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J Immunother. 2007 Jul-Aug;30(5):506-16.

Autologous designer antigen-presenting cells by gene modification of T lymphocyte blasts with IL-7 and IL-12.

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  • 1Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, The Methodist Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital, 6621 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


An effective immune response to antigen requires professional antigen-presenting cell (APC), which not only present antigen, but also provide costimulation and cytokines (eg, IL-12) that drive T cell differentiation down the appropriate effector pathway (Tc1/TH1). For T cell-based immunotherapy protocols, the availability of large numbers of autologous professional APC is a major limitation because professional APC do not proliferate in vitro. T cells themselves can proliferate exponentially in vitro and have the ability to present antigen. They can also express costimulatory molecules after activation. Therefore, we hypothesized that if activated T cells were genetically modified to express proinflammatory cytokines required to polarize T cells toward a Tc1 response, they could fulfill the requirements for an abundant, autologous APC. To test this potential, T cells were activated by CD3/CD28 antibodies and pulsed with model HLA-A2+ peptides derived from CMVpp65, MAGE-3, and MART-1. Activated T-APC readily reactivated CD8 pp65 memory T cells from healthy CMV seropositive donors; however, the activation of MAGE-3 and MART-1-specific CD8 T cells required both IL-7 and IL-12, which could be provided either exogenously or by genetic modification of the T-APC. Responder T cells could be expanded to large numbers with subsequent stimulations using activated, peptide-pulsed T-APC and IL-2. Tumor antigen-specific T cell lines killed both peptide-pulsed target cells and tumor cell lines. Thus, T cells provide a platform for the generation of autologous APC that can be customized to express both antigens and therapeutic molecules for the induction of antigen-specific T cell immunity.

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