J Immunotherapy , 2012; 35(7):555-569; Vasir B, Zarwan C, Ahmad R, Crawford KD, Rajabi H, Matsuoka K, Rosenblatt J, Wu Z, Mills H, Kufe D, and Avigan D.
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The fowl pox vector expressing the tumor-associated antigens, mucin-1 and carcinoembryonic antigen in the context of costimulatory molecules (rF-PANVAC) has shown promise as a tumor vaccine. However, vaccine-mediated expansion of suppressor T-cell populations may blunt clinical efficacy. We characterized the cellular immune response induced by ex vivo dendritic cells (DCs) transduced with (rF)-PANVAC. Consistent with the functional characteristics of potent antigen-presenting cells, rF-PANVAC-DCs demonstrated strong expression of mucin-1 and carcinoembryonic antigen and costimulatory molecules, CD80, CD86, and CD83; decreased levels of phosphorylated STAT3, and increased levels of Tyk2, Janus kinase 2, and STAT1. rF-PANVAC-DCs stimulated expansion of tumor antigen-specific T cells with potent cytolytic capacity. However, rF-PANVAC-transduced DCs also induced the concurrent expansion of FOXP3 expressing CD4CD25 regulatory T cells (Tregs) that inhibited T-cell activation. Moreover, Tregs expressed high levels of Th2 cytokines [interleukin (IL)-10, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13] together with phosphorylated STAT3 and STAT6. In contrast, the vaccine-expanded Treg population expressed high levels of Th1 cytokines IL-2 and interferon-γ and the proinflammatory receptor-related orphan receptor γt (RORγt) and IL-17A suggesting that these cells may share effector functions with conventional TH17 T cells. These data suggest that Tregs expanded by rF-PANVAC-DCs, exhibit immunosuppressive properties potentially mediated by Th2 cytokines, but simultaneous expression of Th1 and Th17-associated factors suggests a high degree of plasticity.
Generation of tumor-specific T lymphocytes using dendritic cell/tumor fusions and anti-CD3/CD28
J Immunotherapy , 2010; 33(2):155-166; Rosenblatt J, Wu Z, Vasir B, Zarwan C, Stone R, Mills H, Friedman T, Konstantinopoulos PA, Spentzos D, Ghebremichael M, Stevenson K, Neuberg D, Levine JD, Joyce R, Tzachanis D, Boussiotis V, Kufe D, and Avigan D.
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Adoptive immunotherapy with tumor-specific T cells represents a promising treatment strategy for patients with malignancy. However, the efficacy of T-cell therapy has been limited by the ability to expand tumor-reactive cells with an activated phenotype that effectively target malignant cells. We have developed an anticancer vaccine in which patient-derived tumor cells are fused with autologous dendritic cells (DCs), such that a wide array of tumor antigens are presented in the context of DC-mediated costimulation. In this study, we demonstrate that DC/tumor fusions induce T cells that react with tumor and are dramatically expanded by subsequent ligation of the CD3/CD28 costimulatory complex. These T cells exhibit a predominantly activated phenotype as manifested by an increase in the percentage of cells expressing CD69 and interferon gamma. In addition, the T cells upregulate granzyme B expression and are highly effective in lysing autologous tumor targets. Targeting of tumor-specific antigen was demonstrated by the expansion of T cells with specificity for the MUC1 tetramer. Stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 followed by DC/tumor fusions or either agent alone failed to result in a similar expansion of tumor-reactive T cells. Consistent with these findings, spectratyping analysis demonstrates selective expansion of T-cell clones as manifested by considerable skewing of the Vbeta repertoire following sequential stimulation with DC/tumor fusions and anti-CD3/CD28. Gene expression analysis was notable for the upregulation of inflammatory pathways. These findings indicate that stimulation with DC/tumor fusions provides a unique platform for subsequent expansion with anti-CD3/CD28 in adoptive T-cell therapy of cancer.
Fusions of dendritic cells with breast carcinoma stimulate the expansion of regulatory T cells while concomitant exposure to IL-12, CpG oligodeoxynucleotides, and anti-CD3/CD28 promotes the expansion of activated tumor reactive cells
J of Immunology , 2008; 181(1):808-821; Vasir B, Wu Z, Crawford K, Rosenblatt J, Zarwan C, Bissonnette A, Kufe D, and Avigan D.
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Vaccination of patients with dendritic cell (DC)/breast carcinoma fusions stimulated antitumor immune responses in a majority of patients with metastatic disease but only a subset demonstrate evidence of tumor regression. To define the factors that limit vaccine efficacy, we examined the biological characteristics of DC/breast carcinoma fusions as APCs and the nature of the vaccine-mediated T cell response. We demonstrate that fusion of DCs with breast carcinoma cells up-regulates expression of costimulatory and maturation markers and results in high levels of expression of IL-12 consistent with their role as activated APCs. Fusion cells also express the chemokine receptor CCR7, consistent with their ability to migrate to the draining lymph node. However, DC/breast cancer fusions stimulate a mixed T cell response characterized by the expansion of both activated and regulatory T cell populations, the latter of which is characterized by expression of CTLA-4, FOXP3, IL-10, and the suppression of T cell responses. Our results demonstrate that IL-12, IL-18, and TLR 9 agonist CpG oligodeoxynucleotides reduce the level of fusion-mediated regulatory T cell expansion. Our results also demonstrate that sequential stimulation with DC/breast carcinoma fusions and anti-CD3/CD28 results in the marked expansion of activated tumor-specific T cells. These findings suggest that DC/breast carcinoma fusions are effective APCs, but stimulate inhibitory T cells that limit vaccine efficacy. In contrast, exposure to TLR agonists, stimulatory cytokines, and anti-CD3/CD28 enhances vaccine efficacy by limiting the regulatory T cell response and promoting expansion of activated effector cells.