We have investigated the in vivo safety, efficacy, and persistence of autologous Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) for the treatment of solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients at high risk for EBV-associated posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). EBV-CTLs generated from 35 patients expanded with normal kinetics contained both CD8 and CD4 lymphocytes and produced significant specific killing of autologous EBV-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). Twelve SOT recipients at high risk for PTLD, or with active disease, received autologous CTL infusions without toxicity. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) monitoring of EBV-DNA showed a transient increase in plasma EBV-DNA suggestive of lysis of EBV-infected cells, although there was no consistent decrease in virus load in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells. Interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay and tetramer analysis showed an increase in the frequency of EBV-responsive T cells, which returned to preinfusion levels after 2 to 6 months. None of the treated patients developed PTLD. One patient with liver PTLD showed a complete response, and one with ocular disease has had a partial response stable for over one year. These data are consistent with an expansion and persistence of adoptively transferred EBV-CTLs that is limited in the presence of continued immunosuppression but that nonetheless produces clinically useful antiviral activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology