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Blood. 1999 Nov 1;94(9):2999-3006.

Allo-major histocompatibility complex-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes engraft in bone marrow transplant recipients without causing graft-versus-host disease.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Imperial College School of Science Technology and Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


Previous experiments in humans and mice have shown that allogeneic donors can serve as a source of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) specific for proteins, such as cyclin-D1 and mdm-2, expressed at elevated levels in tumor cells. In vitro, allo-major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted CTL against these proteins selectively killed allogeneic tumor cells, including lymphoma, but not normal control cells. This suggested that these CTL may be useful for adoptive tumor immunotherapy, provided that they (1) survive in MHC-disparate hosts, (2) maintain their killing specificity, and (3) do not attack normal host tissues. Here, we used cloned allo-restricted CTL isolated from BALB/c mice (H-2(d)) that killed H-2(b)-derived tumor cells expressing elevated levels of the mdm-2 target protein. When these CTL were injected into bone marrow transplanted (BMT) C57BL/6 (H-2(b)) recipients, they consistently engrafted and were detectable in lymphoid tissues and in the bone marrow (BM). Long-term survival was most efficient in spleen and lymph nodes, where CTL were found up to 14 weeks after injection. The administration of CTL did not cause graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) normally associated with injection of allogeneic T cells. These data show that allo-restricted CTL clones are promising reagents for antigen-specific immunotherapy in BMT hosts, because they engraft and retain their specific killing activity without causing GVHD.

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