Adoptive cellular immunotherapy has proven to be a successful approach in preventing and curing cytomegalovirus infection and Epstein-Barr virus-associated lymphomas after bone marrow transplantation. Translation of this approach for preventing leukemia relapse after bone marrow transplantation might require ex vivo priming and long-term maintenance of leukemia blast-specific T cells. To accomplish this goal, procedures were optimized for the in vitro priming of naive CD8 using dendritic cells activated by CD40 ligation, interleukin-12 (IL-12), and IL-7. Using T lymphocytes and dendritic cells obtained from HLA-matched allogeneic bone marrow transplantation donors and leukemia blasts as a source of tumor antigens, anti-acute myeloid leukemia cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) were induced. In these experiments, it was found that though it is possible to induce CTLs using immature dendritic cells, IL-12, and IL-7, obtaining long-term CTLs requires the presence of CD4 T cells in the priming phase. Using this approach, long-term antileukemia CTL lines could be generated from 4 of 4 bone marrow donors. Because this procedure does not require definition of the target antigen and because it selects responding cells from a virgin T-cell repertoire, its general application is suggested in adoptive immunotherapy and in the definition of tumor rejection antigens.
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