Journal Article

Cytomegalovirus-Specific T Cell Immunotherapy Promotes Restoration of Durable Functional Antiviral Immunity following Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation

Karl S. Peggs, Stephanie Verfuerth, Arnold Pizzey, Shoon-Ling C. Chow, Kirsty Thomson and Stephen Mackinnon

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 49, issue 12, pages 1851-1860
Published in print December 2009 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/648422
Cytomegalovirus-Specific T Cell Immunotherapy Promotes Restoration of Durable Functional Antiviral Immunity following Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation

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Background.The profound immunodeficiency associated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is permissive to uncontrolled replication of latent human herpesviridae such as cytomegalovirus. Morbidity and mortality associated with viral dissemination or its treatment are significant. Although adoptive cellular therapy with virus-specific T cells offers the potential for accelerating pathogen-specific immune reconstitution, the risk of induction of graft-versus-host disease and the logistics of production of clonal T cell populations restrict application.

Methods.We investigated the ability of cytomegalovirus-specific mixed CD4+and CD8+T cell lines, generated by short-term ex vivo culture of donor lymphocytes with donor monocyte-derived dendritic cells pulsed with virus lysate, to restore antiviral immunity in 30 allogeneic transplant recipients at high risk of both uncontrolled viral replication and of graft-versus-host disease.

Results.There were no immediate toxicities and no excess of graft-versus-host disease. Massive in vivo expansions of cytomegalovirus-specific T lymphocytes occurred, temporally associating with periods of viral replication, suggesting that antigen exposure was necessary for optimal cytomegalovirus-specific immune reconstitution. The expanding populations maintained functional competence in ex vivo re-stimulation assays, promoting reconstitution of durable functional cytomegalovirus-specific immunity and effectively preventing recurrent viral infection and late cytomegalovirus disease.

Conclusions.These data confirm the ability of cellular immunotherapy to hasten reconstitution of antiviral immunity following allogeneic transplantation, indicating that significant clinical benefits may be conferred in terms of reduction of secondary viral infection episodes, potentially reducing exposure to the toxicities of antiviral drugs.

Journal Article.  4726 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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