Generation and purification of CD8+ melan-A-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes for adoptive transfer in tumor immunotherapy.
Oelke M., Moehrle U., Chen JL., Behringer D., Cerundolo V., Lindemann A., Mackensen A.
Tumor antigens that might serve as potential targets for adoptive T-cell therapy have been defined in different tumor entities, especially in malignant melanoma. To generate conditions to induce primary T-cell responses against different HLA-A*0201-restricted melanoma peptides and to allow further expansion of peptide-specific T cells for adoptive transfer, CD8+-purified T cells from healthy donors were stimulated with Melan-A-pulsed autologous dendritic cells. Dendritic cells were generated in vitro from monocytes with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interleukin-4, and transforming growth factor-beta1. After 3-4 weekly stimulation cycles with Melan-A-pulsed DCs, we were able to induce a strong peptide-specific CTL response in vitro. MHC-peptide tetramer staining revealed a frequency of up to 3.5% CD8+/Melan-A+ T cells. Additional antigen-independent expansion with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies together with interleukin-2 gave rise to 600-fold expansion of CD8+ CTLs that maintained Melan-A specificity and were able to efficiently lyse Melan-A-expressing melanoma cells. To enrich antigen-specific T cells in vitro, we used a recently established technology for analysis and sorting of live cells according to secreted cytokines. In the present study, we demonstrated that Melan-A-specific T cells can be purified by magnetic separation according to secreted IFN-gamma. These cells revealed a very potent monospecific CTL response, even at low E:T ratios, against Melan-A-pulsed and Melan-A-expressing target cells. Altogether, our study demonstrated that we have developed an efficient method for generating large numbers of peptide-specific T cells in vitro that may be used for adoptive T-cell transfer in tumor immunotherapy.