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Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 1;69(5):2034-41. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2523. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

Kinetic preservation of dual specificity of coprogrammed minor histocompatibility antigen-reactive virus-specific T cells.

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Department of Hematology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.


Adoptive transfer of antigen-specific T cells is an attractive strategy for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. It has been shown that T cells recognizing minor histocompatibility antigens (mHag) selectively expressed on hematopoietic cells mediate antileukemic reactivity after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. However, large numbers of T cells with defined specificity are difficult to attain. An attractive strategy to obtain large numbers of leukemia-reactive T cells is retroviral transfer of mHag-specific T-cell receptors (TCR). TCR transfer into T cells specific for persistent viruses may enable these T cells to proliferate both after encountering with viral antigens as well as mHags, increasing the possibility of in vivo survival. We analyzed whether the dual specificity of the TCR-transferred T cells after repetitive stimulation via either the introduced antileukemic HA-2-TCR or the endogenous cytomegalovirus (CMV) specific CMV-TCR was preserved. We show that after repetitive stimulation, T cells skew to a population predominantly expressing the triggered TCR. However, HA-2-TCR-transferred CMV-specific T cells with high antileukemic HA-2-TCR expression but low CMV-TCR expression were able to persist and proliferate after repetitive stimulation with pp65. Moreover, HA-2-TCR-transferred CMV-specific T cells remained dual specific after repetitive stimulation and TCR expression could be reverted after additional stimulation via the previously nonstimulated TCR, restoring high-avidity interactions. These data imply persistence of TCR-transferred virus-specific T cells with both antileukemic and antivirus reactivity in vivo.

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