A phase I-II trial to examine the toxicity of CMV- and EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes when used for prophylaxis against EBV and CMV disease in recipients of CD34-selected/T cell-depleted stem cell transplants.

Research paper by K G KG Lucas, Q Q Sun, R L RL Burton, A A Tilden, W P WP Vaughan, M M Carabasi, D D Salzman, A A Ship

Indexed on: 26 Jul '00Published on: 26 Jul '00Published in: Human gene therapy


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced lymphoproliferative disease and cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection are major causes of morbidity and mortality in individuals with compromised cellular immunity. Although anti-viral pharmacological agents exist, severe side effects such as myelosuppression often limit the application of these medications. Infusion of ex vivo-expanded, virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) has been proven to be safe and efficacious for the prophylaxis and treatment of EBV and CMV complications. While EBV-specific CTL can be readily and reliably produced with EBV-immortalized B-lymphoblastoid cell lines (BLCL) as stimulators, current protocols for CMV-specific CTL, which use CMV-infected fibroblasts as stimulators, may be associated with alloreactivity and the need for cloning, as well as the potential for exposure to human blood-born infectious agents. Our laboratory has developed a novel system to generate EBV/CMV-bi-specific CTL by co-culturing PBMC with autologous BLCL expressing a CMV protein pp65 (BLCLpp65) (Sun et al., 1999). pp65, an immunodominant CMV antigen, is transduced into BLCL by a recombinant retrovirus MSCVpp65. While low in alloreactivity, BLCLpp65-stimulated CTL are cytolytic to autologous cells infected with EBV or CMV, and this cytotoxicity is mediated by polyclonal, CD8+, MHC Class I-restricted T-cells. Further experiments revealed that retroviral transduction and expression of pp65 do not compromise the capacity of presenting EBV antigens, and T cells stimulated by BLCLpp65 recognize clinical strains of CMV (Sun et al., 2000). These data indicated that BLCLpp65 could substitute for BLCL as antigen presenting cells in adoptive immunotherapy against EBV-LPD, with the benefit of providing protection against CMV reactivation. This protocol is a Phase I/II study to examine the toxicity associated with and the immunologic effects of ex vivo simultaneously expanded EBV- and CMV-specific CTL for prophylaxis against EBV and CMV complications in recipients of CD34 selected/T-cell depleted stem cell transplants (SCT). EBV/CMV-specific CTL will be generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of EBV/CMV-seropositive donors in a course of from 21-28 days by weekly stimulation with autologous BLCLpp65. Qualified CTL will be administered to consenting patients at 40, 60, and 80 days post-transpOFF criteria of molecular virology and immunological reconstitution, which include blood levels of pp65 antigen and EBV viral DNA, and virus-specific CTL precursor frequency. Patients will also be tested for replication-competent retrovirus at 3, 6, and 12 month intervals post-transplant to ensure bio-safety.