Phase 2 clinical trial of rapamycin-resistant donor CD4+ Th2/Th1 (T-Rapa) cells after low-intensity allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Fowler DH1, Mossoba ME, Steinberg SM, Halverson DC, Stroncek D, Khuu HM, Hakim FT, Castiello L, Sabatino M, Leitman SF, Mariotti J, Gea-Banacloche JC, Sportes C, Hardy NM, Hickstein DD, Pavletic SZ, Rowley S, Goy A, Donato M, Korngold R, Pecora A, Levine BL, June CH, Gress RE, Bishop MR.
Source: Blood
Publication Date: (2013)
Issue: 121(15): 2864-74
Research Area:
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Stem Cells
Basic Research
Culture Media:
In experimental models, ex vivo induced T-cell rapamycin resistance occurred independent of T helper 1 (Th1)/T helper 2 (Th2) differentiation and yielded allogeneic CD4(+) T cells of increased in vivo efficacy that facilitated engraftment and permitted graft-versus-tumor effects while minimizing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). To translate these findings, we performed a phase 2 multicenter clinical trial of rapamycin-resistant donor CD4(+) Th2/Th1 (T-Rapa) cells after allogeneic-matched sibling donor hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for therapy of refractory hematologic malignancy. T-Rapa cell products, which expressed a balanced Th2/Th1 phenotype, were administered as a preemptive donor lymphocyte infusion at day 14 post-HCT. After T-Rapa cell infusion, mixed donor/host chimerism rapidly converted, and there was preferential immune reconstitution with donor CD4(+) Th2 and Th1 cells relative to regulatory T cells and CD8(+) T cells. The cumulative incidence probability of acute GVHD was 20% and 40% at days 100 and 180 post-HCT, respectively. There was no transplant-related mortality. Eighteen of 40 patients (45%) remain in sustained complete remission (range of follow-up: 42-84 months). These results demonstrate the safety of this low-intensity transplant approach and the feasibility of subsequent randomized studies to compare T-Rapa cell-based therapy with standard transplantation regimens.