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Cancer Gene Ther. 2010 Oct;17(10):730-41. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2010.29. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

Tumor cells engineered to codisplay on their surface 4-1BBL and LIGHT costimulatory proteins as a novel vaccine approach for cancer immunotherapy.

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  • 1Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, Department of Microbiology and Immunology and James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.


Primary tumor cells genetically modified to express a collection of immunological ligands on their surface may have the utility as therapeutic autologous cancer vaccines. However, genetic modification of primary tumor cells is not only cost, labor and time intensive, but also has safety repercussions. As an alternative, we developed the ProtEx technology that involves generation of immunological ligands with core streptavidin (SA) and their display on biotinylated cells in a rapid and efficient manner. We herein demonstrate that TC-1 tumor cells can be rapidly and efficiently engineered to codisplay on their surface two costimulatory proteins, SA-4-1BBL and SA-LIGHT, simultaneously. Vaccination with irradiated TC-1 cells codisplaying both chimeric proteins showed 100% efficacy in a prophylactic and >55% efficacy in a therapeutic tumor setting. In contrast, vaccination with TC-1 cells engineered with either protein alone showed significantly reduced efficacy in the prophylactic setting. Vaccine efficacy was associated with the generation of primary and memory T-cell and antibody responses against the tumor without detectable signs of autoimmunity. Engineering tumor cells in a rapid and effective manner to simultaneously display on their surface a collection of immunostimulatory proteins with additive/synergistic functions presents a novel alternative approach to gene therapy with considerable potential for cancer immunotherapy.

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