Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated engineering of human primary T cells for therapy of CD19+ lymphoid malignancies

Xin Huang, Hongfeng Guo, Johnthomas Kang, Suet Choi, Tom C Zhou, Syam Tammana, Christopher J Lees, Zhong-Ze Li, Michael Milone, Bruce L Levine, Jakub Tolar, Carl H June, R Scott McIvor, John E Wagner, Bruce R Blazar, Xianzheng Zhou
Molecular Therapy 2008, 16 (3): 580-9
We have reported earlier that the non-viral Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system can mediate genomic integration and long-term reporter gene expression in human primary peripheral blood (PB) T cells. In order to test whether this system can be used for genetically modifying both PB T cells and umbilical cord blood (UCB) T cells as graft-versus-leukemia effector cells, an SB transposon was constructed to coexpress a single-chain chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) for human CD19 and CD20. PB and UCB were nucleofected with the transposon and a transposase plasmid, activated and then expanded in culture using anti-CD3/CD28 beads. Stable dual-gene expression was confirmed in both T-cell types, permitting enrichment by positive selection with Rituxan. The engineered CD4(+) T cells and CD8(+) T cells both exhibited specific cytotoxicity against CD19(+) leukemia and lymphoma cell lines, as well as against CD19 transfectants, and produced high-levels of antigen-dependent Th1 (but not Th2) cytokines. The in vivo adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T cells significantly reduced tumor growth and prolonged the survival of the animal. Taken together, these data indicate that T cells from PB and UCB can be stably modified using a non-viral DNA transfer system, and that such modified T cells may be useful in the treatment of refractory leukemia and lymphoma.

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