Generation of a cord blood-derived Wilms Tumor 1 dendritic cell vaccine for AML patients treated with allogeneic cord blood transplantation
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
, 11 p.
University of Antwerp
The poor survival rates of refractory/relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients after haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) requires the development of additional immune therapeutic strategies. As the elicitation of tumor-antigen specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is associated with reduced relapses and enhanced survival, enhanced priming of these CTLs using an anti-AML vaccine may result in long-term immunity against AML. Cord blood (CB), as allogeneic HCT source, may provide a unique setting for such post-HCT vaccination, considering its enhanced graft-versus-leukemia (GvL) effects and population of highly responsive naïve T cells. It is our goal to develop a powerful and safe immune therapeutic strategy composed of CB-HCT followed by vaccination with CB CD34+-derived dendritic cells (DCs) presenting the oncoprotein Wilms Tumor-1 (WT1), which is expressed in AML-blasts in the majority of patients. Here, we describe the optimization of a clinically applicable DC culture protocol. This two-step protocol consisting of an expansion phase followed by the differentiation toward DCs, enables us to generate sufficient cord blood-derived DCs (CBDCs) in the clinical setting. At the end of the culture, the CBDCs exhibit a mature surface phenotype, are able to migrate, express tumor antigen (WT1) after electroporation with mRNA encoding the full-length WT1 protein, and stimulate WT1-specific T cells.