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Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Feb;20(2):143-8.

Ex vivo expansion of polyclonal and antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes by artificial APCs expressing ligands for the T-cell receptor, CD28 and 4-1BB.

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  • 1Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The ex vivo priming and expansion of human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) has potential for use in immunotherapy applications for cancer and infectious diseases. To overcome the difficulty in obtaining sufficient numbers of CTLs, we have developed artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs) expressing ligands for the T-cell receptor (TCR) and the CD28 and 4-1BB co-stimulatory surface molecules. These aAPCs reproducibly activate and rapidly expand polyclonal or antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells. The starting repertoire of CD8+ T cells was preserved during culture. Furthermore, apoptosis of cultured CD8(+) T cells was diminished by this approach. This approach may have important therapeutic implications for adoptive immunotherapy.

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