Functionally active virus-specific T cells that target CMV, adenovirus, and EBV can be expanded from naive T-cell populations in cord blood and will target a range of viral epitopes.

Research paper by Patrick J PJ Hanley, Conrad Russell Young CR Cruz, Barbara B Savoldo, Ann M AM Leen, Maja M Stanojevic, Mariam M Khalil, William W Decker, Jeffrey J JJ Molldrem, Hao H Liu, Adrian P AP Gee, Cliona M CM Rooney, Helen E HE Heslop, Gianpietro G Dotti, Malcolm K MK Brenner, Elizabeth J EJ Shpall, et al.

Indexed on: 16 May '09Published on: 16 May '09Published in: Blood


The naive phenotype of cord blood (CB) T cells may reduce graft-versus-host disease after umbilical cord blood transplantation, but this naivety and their low absolute numbers also delays immune reconstitution, producing higher infection-related mortality that is predominantly related to CMV, adenovirus (Adv), and EBV. Adoptive immunotherapy with peripheral blood-derived virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) can effectively prevent viral disease after conventional stem cell transplantation, and we now describe the generation of single cultures of CTLs from CB that are specific for multiple viruses. Using EBV-infected B cells transduced with a clinical-grade Ad5f35CMVpp65 adenoviral vector as sources of EBV, Adv, and CMV antigens, we expanded virus-specific T cells even from CB T cells with a naive phenotype. After expansion, each CTL culture contained both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell subsets, predominantly of effector memory phenotype. Each CTL culture also had HLA-restricted virus-specific cytotoxic effector function against EBV, CMV, and Adv targets. The CB CTLs recognized multiple viral epitopes, including CD4-restricted Adv-hexon epitopes and immunosubdominant CD4- and CD8-restricted CMVpp65 epitopes. Notwithstanding their naive phenotype, it is therefore possible to generate trivirus-specific CTLs in a single culture of CB, which may be of value to prevent or treat viral disease in CB transplant recipients. This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00078533.