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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1994 Apr 5;43(8):700-5.

Preliminary validation of an activation assay for ex vivo activated T cells utilized in cancer immunotherapy.

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Cellcor Inc, 200 Wells Avenue, Newton, Massachusetts 02159, USA.


An in vitro assay that measures the activation level of ex vivo activated (EVA) T cells currently being used in the adoptive immunotherapy of metastatic renal cell carcinoma has been developed. This assay is based on the ability of activated, but not resting. T cells to proliferate in response to the protein kinase C activator, phorbol myristate (PMA). To utilize this assay for in-process monitoring and control, we have begun an initial validation of the overall reproducibility of this assay. The proliferation of activated T cells in response to PMA, as measured by the mean cpm values of (3)H-thymidine incorporated, was demonstrated to have intra-assay coefficients of variation (cv's) for individual analysts that were typically less than 10% and rarely exceeded 20%. Activated T cells could be frozen and stored for at least 6 weeks with little or no deterioration in their ability to proliferate in response to PMA. Using these cells, inter-assay cv's that were typically less than 15% were obtained by individual analysts, and overall cv's of 10% to 25% were obtained for different samples assayed by different analysts at different times. This level of variability is very reasonable for a cellular assay. Further validation of this assay will address the issues of sensitivity, linearity and selectivity. To date, this assay has been used to analyze over 90 patient EVA cell samples and has revealed a broad range of proliferative responses to PMA. Taken together, these results suggest that this assay may be useful in defining the potency of the activated T cell used therapeutically.


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