Generation of donor-derived Wilms tumor antigen 1–specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes with potent anti-leukemia activity for somatic cell therapy in children given haploidentical stem cell transplantation: a feasibility pre-clinical study

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Abstract

Background: The Wilms tumor antigen 1 (WT1) is over-expressed in a vast majority of adult and childhood acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, being lowly or transiently expressed in normal tissues and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). A number of HLA-restricted WT1 epitopes are immunogenic, allowing the in vitro induction of WT1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) from patients and healthy donors. Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the feasibility of producing WT1-specific CTLs suitable for somatic cell therapy to prevent or treat relapse in children with acute myeloid or lymphoblastic leukemia given haploidentical HSC transplantation (haplo-HSCT). Methods: For WT1-specific CTL production, donor-derived either peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) or CD8+ lymphocytes were stimulated with WT1 peptide-loaded donor dendritic cells in the presence of interleukin (IL)-7 and IL-12. Effector cells were re-stimulated once with irradiated donor PBMCs pulsed with WT1-peptides, and then expanded in an antigen-independent way. Results: WT1-specific CTLs, displaying high-level cytotoxicity against patients’ leukemia blasts and negligible activity against patients’ non-malignant cells, were obtained from both PBMCs and CD8+ lymphocytes. WT1-specific CTLs obtained from PBMCs showed a better expansion capacity and better anti-leukemia activity than those obtained from CD8+ lymphocytes, even though the difference was not statistically significant. In CTLs derived from PBMCs, both CD8+ and CD4+ subpopulations displayed strong anti-leukemia cytotoxic activity. Discussion: Results of this pre-clinical study pave the way to a somatic cell therapy approach aimed at preventing or treating relapse in children given haplo-HSCT for WT1-positive leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCytotherapy
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • acute leukemia
  • allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • anti-tumor immunotherapy
  • cytotoxic T lymphocytes
  • somatic cell therapy
  • Wilms tumor antigen 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Cancer Research

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