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Characterization of Postinfusion Phenotypic Differences in Fresh Versus Cryopreserved TCR Engineered Adoptive Cell Therapy Products


Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) consisting of genetically engineered T cells expressing tumor antigen-specific T-cell receptors displays robust initial antitumor activity, followed by loss of T-cell activity/persistence and frequent disease relapse. We characterized baseline and longitudinal T-cell phenotype variations resulting from different manufacturing and administration protocols in patients who received ACT. Patients with melanoma who enrolled in the F5-MART-1 clinical trial (NCT00910650) received infusions of MART-1 T-cell receptors transgenic T cells with MART-1 peptide-pulsed dendritic cell vaccination. Patients were divided into cohorts based on several manufacturing changes in the generation and administration of the transgenic T cells: decreasing ex vivo stimulation/expansion time, increased cell dose, and receiving fresh instead of cryopreserved cells. T-cell phenotypes were analyzed by flow cytometry at baseline and longitudinally in peripheral blood. Transgenic T cells with shorter ex vivo culture/expansion periods displayed significantly increased expression of markers associated with less differentiated naive/memory populations, as well as significantly decreased expression of the inhibitory receptor programmed death 1 (PD1). Patients receiving fresh infusions of transgenic cells demonstrated expansion of central memory T cells and delayed acquisition of PD1 expression compared with patients who received cryopreserved products. Freshly infused transgenic T cells showed persistence and expansion of naive and memory T-cell populations and delayed acquisition of PD1 expression, which correlated with this cohort's superior persistence of transgenic cells and response to dendritic cell vaccines. These results may be useful in designing future ACT protocols.

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