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Nat Med. 2001 Jul;7(7):789-94.

Adoptive transfer of minor histocompatibility antigen-specific T lymphocytes eradicates leukemia cells without causing graft-versus-host disease.

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Guy-Bernier Research Center, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Adoptive transfer of T cells reactive to minor histocompatibility antigens has the unmatched ability to eradicate malignant hematopoietic cells. Unfortunately, its use is hampered by the associated graft-versus-host disease. The critical issue of a possible dissociation of the antileukemic effect and graft-versus-host disease by targeting specific minor histocompatibility antigens remains unresolved because of the unknown nature and number of minor histocompatibility antigens necessary or sufficient to elicit anti-leukemic activity and graft-versus-host disease. We found that injection of T lymphocytes primed against a single major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted immunodominant minor histocompatibility antigen (B6dom1) caused no graft-versus-host disease but produced a curative anti-leukemic response. Avoidance of graft-versus-host disease required that no other host-reactive T cells be co-injected with T cells primed with B6dom1. Here we show that effective and non-toxic immunotherapy of hematologic malignancies can be achieved by targeting a single immunodominant minor histocompatibility antigen.

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