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Blood. 2010 Nov 25;116(22):4700-2. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-06-289991. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Allogeneic virus-specific T cells with HLA alloreactivity do not produce GVHD in human subjects.

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  • 1Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Adoptive transfer of viral antigen-specific memory T cells can reconstitute antiviral immunity, but in a recent report a majority of virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) lines showed in vitro cross-reactivity against allo-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules as measured by interferon-γ secretion. We therefore reviewed our clinical experience with adoptive transfer of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation donor-derived virus-specific CTLs in 153 recipients, including 73 instances where there was an HLA mismatch. There was no de novo acute graft-versus-host disease after infusion, and incidence of graft-versus-host disease reactivation was low and not significantly different in recipients of matched or mismatched CTL. However, we found that virus-specific T cell lines recognized up to 10% of a panel of 44 HLA disparate targets, indicating that virus-specific T cells can have cross-reactivity with HLA-mismatched targets in vitro. These data indicate that the adoptive transfer of partially HLA-mismatched virus-specific CTL is safe despite in vitro recognition of recipient HLA molecules.

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