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Blood. 2011 Dec 22;118(26):6845-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-09-377804. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

IL-15 administered by continuous infusion to rhesus macaques induces massive expansion of CD8+ T effector memory population in peripheral blood.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


IL-15 promotes activation and maintenance of natural killer (NK) and CD8(+) T effector memory (T(EM)) cells, making it a potential immunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer and immunodeficiency states. Here we report the immunologic effects of 3 different IL-15 dosing strategies in Rhesus macaques. IL-15 at a dose of 20 μg/kg/d administered by continuous intravenous infusion for 10 days resulted in a massive (100-fold) expansion of CD8(+) T(EM) cells in the peripheral blood. In contrast, the administration of 20-40 μg/kg/d of IL-15 by subcutaneous injection resulted in a more modest (10-fold) expansion of CD8(+) T(EM) cells. NK expansion was similar in both the continuous intravenous and daily subcutaneous treatment groups. The observation that IL-15 administered by continuous intravenous infusion is able to induce markedly greater expansions of CD8(+) T(EM) cells than the same dose administered by other routes may have important implications for clinical development of this cytokine.

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