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J Immunol Methods. 2010 Apr 15;355(1-2):52-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Feb 19.

Ex vivo expansion protocol for human tumor specific T cells for adoptive T cell therapy.

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Department of Immunology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


Adoptive T cell therapy is a promising treatment strategy for patients with different types of cancer. The methods used for generation of high numbers of tumor specific T cells usually require long-term ex vivo culture, which frequently lead to generation of terminally differentiated effector cells, demonstrating low persistence in vivo. Therefore, optimization of protocols for generation of T cells for adoptive cell therapy is warranted. The aim of this work was to develop a protocol for expansion of antigen-specific T cells using Dynabeads CD3/CD28 to obtain T cells expressing markers important for in vivo persistence and survival. To achieve high numbers of antigen-specific T cells following expansion, we have tested the effect of depleting regulatory T cells using Dynabeads CD25 and including a pre-stimulation step with peptide prior to the non-specific expansion with Dynabeads. Our data demonstrate that virus- and tumor specific T cells can be expanded to high numbers using Dynabeads CD3/CD28 following optimization of the culture conditions. The expansion protocol presented here results in enrichment of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells with an early/intermediate memory phenotype. This is observed even when the antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells demonstrated a terminal effector phenotype prior to expansion. This protocol thus results in expanded T cells with a phenotypic profile which may increase the chance of retaining long-term persistence following adoptive transfer. Based on these data we have developed a cGMP protocol for expansion of tumor specific T cells for adoptive T cell therapy.

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