Large-scale clinical-grade retroviral vector production in a fixed-bed bioreactor.
ABSTRACT: The successful genetic engineering of patient T cells with ?-retroviral vectors expressing chimeric antigen receptors or T-cell receptors for phase II clinical trials and beyond requires the large-scale manufacture of high-titer vector stocks. The production of retroviral vectors from stable packaging cell lines using roller bottles or 10- to 40-layer cell factories is limited by a narrow harvest window, labor intensity, open-system operations, and the requirement for significant incubator space. To circumvent these shortcomings, we optimized the production of vector stocks in a disposable fixed-bed bioreactor using good manufacturing practice-grade packaging cell lines. High-titer vector stocks were harvested over 10 days, representing a much broader harvest window than the 3-day harvest afforded by cell factories. For PG13 and 293Vec packaging cells, the average vector titer and the vector stocks' yield in the bioreactor were higher by 3.2- to 7.3-fold, and 5.6- to 13.1-fold, respectively, than those obtained in cell factories. The vector production was 10.4 and 18.6 times more efficient than in cell factories for PG13 and 293Vec cells, respectively. Furthermore, the vectors produced from the fixed-bed bioreactors passed the release test assays for clinical applications. Therefore, a single vector lot derived from 293Vec is suitable to transduce up to 500 patients cell doses in the context of large clinical trials using chimeric antigen receptors or T-cell receptors. These findings demonstrate for the first time that a robust fixed-bed bioreactor process can be used to produce ?-retroviral vector stocks scalable up to the commercialization phase.
Project description:Adoptive T-Cell therapy is being considered as a promising method for cancer treatment. In this approach, patient's T cells are isolated, modified, expanded, and administered back to the patient. Modifications may include adding specific T cell receptors (TCR) or chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) to the isolated cells by using retroviral vectors. PG13 cells, derivatives of NIH3T3 mouse fibroblasts, are being used to stably produce retroviral vectors that transduce the T cells. PG13 cells are anchorage-dependent cells that grow in roller bottles or cell factories and lately also in fixed bed bioreactors to produce the needed viral vector. To scale up viral vector production, PG13 cells were propagated on microcarriers in a stirred tank bioreactor utilizing an alternating tangential flow perfusion system. Microcarriers are 10 µm - 0.5 mm beads that support the attachment of cells and are suspended in the bioreactor that provides controlled growth conditions. As a result, growth parameters, such as dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, and nutrients are monitored and continuously controlled. There were no detrimental effects on the specific viral vector titer or on the efficacy of the vector in transducing the T cells of several patients. Viral vector titer increased throughout the 11 days perfusion period, a total of 4.8 × 1011 transducing units (TU) were obtained with an average titer of 4.4 × 107 TU/mL and average specific productivity of 10.3 (TU) per cell, suggesting that this method can be an efficient way to produce large quantities of active vector suitable for clinical use.
Project description:Efforts to improve the biosafety of ?-retroviral-mediated gene therapy have resulted in a shift toward the use of self-inactivating (SIN) ?-retroviral vectors. However, scale-up and manufacturing of such vectors requires significant optimization of transient transfection-based processes or development of novel platforms for the generation of stable producer cell clones. To that end, we describe the use of the piggybac transposon to generate stable producer cell clones for the production of SIN ?-retroviral vectors. The piggybac transposon is a universal tool allowing for the stable integration of SIN ?-retroviral constructs into murine (PG13) and human 293-based Phoenix (GALV and RD114, respectively) packaging cell lines without reverse transcription. Following transposition, a high-titer clone is selected for manufacture of a master cell bank and subsequent ?-retroviral vector supernatant production. Packaging cell clones created using the piggybac transposon have comparable titers to non-SIN vectors generated via conventional methods. We describe herein the use of the piggybac transposon for the production of stable packaging cell clones for the manufacture of clinical-grade SIN ?-retroviral vectors for ex vivo gene therapy clinical trials.
Project description:Previously we reported the presence of a replication-competent retrovirus in supernatant from a vector-producing line derived from a widely used split-function amphotropic packaging cell line. Rigorous routine screening of all retroviral stocks produced in our laboratory has not, previously or since, indicated the presence of such a virus. Replication-competent retroviruses have never previously been used in our laboratory, and stringent screening of all routinely used cell lines has not revealed the presence of any helper viruses. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that this virus represents an adventitious cross-contaminant or had been imported unknowingly with our cell line stocks. PCR studies with DNA from infected cell lines and Northern blot analysis and reverse transcriptase PCR with RNA from infected cells suggest that the helper virus arose by recombination events, at sites of partial homology, between sequences in the vector, one of the packaging constructs, and endogenous retroviral elements. These recombinations were not present in stocks of the packaging cell line or in an initial stock of the vector-producing line, indicating that these events occurred while the vector-producing line was being passaged for harvest of supernatant stocks.
Project description:Replication-competent retrovirus (RCR) is a safety concern for individuals treated with retroviral gene therapy. RCR detection assays are used to detect RCR in manufactured vector, transduced cell products infused into research subjects, and in the research subjects after treatment. In this study, we reviewed 286 control (n = 4) and transduced cell products (n = 282) screened for RCR in the National Gene Vector Biorepository. The transduced cell samples were submitted from 14 clinical trials. All vector products were previously shown to be negative for RCR prior to use in cell transduction. After transduction, all 282 transduced cell products were negative for RCR. In addition, 241 of the clinical trial participants were also screened for RCR by analyzing peripheral blood at least 1 month after infusion, all of which were also negative for evidence of RCR infection. The majority of vector products used in the clinical trials were generated in the PG13 packaging cell line. The findings suggest that screening of the retroviral vector product generated in PG13 cell line may be sufficient and that further screening of transduced cells does not provide added value.
Project description:A lentivirus-based packaging system was designed to reduce the chance of recombination between helper and gene transfer vector sequences by using the constitutive transport element (CTE) derived from Mason-Pfizer monkey virus for expression of the viral proteins and the Rev-Rev response element (RRE) combination for expression of the gene transfer vector. Using this approach, we evaluated a series of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 packaging constructs that express one or more accessory proteins (Vif, Vpr, and Vpu), in addition to the Gag and Pol proteins, for particle formation and virus stock production for gene transfer. Constructs that also express Vpr or both Vpr and Vpu produced more particles, as measured by a p24 assay, than did plasmids that did not contain these sequences. Transactivation experiments showed that the packaging plasmids that encode Vpr or both Vpr and Vpu also expressed a functional single-exon Tat protein. For these constructs, high-titer virus stocks could be prepared in the absence of a cotransfected Tat-expressing plasmid. Amphotropic-envelope-pseudotyped virus stocks prepared with all of the packaging constructs, irrespective of whether any of the accessory proteins were coexpressed, were equally efficient in transducing growth-arrested HeLa cells. The combination/mixed packaging system was compared to systems that were based on either the CTE alone or Rev and RRE for expression of both the packaging plasmid as well as the gene transfer vector. The combination/mixed packaging system was comparable to the other systems for production of virus stocks, suggesting that this design may prove to be safer for the eventual deployment of lentivirus vectors for therapeutic purposes.
Project description:The γ-retroviral vector is a gene delivery vehicle that is commonly used in gene therapy. Despite its efficacy, its strong enhancers contributed to malignant transformations in some hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy trials. A safer version without viral enhancers (SIN) is available, but its production is cumbersome, as high titers can only be obtained in transient transfection. Our aim was to develop a system that could easily generate high-titer SIN vectors from stable producer cells. The use of the cytomegalovirus enhancer-promoter sequence to generate the full-length genomic RNA combined to sequences that decrease transcriptional readthrough (WPRE and strong polyadenylation sequences) led to 6 × 106 infectious units (IU)/mL of a SIN GFP vector in transient transfection. The incorporation of a blasticidin selection cassette to the retroviral plasmid allowed the generation of stable clones in the 293Vec packaging cells that release 2 × 107 IU/mL and 1.4 × 107 IU/mL of a SIN GFP and a SIN PIGA vector, respectively. A titer of 1.8 × 106 IU/mL was obtained with a SIN vector containing the long 8.9-kb COL7A1 cDNA. Thus, an efficient process was established for the generation of stable 293Vec-derived retrovirus producer cells that release high-titer SIN vectors.
Project description:Retroviral transduction efficiency is related to the multiplicity of infection and the physiological state of the target cells. It is generally not known what proportion of a cell population is susceptible to transduction. We used coinfection with two retroviral vectors containing the marker genes for green fluorescent protein and the truncated human nerve growth factor receptor. In the CD34+ cell line TF-1 or human primary CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells, it was found that cells transduced with one vector had a better than random chance of transduction by the other vector. A probability model was developed to estimate target cell susceptibility; susceptibility was calculated as the product of the proportions of transgene-positive cells divided by the proportion of double-positive cells. By using this relationship, it was found that susceptibility was related to the target cell type and culture conditions but not the retroviral titer or the retroviral packaging envelope protein used in this study. Cotransduction with two vectors is a relatively simple procedure that provides a means to assess the maximum transduction level possible in a given cell population.
Project description:Retroviral vectors containing internal promoters, chromatin insulators, and self-inactivating (SIN) long terminal repeats (LTRs) may have significantly reduced genotoxicity relative to the conventional retroviral vectors used in recent, otherwise successful clinical trials. Large-scale production of such vectors is problematic, however, as the introduction of SIN vectors into packaging cells cannot be accomplished with the traditional method of viral transduction. We have derived a set of packaging cell lines for HIV-based lentiviral vectors and developed a novel concatemeric array transfection technique for the introduction of SIN vector genomes devoid of enhancer and promoter sequences in the LTR. We used this method to derive a producer cell clone for a SIN lentiviral vector expressing green fluorescent protein, which when grown in a bioreactor generated more than 20 L of supernatant with titers above 10(7) transducing units (TU) per milliliter. Further refinement of our technique enabled the rapid generation of whole populations of stably transformed cells that produced similar titers. Finally, we describe the construction of an insulated, SIN lentiviral vector encoding the human interleukin 2 receptor common gamma chain (IL2RG) gene and the efficient derivation of cloned producer cells that generate supernatants with titers greater than 5 x 10(7) TU/mL and that are suitable for use in a clinical trial for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1).
Project description:Foamy viruses (FVs), or spumaviruses, are integrating retroviruses that have been developed as vectors. Here we generated nonintegrating foamy virus (NIFV) vectors by introducing point mutations into the highly conserved DD35E catalytic core motif of the foamy virus integrase sequence. NIFV vectors produced high-titer stocks, transduced dividing cells, and did not integrate. Cells infected with NIFV vectors contained episomal vector genomes that consisted of linear, 1-long-terminal-repeat (1-LTR), and 2-LTR circular DNAs. These episomes expressed transgenes, were stable, and became progressively diluted in the dividing cell population. 1-LTR circles but not 2-LTR circles were found in all vector stocks prior to infection. Residual integration of NIFV vectors occurred at a frequency 4 logs lower than that of integrase-proficient FV vectors. Cre recombinase expressed from a NIFV vector mediated excision of both an integrated, floxed FV vector and a gene-targeted neo expression cassette, demonstrating the utility of these episomal vectors. The broad host range and large packaging capacity of NIFV vectors should make them useful for a variety of applications requiring transient gene expression.
Project description:RNA delivery is an attractive strategy to achieve transient gene expression in research projects and in cell- or gene-based therapies. Despite significant efforts investigating vector-directed RNA transfer, there is still a requirement for better efficiency of delivery to primary cells and in vivo. Retroviral platforms drive RNA delivery, yet retrovirus RNA-packaging constraints limit gene transfer to two genome-molecules per viral particle. To improve retroviral transfer, we designed a dimerization-independent MS2-driven RNA packaging system using MS2-Coat-retrovirus chimeras. The engineered chimeric particles promoted effective packaging of several types of RNAs and enabled efficient transfer of biologically active RNAs in various cell types, including human CD34(+) and iPS cells. Systemic injection of high-titer particles led to gene expression in mouse liver and transferring Cre-recombinase mRNA in muscle permitted widespread editing at the ROSA26 locus. We could further show that the VLPs were able to activate an osteoblast differentiation pathway by delivering RUNX2- or DLX5-mRNA into primary human bone-marrow mesenchymal-stem cells. Thus, the novel chimeric MS2-lentiviral particles are a versatile tool for a wide range of applications including cellular-programming or genome-editing.