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Curr Opin Oncol. 2001 Sep;13(5):349-53.

Epstein-Barr virus-specific T cells for the management of Epstein-Barr virus lymphomas.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a human herpes virus, is associated with a variety of malignancies. In vitro, it is able to transform B cells, which will grow as lymphoblastoid cell lines in the absence of T cells. Patients with a variety of immunodeficiency diseases are subject to the development of B-cell lymphomas that express viral antigens on their cell surface. Development of EBV-associated B-cell lymphomas is seen in solid organ transplant and bone marrow transplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy. Transfer of mature T cells from EBV-immune marrow donors has been demonstrated to be effective in controlling these EBV-associated B-cell tumors. Recently the demonstration that EBV transcripts are found in other lymphomas (including Hodgkin disease cells) has led to the suggestion that transfer of EBV-specific T cells may also be effective in managing these tumors. Current research involves optimizing methods to expand cells that recognize the EBV antigens expressed in the lymphoma cells.

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