Autologous designer antigen-presenting cells by gene modification of T lymphocyte blasts with IL-7 and IL-12

Aaron E. Foster, Ann M. Leen, Timothy Lee, Takayuki Okamura, An Lu, Juan Vera, Rachel Atkinson, Catherine M. Bollard, Gianpietro Dotti, Cliona M. Rooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


An effective immune response to antigen requires professional antigen-presenting cell (APC), which not only present antigen, but also provide costimulation and cytokines (eg, IL-12) that drive T cell differentiation down the appropriate effector pathway (Tc1/TH1). For T cell-based immunotherapy protocols, the availability of large numbers of autologous professional APC is a major limitation because professional APC do not proliferate in vitro. T cells themselves can proliferate exponentially in vitro and have the ability to present antigen. They can also express costimulatory molecules after activation. Therefore, we hypothesized that if activated T cells were genetically modified to express proinflammatory cytokines required to polarize T cells toward a Tc1 response, they could fulfill the requirements for an abundant, autologous APC. To test this potential, T cells were activated by CD3/CD28 antibodies and pulsed with model HLA-A2+ peptides derived from CMVpp65, MAGE-3, and MART-1. Activated T-APC readily reactivated CD8 pp65 memory T cells from healthy CMV seropositive donors; however, the activation of MAGE-3 and MART-1-specific CD8 T cells required both IL-7 and IL-12, which could be provided either exogenously or by genetic modification of the T-APC. Responder T cells could be expanded to large numbers with subsequent stimulations using activated, peptide-pulsed T-APC and IL-2. Tumor antigen-specific T cell lines killed both peptide-pulsed target cells and tumor cell lines. Thus, T cells provide a platform for the generation of autologous APC that can be customized to express both antigens and therapeutic molecules for the induction of antigen-specific T cell immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-516
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Antigen-presenting cell
  • Immunotherapy
  • T lymphocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology


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