JOURNAL ARTICLE

Clinical application of Sleeping Beauty and artificial antigen presenting cells to genetically modify T cells from peripheral and umbilical cord blood

M Helen Huls, Matthew J Figliola, Margaret J Dawson, Simon Olivares, Partow Kebriaei, Elizabeth J Shpall, Richard E Champlin, Harjeet Singh, Laurence J N Cooper
Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE 2013, (72): e50070
23407473
The potency of clinical-grade T cells can be improved by combining gene therapy with immunotherapy to engineer a biologic product with the potential for superior (i) recognition of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), (ii) persistence after infusion, (iii) potential for migration to tumor sites, and (iv) ability to recycle effector functions within the tumor microenvironment. Most approaches to genetic manipulation of T cells engineered for human application have used retrovirus and lentivirus for the stable expression of CAR(1-3). This approach, although compliant with current good manufacturing practice (GMP), can be expensive as it relies on the manufacture and release of clinical-grade recombinant virus from a limited number of production facilities. The electro-transfer of nonviral plasmids is an appealing alternative to transduction since DNA species can be produced to clinical grade at approximately 1/10(th) the cost of recombinant GMP-grade virus. To improve the efficiency of integration we adapted Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon and transposase for human application(4-8). Our SB system uses two DNA plasmids that consist of a transposon coding for a gene of interest (e.g. 2(nd) generation CD19-specific CAR transgene, designated CD19RCD28) and a transposase (e.g. SB11) which inserts the transgene into TA dinucleotide repeats(9-11). To generate clinically-sufficient numbers of genetically modified T cells we use K562-derived artificial antigen presenting cells (aAPC) (clone #4) modified to express a TAA (e.g. CD19) as well as the T cell costimulatory molecules CD86, CD137L, a membrane-bound version of interleukin (IL)-15 (peptide fused to modified IgG4 Fc region) and CD64 (Fc-γ receptor 1) for the loading of monoclonal antibodies (mAb)(12). In this report, we demonstrate the procedures that can be undertaken in compliance with cGMP to generate CD19-specific CAR(+) T cells suitable for human application. This was achieved by the synchronous electro-transfer of two DNA plasmids, a SB transposon (CD19RCD28) and a SB transposase (SB11) followed by retrieval of stable integrants by the every-7-day additions (stimulation cycle) of γ-irradiated aAPC (clone #4) in the presence of soluble recombinant human IL-2 and IL-21(13). Typically 4 cycles (28 days of continuous culture) are undertaken to generate clinically-appealing numbers of T cells that stably express the CAR. This methodology to manufacturing clinical-grade CD19-specific T cells can be applied to T cells derived from peripheral blood (PB) or umbilical cord blood (UCB). Furthermore, this approach can be harnessed to generate T cells to diverse tumor types by pairing the specificity of the introduced CAR with expression of the TAA, recognized by the CAR, on the aAPC.

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