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Gene Ther. 2010 Jun;17(6):721-32. doi: 10.1038/gt.2010.4. Epub 2010 Feb 18.

Generation of multi-functional antigen-specific human T-cells by lentiviral TCR gene transfer.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.


T-cell receptor (TCR) gene transfer is an attractive strategy to generate antigen-specific T-cells for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer and chronic viral infection. However, current TCR gene transfer protocols trigger T-cell differentiation into terminally differentiated effector cells, which likely have reduced ability to mediate disease protection in vivo. We have developed a lentiviral gene transfer strategy to generate TCR-transduced human T-cells without promoting T-cell differentiation. We found that a combination of interleukin-15 (IL15) and IL21 facilitated lentiviral TCR gene transfer into non-proliferating T-cells. The transduced T-cells showed redirection of antigen specificity and produced IL2, IFNgamma and TNFalpha in a peptide-dependent manner. A significantly higher proportion of the IL15/IL21-stimulated T-cells were multi-functional and able to simultaneously produce all three cytokines (P<0.01), compared with TCR-transduced T-cells generated by conventional anti-CD3 plus IL2 stimulation, which primarily secreted only one cytokine. Similarly, IL15/IL21 maintained high levels of CD62L and CD28 expression in transduced T-cells, whereas anti-CD3 plus IL2 accelerated the loss of CD62L/CD28 expression. The data demonstrate that the combination of lentiviral TCR gene transfer together with IL15/IL21 stimulation can efficiently redirect the antigen specificity of resting primary human T-cells and generate multi-functional T-cells.

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