cells could be issued, emphasizing that the bank should be contacted before patients become pre-terminal. Thus, this third party donor-derived EBV-specific CTL cell bank can supply most patients with appropriately matched cells and most recipients have good outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4232001  PMID: 25066775
cell therapy; Epstein-Barr virus; cytotoxicity; lymphoproliferative disease
2.  Percutaneous coronary intervention causes a rapid but transient mobilisation of CD34+CD45− cells 
Open Heart  2014;1(1):e000047.
Circulating CD34+CD45− cell concentrations are increased in patients with coronary artery disease, however their pathophysiological significance is unknown. We determined CD34+CD45− cell concentrations following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in order to explore their role in acute vascular injury.
In a prospective time-course analysis, we quantified using flow cytometry circulating CD34+CD45− cells, traditional CD34+VEGFR-2+ putative endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), CD14+ VEGFR− 2+Tie-2+ angiogenic monocytes and intercellular adhesion molecule expression (CXCR-4 and CD18) in patients, before and during the first week following diagnostic angiography (n=13) or PCI (n=23). Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and C reactive protein (CRP) were quantified by ELISA.
Unlike diagnostic angiography, PCI increased circulating neutrophil and CRP concentrations at 24 and 48 h, respectively (p<0.002 for both). CD34+CD45− cell concentrations were unaffected by angiography (p>0.4), but were transiently increased 6 h following PCI (median (IQR) 0.93 (0.43–1.49) vs 1.51 (0.96–2.15)×106 cells/L; p=0.01), returning to normal by 24 h.
This occurred in the absence of any change in serum VEFG-A concentration, adhesion molecule expression on CD34+ cells, or mobilisation of traditional EPCs or angiogenic monocytes (p>0.1 for all).
PCI transiently increases circulating CD34+CD45− cells, without increasing CD34+ adhesion molecule expression or VEGF-A concentrations, suggesting that CD34+CD45− cells may be mobilised from the vessel wall directly as a result of mechanical injury. Traditional putative EPC and angiogenic monocytes are unaffected by PCI, and are unlikely to be important in the acute response to vascular injury.
PMCID: PMC4189250  PMID: 25332796
3.  Identification of the Niche and Phenotype of the First Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells 
Stem Cell Reports  2014;2(4):449-456.
In various vertebrate species, the dorsal aorta (Ao) is the site of specification of adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). It has been observed that the upregulation of essential hematopoietic transcription factors and the formation of specific intra-aortic hematopoietic cell clusters occur predominantly in the ventral domain of the Ao (AoV). In the mouse, the first HSCs emerge in the AoV. Here, we demonstrate that in the human embryo the first definitive HSCs also emerge asymmetrically and are localized to the AoV, which thus identifies a functional niche for developing human HSCs. Using magnetic cell separation and xenotransplantations, we show that the first human HSCs are CD34+VE-cadherin+CD45+C-KIT+THY-1+Endoglin+RUNX1+CD38−/loCD45RA−. This population harbors practically all committed hematopoietic progenitors and is underrepresented in the dorsal domain of the Ao (AoD) and urogenital ridges (UGRs). The present study provides a foundation for analysis of molecular mechanisms underpinning embryonic specification of human HSCs.
•The first human HSCs develop in the AoV•These cells are CD34+VE-cadherin+CD45+C-KIT+THY-1+Endoglin+RUNX1+CD38−/loCD45RA−•VE-cadherin is a functionally important surface antigen of AGM region HSCs
Human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) first appear in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region. Medvinsky and colleagues demonstrate that the first human HSCs emerge asymmetrically in the ventral domain of the dorsal aorta (AoV) and are CD34+VE-cadherin+CD45+C-KIT+THY-1+Endoglin+RUNX1+CD38−/loCD45RA−. This study provides a foundation for further mechanistic analysis of early HSC specification during human development.
PMCID: PMC3986508  PMID: 24749070
4.  Systematic assessment in an animal model of the angiogenic potential of different human cell sources for therapeutic revascularization 
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) capable of initiating or augmenting vascular growth were recently identified within the small population of CD34-expressing cells that circulate in human peripheral blood and which are considered hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC). Soon thereafter human HPC began to be used in clinical trials as putative sources of EPC for therapeutic vascular regeneration, especially in myocardial and critical limb ischemias. However, unlike HPC where hematopoietic efficacy is related quantitatively to CD34+ cell numbers implanted, there has been no consensus on how to measure EPC or how to assess cellular graft potency for vascular regeneration. We employed an animal model of spontaneous neovascularization to simultaneously determine whether human cells incorporate into new vessels and to quantify the effect of different putative angiogenic cells on vascularization in terms of number of vessels generated. We systematically compared competence for therapeutic angiogenesis in different sources of human cells with putative angiogenic potential, to begin to provide some rationale for optimising cell procurement for this therapy.
Human cells employed were mononuclear cells from normal peripheral blood and HPC-rich cell sources (umbilical cord blood, mobilized peripheral blood, bone marrow), CD34+ enriched or depleted subsets of these, and outgrowth cell populations from these. An established sponge implant angiogenesis model was adapted to determine the effects of different human cells on vascularization of implants in immunodeficient mice. Angiogenesis was quantified by vessel density and species of origin by immunohistochemistry.
CD34+ cells from mobilized peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood HPC were the only cells to promote new vessel growth, but did not incorporate into vessels. Only endothelial outgrowth cells (EOC) incorporated into vessels, but these did not promote vessel growth.
These studies indicate that, since EPC are very rare, any benefit seen in clinical trials of HPC in therapeutic vascular regeneration is predominantly mediated by indirect proangiogenic effects rather than through direct incorporation of any rare EPC contained within these sources. It should be possible to produce autologous EOC for therapeutic use, and evaluate the effect of EPC distinct from, or in synergy with, the proangiogenic effects of HPC therapies.
PMCID: PMC3580461  PMID: 22759659
5.  Highly potent human hematopoietic stem cells first emerge in the intraembryonic aorta-gonad-mesonephros region 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2011;208(12):2417-2427.
Human HSCs appear first in the embryonic dorsal aorta, and only later in the yolk sac, liver, and placenta; a single human AGM region HSC can generate at least 300 daughter HSCs that are retransplantable into secondary recipient mice.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) emerge during embryogenesis and maintain hematopoiesis in the adult organism. Little is known about the embryonic development of human HSCs. We demonstrate that human HSCs emerge first in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region, specifically in the dorsal aorta, and only later appear in the yolk sac, liver, and placenta. AGM region cells transplanted into immunodeficient mice provide long-term high level multilineage hematopoietic repopulation. Human AGM region HSCs, although present in low numbers, exhibit a very high self-renewal potential. A single HSC derived from the AGM region generates at least 300 daughter HSCs in primary recipients, which disseminate throughout the entire recipient bone marrow and are retransplantable. These findings highlight the vast regenerative potential of the earliest human HSCs and set a new standard for in vitro generation of HSCs from pluripotent stem cells for the purpose of regenerative medicine.
PMCID: PMC3256972  PMID: 22042975
6.  All Clinically-Relevant Blood Components Transmit Prion Disease following a Single Blood Transfusion: A Sheep Model of vCJD 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23169.
Variant CJD (vCJD) is an incurable, infectious human disease, likely arising from the consumption of BSE-contaminated meat products. Whilst the epidemic appears to be waning, there is much concern that vCJD infection may be perpetuated in humans by the transfusion of contaminated blood products. Since 2004, several cases of transfusion-associated vCJD transmission have been reported and linked to blood collected from pre-clinically affected donors. Using an animal model in which the disease manifested resembles that of humans affected with vCJD, we examined which blood components used in human medicine are likely to pose the greatest risk of transmitting vCJD via transfusion. We collected two full units of blood from BSE-infected donor animals during the pre-clinical phase of infection. Using methods employed by transfusion services we prepared red cell concentrates, plasma and platelets units (including leucoreduced equivalents). Following transfusion, we showed that all components contain sufficient levels of infectivity to cause disease following only a single transfusion and also that leucoreduction did not prevent disease transmission. These data suggest that all blood components are vectors for prion disease transmission, and highlight the importance of multiple control measures to minimise the risk of human to human transmission of vCJD by blood transfusion.
PMCID: PMC3157369  PMID: 21858015
7.  Generation Scotland: Donor DNA Databank; A control DNA resource 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:166.
Many medical disorders of public health importance are complex diseases caused by multiple genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Recent technological advances have made it possible to analyse the genetic variants that predispose to complex diseases. Reliable detection of these variants requires genome-wide association studies in sufficiently large numbers of cases and controls. This approach is often hampered by difficulties in collecting appropriate control samples. The Generation Scotland: Donor DNA Databank (GS:3D) aims to help solve this problem by providing a resource of control DNA and plasma samples accessible for research.
GS:3D participants were recruited from volunteer blood donors attending Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) clinics across Scotland. All participants gave full written consent for GS:3D to take spare blood from their normal donation. Participants also supplied demographic data by completing a short questionnaire.
Over five thousand complete sets of samples, data and consent forms were collected. DNA and plasma were extracted and stored. The data and samples were unlinked from their original SNBTS identifier number. The plasma, DNA and demographic data are available for research. New data obtained from analysis of the resource will be fed back to GS:3D and will be made available to other researchers as appropriate.
Recruitment of blood donors is an efficient and cost-effective way of collecting thousands of control samples. Because the collection is large, subsets of controls can be selected, based on age range, gender, and ethnic or geographic origin. The GS:3D resource should reduce time and expense for investigators who would otherwise have had to recruit their own controls.
PMCID: PMC3002899  PMID: 21092308
8.  Optimal ex vivo expansion of neutrophils from PBSC CD34+ cells by a combination of SCF, Flt3-L and G-CSF and its inhibition by further addition of TPO 
Autologous mobilised peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation is now a standard approach in the treatment of haematological diseases to reconstitute haematopoiesis following myeloablative chemotherapy. However, there remains a period of severe neutropenia and thrombocytopenia before haematopoietic reconstitution is achieved. Ex vivo expanded PBSC have been employed as an adjunct to unmanipulated HSC transplantation, but have tended to be produced using complex cytokine mixtures aimed at multilineage (neutrophil and megakaryocyte) progenitor expansion. These have been reported to reduce or abrogate neutropenia but have little major effect on thrombocytopenia. Selective megakaryocyte expansion has been to date ineffective in reducing thrombocytopenia. This study was implemented to evaluate neutrophil specific rather than multilineage ex vivo expansion of PBSC for specifically focusing on reduction or abrogation of neutropenia.
CD34+ cells (PBSC) were enriched from peripheral blood mononuclear cells following G-CSF-mobilisation and cultured with different permutations of cytokines to determine optimal cytokine combinations and doses for expansion and functional differentiation and maturation of neutrophils and their progenitors. Results were assessed by cell number, morphology, phenotype and function.
A simple cytokine combination, SCF + Flt3-L + G-CSF, synergised to optimally expand and mature neutrophil progenitors assessed by cell number, phenotype, morphology and function (superoxide respiratory burst measured by chemiluminescence). G-CSF appears mandatory for functional maturation. Addition of other commonly employed cytokines, IL-3 and IL-6, had no demonstrable additive effect on numbers or function compared to this optimal combination. Addition of TPO, commonly included in multilineage progenitor expansion for development of megakaryocytes, reduced the maturation of neutrophil progenitors as assessed by number, morphology and function (respiratory burst activity).
Given that platelet transfusion support is available for autologous PBSC transplantation but granulocyte transfusion is generally lacking, and that multilineage expanded PBSC do not reduce thrombocytopenia, we suggest that instead of multilineage expansion selective neutrophil expansion based on this relatively simple cytokine combination might be prioritized for development for clinical use as an adjunct to unmanipulated PBSC transplantation to reduce or abrogate post-transplant neutropenia.
PMCID: PMC2174439  PMID: 17971220
9.  Application of Atomic Dielectric Resonance Spectroscopy for the screening of blood samples from patients with clinical variant and sporadic CJD 
Sub-clinical variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) infection and reports of vCJD transmission through blood transfusion emphasise the need for blood screening assays to ensure the safety of blood and transplanted tissues. Most assays aim to detect abnormal prion protein (PrPSc), although achieving required sensitivity is a challenge.
We have used innovative Atomic Dielectric Resonance Spectroscopy (ADRS), which determines dielectric properties of materials which are established by reflectivity and penetration of radio/micro waves, to analyse blood samples from patients and controls to identify characteristic ADR signatures unique to blood from vCJD and to sCJD patients. Initial sets of blood samples from vCJD, sCJD, non-CJD neurological diseases and normal healthy adults (blood donors) were screened as training samples to determine group-specific ADR characteristics, and provided a basis for classification of blinded sets of samples.
Blood sample groups from vCJD, sCJD, non-CJD neurological diseases and normal healthy adults (blood donors) screened by ADRS were classified with 100% specificity and sensitivity, discriminating these by a co-variance expert analysis system.
ADRS appears capable of recognising and discriminating serum samples from vCJD, sCJD, non-CJD neurological diseases, and normal healthy adults, and might be developed to provide a system for primary screening or confirmatory assay complementary to other screening systems.
PMCID: PMC2008164  PMID: 17760958
10.  Absence of a relationship between immunophenotypic and colony enumeration analysis of endothelial progenitor cells in clinical haematopoietic cell sources 
The discovery of adult endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) offers potential for vascular regenerative therapies. The expression of CD34 and VEGFR2 by EPC indicates a close relationship with haematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC), and HPC-rich sources have been used to treat cardiac and limb ischaemias with apparent clinical benefit. However, the laboratory characterisation of the vasculogenic capability of potential or actual therapeutic cell autograft sources is uncertain since the description of EPC remains elusive. Various definitions of EPC based on phenotype and more recently on colony formation (CFU-EPC) have been proposed.
We determined EPC as defined by proposed phenotype definitions (flow cytometry) and by CFU-EPC in HPC-rich sources: bone marrow (BM); cord blood (CB); and G-CSF-mobilised peripheral blood (mPB), and in HPC-poor normal peripheral blood (nPB).
As expected, the highest numbers of cells expressing the HPC markers CD34 or CD133 were found in mPB and least in nPB. The proportions of CD34+ cells co-expressing CD133 is of the order mPB>CB>BM≈nPB. CD34+ cells co-expressing VEGFR2 were also most frequent in mPB. In contrast, CFU-EPC were virtually absent in mPB and were most readily detected in nPB, the source lowest in HPC.
HPC sources differ in their content of putative EPC. Normal peripheral blood, poor in HPC and in HPC-related phenotypically defined EPC, is the richest source of CFU-EPC, suggesting no direct relationship between the proposed EPC immunophenotypes and CFU-EPC potential. It is not apparent whether either of these EPC measurements, or any, is an appropriate indicator of the therapeutic vasculogenic potential of autologous HSC sources.
PMCID: PMC1949398  PMID: 17640360

Results 1-10 (10)