Reprogramming T Lymphocytes for Melanoma Adoptive Immunotherapy by T-Cell Receptor Gene Transfer with Lentiviral Vectors

S Bobisse, M Rondina, A Merlo, V Tisato, S Mandruzzato, M Amendola, L Naldini, Ralph Willemsen, Reno Debets, P Zanovello, A Rosato

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T-cell receptor (TCR) gene transfer for cancer immunotherapy is limited by the availability of large numbers of tumor-specific T cells. TCR alpha and beta chains were isolated from a highly lytic HLA-A2-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocyte (01) clone recognizing the melanoma-associated Melan-A/MART-1 antigen and inserted into a lentiviral vector carrying a bidirectional promoter capable of robust and coordinated expression of the two transgenes. Lentiviral vector-based gene delivery systems have shown increased transfer efficiency and transgene expression compared with the widely used gamma-retroviral vectors. This vector performed more efficiently than a gamma-retrovirus-based vector containing the same expression cassette, resulting in a T-cell population with 60% to 80% of transgenic TCR expression with mainly CD8(+) intermediate effector phenotype. Transgenic T cells specifically produced cytokine in response to and killed antigen-expressing melanoma cells, retained an overlapping functional avidity in comparison with the TCR donor CTL clone, and exerted significant therapeutic effects in vivo upon adoptive transfer in melanoma-bearing severe combined immunodeficient mice. Optical imaging showed their accumulation in the tumor site. Overall, our results indicate that lentiviral vectors represent a valid tool for stable and high-intensity expression of transgenic TCR and support clinical exploitation of this approach for therapeutic application. [Cancer Res 2009;69(24):9385-94]
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)9385-9394
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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