Generating Peripheral Blood Derived Lymphocytes Reacting Against Autologous Primary AML Blasts.
ABSTRACT: Expanding on our prior studies with cord blood T cells, we hypothesized that primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML)-reactive autologous T cells could be generated ex vivo under immunomodulatory conditions. We purified AML and T cells from 8 newly diagnosed high-risk patients. After 2 weeks expansion, T cells were stimulated with interferon-?-treated autologous AML weekly × 3, interleukin-15, and agonistic anti-CD28 antibody. Cytotoxic T cells and ELISpot assays tested functionality; reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction tested AML and T-cell gene expression profiles. On the basis of combined positive ELIspot and cytotoxic T cells assays, T cells reactive against AML were generated in 5 of 8 patients. Treg proportion declined after cocultures in reactive T-cell samples. AML-reactive T cells displayed an activated gene expression profile. "Resistant" AML blasts displayed genes associated with immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells. We discuss our approach to creating primary AML-reactive autologous T cell and limitations that require further work. Our study provides a platform for future research targeting on generating autologous leukemia-reactive T cells.
Project description:The relevance of the immune system in cancer has long been studied. Autologous adoptive T cell therapies, based on the use of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), have made great progress in recent years for the treatment of solid tumors, especially melanoma. However, further work is needed to isolate tumor-reactive T cells among patients diagnosed with hematologic malignancies. The dynamics of the interaction between T cells and antigen presenting cells (APC) dictate the quality of the immune responses. While stable joints between target cells and T lymphocytes lead to the induction of T cell activation and immune response, brief contacts contribute to the induction of immune-tolerance. Taking advantage of the strong interaction between target cell and activated T-cells, we show the feasibility to identify and isolate tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients by flow cytometry. Using this technology, CTLs bound through T cell receptor (TCR) to tumor cells can be identified in peripheral blood and bone marrow and subsequently selected and isolated by FACS-based cell sorting. These CTLs display higher percentage of effector cells and marked cytotoxic activity against AML blasts. In conclusion, we have developed a new procedure to identify and select specific cytotoxic T cells in patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Project description:Effective and tolerable salvage therapies for elderly patients with chemorefractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are limited and usually do not change the poor clinical outcome. We recently described in several chemorefractory elderly AML patients that a novel biomodulatory treatment regimen consisting of low-dose azacitidine (AZA) in combination with PPARγ agonist pioglitazone (PGZ) and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) induced complete remission of leukemia and also triggered myeloid differentiation with rapid increase of peripheral blood neutrophils. Herein, we further investigated our observations and comprehensively analyzed cell differentiation in primary AML blasts after treatment with ATRA, AZA, and PGZ ex vivo. The drug combination was found to significantly inhibit cell growth as well as to induce cell differentiation in about half of primary AML blasts samples independent of leukemia subtype. Notably and in comparison to ATRA/AZA/PGZ triple-treatment, effects on cell growth and myeloid differentiation with ATRA monotherapy was much less efficient. Morphological signs of myeloid cell differentiation were further confirmed on a functional basis by demonstrating increased production of reactive oxygen species as well as enhanced phagocytic activity in AML blasts treated with ATRA/AZA/PGZ. In conclusion, we show that biomodulatory treatment with ATRA/AZA/PGZ can induce phenotypical and functional differentiation of primary AML blasts into neutrophil like cells, which aside from its antileukemic activity may lower neutropenia associated infection rates in elderly AML patients in vivo. Clinical impact of the ATRA/AZA/PGZ treatment regimen is currently further investigated in a randomized clinical trial in chemorefractory AML patients (NCT02942758).
Project description:Experiments performed in mice revealed that anthracyclines stimulate immunogenic cell death that is characterized by the pre-apoptotic exposure of calreticulin (CRT) on the surface of dying tumor cells. Here, we determined whether CRT exposure at the cell surface (ecto-CRT) occurs in human cancer in response to anthracyclines in vivo, focusing on acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is currently treated with a combination of aracytine and anthracyclines. Most of the patients benefit from the induction chemotherapy but relapse within 1-12 months. In this study, we investigated ecto-CRT expression on malignant blasts before and after induction chemotherapy. We observed that leukemic cells from some patients exhibited ecto-CRT regardless of chemotherapy and that this parameter was not modulated by in vivo chemotherapy. Ecto-CRT correlated with the presence of phosphorylated eIF2α within the blasts, in line with the possibility that CRT exposure results from an endoplasmic reticulum stress response. Importantly, high levels of ecto-CRT on malignant myeloblasts positively correlated with the ability of autologous T cells to secrete interferon-γ on stimulation with blast-derived dendritic cell. We conclude that the presence of ecto-CRT on leukemia cells facilitates cellular anticancer immune responses in AML patients.
Project description:The use of high-dose ascorbate (ASC) for the treatment of human cancer has been attempted several decades ago and has been recently revived by several in vitro and in vivo studies in solid tumors. We tested the cytotoxic effects of ASC, alone or in combination with arsenic trioxide (ATO) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Leukemic cell lines and primary blasts from AML and APL patients were treated with graded concentrations of ASC, alone or in association with standard concentration (1 ?M) of ATO. The ASC/ATO combination killed myeloid blasts, including leukemic CD34+ cells, while sparing CD34+ progenitors obtained from normal cord blood and bone marrow. Actually, approximately one-third (11/36) of primary AML cases were highly sensitive to the ASC/ATO combination. The mechanism of cell killing appeared to be related to increased oxidative stress and overproduction of ROS in a non-quantitative fashion, which resulted in induction of apoptosis. These effects were reverted by the addition of the antioxidant N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). In the APL NB4 model, ASC induced direct degradation of the PML and PML/RARA proteins via caspase activation, while the transcriptional repressor DAXX was recruited in re-constituted PML nuclear bodies. Our findings encourage the design of pilot studies to explore the potential clinical benefit of ASC alone or in combination with ATO in advanced AML and APL.
Project description:In this study, we attempt to target both the urokinase plasminogen activator and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines and primary AML blasts using PrAgU2/LF, a urokinase-activated anthrax lethal toxin. PrAgU2/LF was cytotoxic to five out of nine AML cell lines. Cytotoxicity of PrAgU2/LF appeared to be nonapoptotic and was associated with MAPK activation and urokinase activity because all the PrAgU2/LF-sensitive cell lines showed both uPAR expression and high levels of MEK1/2 phosphorylation. Inhibition of uPAR or desensitization of cells to MEK1/2 inhibition blocked toxicity of PrAgU2/LF, indicating requirement for both uPAR expression and MAPK activation for activity. PrAgU2/LF was also cytotoxic to primary blasts from AML patients, with blasts from four out of five patients showing a cytotoxic response to PrAgU2/LF. Cytotoxicity of primary AML blasts was also dependent on uPAR expression and phos-MEK1/2 levels. CD34(+) bone marrow blasts and peripheral blood mononuclear cells lacked uPAR expression and were resistant to PrAgU2/LF, demonstrating the lack of toxicity to normal hematological cells and, therefore, the tumor selectivity of this approach. Dose escalation in mice revealed that the maximal tolerated dose of PrAgU2/LF is at least 5.7-fold higher than that of the wild-type anthrax lethal toxin, PrAg/LF, further demonstrating the increased safety of this molecule. We have shown, in this study, that PrAgU2/LF is a novel, dual-specific molecule for the selective targeting of AML.
Project description:Hematopoiesis, the formation of blood cells, involves the hierarchical differentiation of immature blast cells into mature, functional cell types and lineages of the immune system. Hematopoietic stem cells precisely regulate self-renewal versus differentiation to balance the production of blood cells and maintenance of the stem cell pool. The canonical view of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is that it results from a combination of molecular events in a hematopoietic stem cell that block differentiation and drive proliferation. These events result in the accumulation of primitive hematopoietic blast cells in the blood and bone marrow. We used mathematical modeling to determine the impact of varying differentiation rates on myeloblastic accumulation. Our model shows that, instead of the commonly held belief that AML results from a complete block of differentiation of the hematopoietic stem cell, even a slight skewing of the fraction of cells that differentiate would produce an accumulation of blasts. We confirmed this model by interphase fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and sequencing of purified cell populations from patients with AML, which showed that different leukemia-causing molecular abnormalities typically thought to block differentiation were consistently present in mature myeloid cells such as neutrophils and monocytes at similar levels to those in immature myeloid cells. These findings suggest reduced or skewed, rather than blocked, differentiation is responsible for the development of AML. Approaches that restore normal regulation of hematopoiesis could be effective treatment strategies.
Project description:Current treatments that use hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplantation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients substantially reduce the risk of relapse, but are limited by the availability of immune compatible healthy HPCs. Although cellular reprogramming has the potential to provide a novel autologous source of HPCs for transplantation, the applicability of this technology toward the derivation of healthy autologous hematopoietic cells devoid of patient-specific leukemic aberrations from AML patients must first be evaluated. Here, we report the generation of human AML patient-specific hematopoietic progenitors that are capable of normal in vitro differentiation to myeloid lineages and are devoid of leukemia-associated aberration found in matched patient bone marrow. Skin fibroblasts were obtained from AML patients whose leukemic cells possessed a distinct, leukemia-associated aberration, and used to create AML patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Through hematopoietic differentiation of AML patient iPSCs, coupled with cytogenetic interrogation, we reveal that AML patient-specific HPCs possess normal progenitor capacity and are devoid of leukemia-associated mutations. Importantly, in rare patient skin samples that give rise to mosaic fibroblast cultures that continue to carry leukemia-associated mutations; healthy hematopoietic progenitors can also be generated via reprogramming selection. Our findings provide the proof of principle that cellular reprogramming can be applied on a personalized basis to generate healthy HPCs from AML patients, and should further motivate advances toward creating transplantable hematopoietic stem cells for autologous AML therapy.
Project description:Bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) engaging T cells are emerging as a promising immunotherapeutic tool for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. Because their low molecular mass, bsAbs have short half-lives. To achieve clinical responses, they have to be infused into patients continously, for a long period of time. As a valid alternative we examined the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as autonomous cellular machines for the constant production of a recently described, fully humanized anti-CD33-anti-CD3 bsAb, which is capable of redirecting human T cells against CD33-expressing leukemic cells. The immortalized human MSC line SCP-1 was genetically modified into expressing bsAb at sufficient amounts to redirect T cells efficiently against CD33 presenting target cells, both in vitro and in an immunodeficient mouse model. Moreover, T cells of patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in blast crisis eliminated autologous leukemic cells in the presence of the bsAb secreting MSCs over time. The immune response against AML cells could be enhanced further by providing T cells an additional co-stimulus via the CD137-CD137 ligand axis through CD137L expression on MSCs. This study demonstrates that MSCs have the potential to be used as cellular production machines for bsAb-based tumor immunotherapy in the future.
Project description:B7-H1 (PD-L1) is a B7-related protein that inhibits T-cell responses. B7-H1 participates in the immunoescape of cancer cells and is also involved in the long-term persistence of leukemic cells in a mouse model of leukemia. B7-H1 can be constitutively expressed by cancer cells, but is also induced by various stimuli. Therefore, we examined the constitutive and inducible expression of B7-H1 and the consequences of this expression in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We analyzed B7-H1 expression in a cohort of 79 patients with AML. In addition, we studied blast cells after incubation with interferon-gamma or toll-like receptors (TLR) ligands. Finally, we evaluated functionality of cytotoxic T-cell activity against blast cells. Expression of B7-H1 upon diagnosis was high in 18% of patients. Expression of TLR2, 4 and 9 was detected in one-third of AML samples. Expression of TLR2 and TLR4 ligands or IFN-? induced by B7-H1 was found to protect AML cells from CTL-mediated lysis. Spontaneous B7-H1 expression was also found to be enhanced upon relapse in some patients. MEK inhibitors, including UO126 and AZD6244, reduced B7-H1 expression and restored CTL-mediated lysis of blast cells. In AML, B7-H1 expression by blasts represents a possible immune escape mechanism. The inducibility of B7-H1 expression by IFN-? or TLR ligands suggests that various stimuli, either produced during the immune response against leukemia cells or released by infectious microorganisms, could protect leukemic cells from T cells. The efficacy of MEK inhibitors against B7-H1-mediated inhibition of CTLs suggests a possible cancer immunotherapy strategy using targeted drugs.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is the most common acute adult leukemia and the second most common pediatric leukemia, still has a poor prognosis. Human C-type lectin-like molecule-1 (CLL1) is a recently identified myeloid lineage restricted cell surface marker, which is overexpressed in over 90% of AML patient myeloid blasts and in leukemic stem cells. Here, we describe the synthesis of a novel bispecific antibody, ?CLL1-?CD3, using the genetically encoded unnatural amino acid, p-acetylphenylalanine. The resulting ?CLL1-?CD3 recruits cytotoxic T?cells to CLL1 positive cells, and demonstrates potent and selective cytotoxicity against several human AML cell lines and primary AML patient derived cells in?vitro. Moreover, ?CLL1-?CD3 treatment completely eliminates established tumors in an U937 AML cell line xenograft model. These results validate the clinical potential of CLL1 as an AML-specific antigen for the generation of a novel immunotherapeutic for AML.