T Cells as Antigen Carriers for Anti-tumor Vaccination

  • Catia TraversariEmail author
  • Vincenzo Russo
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1393)


The exploitation of the physiologic processing and presenting machinery of dendritic cells (DCs) by in vivo loading of tumor-associated antigens may improve the immunogenic potential and clinical efficacy of DC-based cancer vaccines. The approach developed by our group was based on the clinical observation that some patients treated with the infusion of donor lymphocytes transduced to express the HSV-TK suicide gene for relapse of hematologic malignancies, after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, developed a T cell-mediated immune response specifically directed against the HSV-TK gene product.

We demonstrated that lymphocytes genetically modified to express HSV-TK as well as self/tumor antigens, acting as antigen carriers, efficiently target DCs in vivo in tumor-bearing mice. The infusion of TRP-2-transduced lymphocytes induced the establishment of protective immunity and long-term memory in tumor-bearing mice by cross-presentation of the antigen mediated by the CD11c+CD8a+ DCs subset. A similar approach was applied in a clinical setting. Ten patients affected by MAGE-3+ metastatic melanoma were treated with autologous lymphocytes retrovirally transduced to express the MAGE-3 tumor antigen. In three patients, the treatment led to the increase of MAGE-3 specific CD8+ and CD4+ effectors and the development of long-term memory, which ultimately correlated with a favorable clinical outcome. Transduced lymphocytes represent an efficient way for in vivo loading of tumor-associated antigens of DCs.

Key words

Active immunotherapy Cross-presentation Tumor antigens 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MolMed SpAMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Cancer Gene Therapy Unit, IRCCS San Raffaele HospitalMilanoItaly

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