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J Immunother. 2007 Sep;30(6):663-74.

Effective clinical-scale production of dendritic cell vaccines by monocyte elutriation directly in medium, subsequent culture in bags and final antigen loading using peptides or RNA transfection.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Erlangen, Hartmannstrasse, Germany.


Dendritic cell (DC) vaccination approaches are advancing fast into the clinic. The major obstacle for further improvement is the current lack of a simple functionally "closed" system to generate standardized monocyte-derived (mo) DC vaccines. Here, we significantly optimized the use of the Elutra counterflow elutriation system to enrich monocytic DC precursors by (1) developing an algorithm to avoid red blood cell debulking and associated monocyte loss before elutriation, and (2) by elutriation directly in culture medium rather than phosphate-buffered saline. Upon elutriation the bags containing the collected monocytes are simply transferred into the incubator to generate DC progeny as the final "open" washing step is no longer required. Elutriation resulted in significantly more (> or = 2-fold) and purer DC than the standard gradient centrifugation/adherence-based monocyte enrichment, whereas morphology, maturation markers, viability, migratory capacity, and T cell stimulatory capacity were identical. Subsequently, we compared RNA transfection, as this is an increasingly used approach to load DC with antigen. Elutra-derived and adherence-derived DC could be electroporated with similar, high efficiency (on average >85% green fluorescence protein positive), and appeared also equal in antigen expression kinetics. Both Elutra-derived and adherence-derived DC, when loaded with the MelanA peptide or electroporated with MelanA RNA, showed a high T cell stimulation capacity, that is, priming of MelanA-specific CD8+ T cells. Our optimized Elutra-based procedure is straightforward, clearly superior to the standard gradient centrifugation/plastic adherence protocol, and now allows the generation of large numbers of peptide-loaded or RNA-transfected DC in a functionally closed system.

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