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Clin Cancer Res. 1996 Jun;2(6):1001-8.

Cytolysis of tumor cells expressing the Neu/erbB-2, erbB-3, and erbB-4 receptors by genetically targeted naive T lymphocytes.

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Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Tumor Biology Center, Breisacher Strasse 177, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.


We are developing strategies to use naive T lymphocytes in cancer therapy. For this purpose, we are deriving T cells with specificity of recognition for defined tumor cells. To direct effector lymphocytes toward tumor cells, we have manipulated the recognition specificity of naive rat and mouse T lymphocytes and a mouse T-cell line. The cells were stably transduced with a chimeric T-cell receptor (TCR) component. The zeta chain of the TCR consists of a single transmembrane protein with a short extracellular domain and an intracellular domain for TCR signaling. We provided an extracellular tumor cell recognition domain to the zeta chain. Human heregulin beta1 (ligand to the erbB-3 and erbB-4 receptors) and three different single-chain antibodies specific for the human and rat Neu/erbB-2 receptors were used. One single-chain antibody (C11) is directed against the rat Neu protein, and one single-chain antibody (FRP5) is directed against the human erbB-2 receptor. The single-chain antibody (R-AK) directed against the Mr 14,000 fusion protein of orthopox viruses served as a control. An efficient procedure was devised to introduce the chimeric genes into primary rat and mouse T lymphocytes. Retrovirus-producing packaging cell lines were cocultured with the T cells activated by phytohemagglutinin and interleukin 2. T-cell lines were transduced by exposure to retrovirus-containing supernatants from helper cell lines. Expression of the fusion genes was determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis. More than 80% of the naive rat and mouse T cells and 85-100% of the cells from the established T-cell lines expressed the fusion genes within 48 h after infection. The expression of the fusion genes was maintained for at least 10 days after infection. Target cells expressing Neu/erbB-2, erbB-3, or erbB-4 were lysed in vitro with high specificity by T cells expressing the corresponding recognition proteins. No selection of a marker gene is necessary to confer a predetermined recognition specificity. The described experiments are important for a gene therapy approach to cancer treatment with autologous T cells.

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