Optimization of Large-Scale Expansion and Cryopreservation of Human Natural Killer Cells for Anti-Tumor Therapy.
ABSTRACT: Allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapy is a potential therapeutic approach for a variety of solid tumors. We established an expansion method for large-scale production of highly purified and functionally active NK cells, as well as a freezing medium for the expanded NK cells. In the present study, we assessed the effect of cryopreservation on the expanded NK cells in regards to viability, phenotype, and anti-tumor activity. NK cells were enormously expanded (about 15,000-fold expansion) with high viability and purity by stimulating CD3+ T cell-depleted peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with irradiated autologous PBMCs in the presence of IL-2 and OKT3 for 3 weeks. Cell viability was slightly reduced after freezing and thawing, but cytotoxicity and cytokine secretion were not significantly different. In a xenograft mouse model of hepatocellular carcinoma cells, cryopreserved NK cells had slightly lower anti-tumor efficacy than freshly expanded NK cells, but this was overcome by a 2-fold increased dose of cryopreserved NK cells. In vivo antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity of cryopreserved NK cells was also demonstrated in a SCID mouse model injected with Raji cells with rituximab co-administration. Therefore, we demonstrated that expanded/frozen NK cells maintain viability, phenotype, and anti-tumor activity immediately after thawing, indicating that expanded/frozen NK cells can provide 'ready-to-use' cell therapy for cancer patients.
Project description:In the unique supply chain of cellular therapies, preservation is important to keep the cell product viable. Many factors in cryopreservation affect the outcome of a cell therapy: (i) formulation and introduction of a freezing medium, (ii) cooling rate, (iii) storage conditions, (iv) thawing conditions and (v) post-thaw processing. This article surveys clinical trials of cellular immunotherapy that used cryopreserved regulatory, chimeric antigen receptor or gamma delta T cells, dendritic cells or natural killer (NK) cells. Several observations are summarized from the given information. The aforementioned cell types have been similarly frozen in media containing 5-10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) with plasma, serum or human serum albumin. Two common freezing methods are an insulated freezing container such as Nalgene Mr. Frosty and a controlled-rate freezer at a cooling rate of -1°C/min. Water baths at approximately 37°C have been commonly used for thawing. Post-thaw processing of cryopreserved cells varied greatly: some studies infused the cells immediately upon thawing; some diluted the cells in a carrier solution of varying formulation before infusion; some washed cells to remove cryoprotective agents; and others re-cultured cells to recover cell viability or functionality lost due to cryopreservation. Emerging approaches to preserving cellular immunotherapies are also described. DMSO-free formulations of the freezing media have demonstrated improved preservation of cell viability in T lymphocytes and of cytotoxic function in natural killer cells. Saccharides are a common type of molecule used as an alternative cryoprotective agent to DMSO. Improving methods of preservation will be critical to growth in the clinical use of cellular immunotherapies.
Project description:Cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells are advanced therapy medicinal products, so their production and freezing process has to be validated before their clinical use, to verify their stability as a drug formulation according to the good manufacturing practice (GMP) guidelines. We designed a stability program for our GMP-manufactured CIK cells, evaluating the viability, identity and potency of cryopreserved CIK cells at varying time periods from freezing, and compared them with fresh CIK cells. We evaluated the effects of the cryopreservation method, transportation, and the length of time of different process phases (pre-freezing, freezing and post-thawing) on the stability of CIK cells. This included a worst case for each stage. The expanded CIK cells were viable for up to 30 min from the addition of the freezing solution, when transported on dry ice within 48 h once frozen, within 60 min from thawing and from 12 months of freezing while preserving their cytotoxic effects. The reference samples, cryopreserved simultaneously in tubes and following the same method, were considered representative of the batch and useful in the case of further analysis. Data obtained from this drug stability program can inform the accurate use of CIK cells in clinical settings.
Project description:In this work, we shed new light on the highly debated issue of chromatin fragmentation in cryopreserved cells. Moreover, for the first time, we describe replicating cell-specific DNA damage and higher-order chromatin alterations after freezing and thawing. We identified DNA structural changes associated with the freeze-thaw process and correlated them with the viability of frozen and thawed cells. We simultaneously evaluated DNA defects and the higher-order chromatin structure of frozen and thawed cells with and without cryoprotectant treatment. We found that in replicating (S phase) cells, DNA was preferentially damaged by replication fork collapse, potentially leading to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs), which represent an important source of both genome instability and defects in epigenome maintenance. This induction of DNA defects by the freeze-thaw process was not prevented by any cryoprotectant studied. Both in replicating and non-replicating cells, freezing and thawing altered the chromatin structure in a cryoprotectant-dependent manner. Interestingly, cells with condensed chromatin, which was strongly stimulated by dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) prior to freezing had the highest rate of survival after thawing. Our results will facilitate the design of compounds and procedures to decrease injury to cryopreserved cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cell number and viability are important in cord blood (CB) transplantation. While 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is the standard medium, adding a starch to freezing medium is increasingly utilized as a cytoprotectant for the thawing process. Similar to hetastarch, pentastarch has the advantages of faster renal clearance and less effect on the coagulation system. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:We compared a lower DMSO concentration (5%) containing pentastarch with 10% DMSO and performed cell viability assay, colony-forming units (CFUs), and transplantation of CB cells in NOD/SCID IL2R?(null) mice. RESULTS:CB cells in 5% DMSO/pentastarch had similar CD34+, CD3+, and CD19+ cell percentages after thawing as fresh CB cells. CB cells in 5% DMSO/pentastarch had higher viability (83.3±9.23%) than those frozen in 10% DMSO (75.3±11.0%, p<0.05). We monitored cell viability postthaw every 30 minutes. The mean loss in the first 30 minutes was less in the 5% DMSO/pentastarch group. At the end of 3 hours, the viability decreased by a mean of 7.75% for the 5% DMSO/pentastarch and 17.5% for the 10% DMSO groups. CFUs were similar between the two cryopreserved groups. Frozen CB cells engrafted equally well in IL2R?(null) mice compared to fresh CB cells up to 24 weeks, and CB cells frozen in 5% DMSO/pentastarch engrafted better than those in 10% DMSO. CONCLUSION:Our data indicate that the lower DMSO concentration with pentastarch represents an improvement in the CB cryopreservation process and could have wider clinical application as an alternate freezing medium over 10% DMSO.
Project description:Culturing human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC)s in chemically defined medium and feeder-free condition can facilitate metabolome and proteome analysis of culturing cells and medium, and reduce regulatory concerns for clinical application of cells. And in addition, if hPSC are passaged and cryopreserved in single cells it also facilitates quality control of cells at single cell level. Here we report a robust single cell freezing and thawing method of hPSCs cultured in chemically-defined medium TeSR(TM)-E8(TM) and on cost-effective recombinant human Vitronectin-N (rhVTN-N)-coated dish. Cells are dissociated into single cells with recombinant TrypLE(TM) Select and 0.5 mM EDTA/PBS (3:1 solution) in the presence of Rock inhibitor and cryopreserved with chemically defined CryoStem(TM). Approximately 60% of cells were viable after dissociation. Aggrewell(TM) 400 was used to form cell clumps of 500 cells after thaw in the presence of Rock inhibitor and cells were cultured for two days with TeSR-E8. Cells clumps were then seeded on rhVTN-N-coated dish and cultured with TeSR-E8 for two days prior to the first passage after thawing. Number of viable cells at the first passage increased around 10 times of that just before freezing. This robust single cell freezing method for hPSCs cultured in chemically defined medium will facilitate quality control of cultured cells at single cell level before cryopreservation and consequently assure the quality of cells in frozen vials for further manipulation after thawing.
Project description:Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex neuroimmune disorder characterized by numerous symptoms of unknown etiology. The ME/CFS immune markers reported so far have failed to generate a clinical consensus, perhaps partly due to the limitations of biospecimen biobanking. To address this issue, we performed a comparative analysis of the impact of long-term biobanking on previously identified immune markers and also explored additional potential immune markers linked to infection in ME/CFS. A correlation analysis of marker cryostability across immune cell subsets based on flow cytometry immunophenotyping of fresh blood and frozen PBMC samples collected from individuals with ME/CFS (n = 18) and matched healthy controls (n = 18) was performed. The functionality of biobanked samples was assessed on the basis of cytokine production assay after stimulation of frozen PBMCs. T cell markers defining Treg subsets and the expression of surface glycoprotein CD56 in T cells and the frequency of the effector CD8 T cells, together with CD57 expression in NK cells, appeared unaltered by biobanking. By contrast, NK cell markers CD25 and CD69 were notably increased, and NKp46 expression markedly reduced, by long-term cryopreservation and thawing. Further exploration of Treg and NK cell subsets failed to identify significant differences between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls in terms of biobanked PBMCs. Our findings show that some of the previously identified immune markers in T and NK cell subsets become unstable after cell biobanking, thus limiting their use in further immunophenotyping studies for ME/CFS. These data are potentially relevant for future multisite intervention studies and cooperative projects for biomarker discovery using ME/CFS biobanked samples. Further studies are needed to develop novel tools for the assessment of biomarker stability in cryopreserved immune cells from people with ME/CFS.
Project description:Cell therapies are becoming increasingly widely used, and their production and cryopreservation should take place under tightly controlled GMP conditions, with minimal batch-to-batch variation. One potential source of variation is in the thawing of cryopreserved samples, typically carried out in water baths. This study looks at an alternative, dry thawing, to minimise variability in the thawing of a cryopreserved cell therapy, and compares the cellular outcome on thaw. Factors such as storage time, patient age, and gender are considered in terms of cryopreservation and thawing outcomes. Cryopreserved leukapheresis samples from 41 donors, frozen by the same protocol and stored for up to 17 years, have been thawed using automated, water-free equipment and by conventional wet thawing using a water bath. Post-thaw viability, assessed by both trypan blue and flow cytometry, showed no significant differences between the techniques. Similarly, there was no negative effect of the duration of frozen storage, donor age at sample collection or donor gender on post-thaw viability using either thawing method. The implication of these results is that the cryopreservation protocol chosen initially remains robust and appropriate for use with a wide range of donors. The positive response of the samples to water-free thawing offers potential benefits for clinical situations by removing the subjective element inherent in water bath thawing and eliminating possible contamination issues.
Project description:In this work the physico-chemical properties of selected cryoprotectants (antifreeze protein TrxA-AFP752, trehalose and dimethyl sulfoxide) were correlated with their impact on the constitution of ice and influence on frozen/thawed cell viability. The freezing processes and states of investigated materials solutions were described and explained from a fundamental point of view using ab-initio modelling (molecular dynamics, DFT), Raman spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry and X-Ray Diffraction. For the first time, in this work we correlated the microscopic view (modelling) with the description of the frozen solution states and put these results in the context of human skin fibroblast viability after freezing and thawing. DMSO and AFP had different impacts on their solution's freezing process but in both cases the ice crystallinity size was considerably reduced. DMSO and AFP treatment in different ways improved the viability of frozen/thawed cells.
Project description:Advancements in multi-colour fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) panel warrant harmonized procedures to obtain comparable data between various laboratories. The intensifying clinical exploration of Natural Killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapy demands standardized and harmonized NK cell FACS panels and acquisition protocols. Eight colour FACS panels were designed to study human NK cell phenotype and function within peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). The panels were designed around fixed backbone markers and channels, covering antigens for non-NK lineage exclusion (CD3, TCR??, CD19, CD14, SYTOX® Blue) and NK cell selection (CD45, CD56, CD16), complemented with variable drop-in markers/channels to study NK cell phenotype (NKG2A, NKG2C, NKG2D and KIR2D) or NK cell function and activation (CD25, NKp44 and CD107a). Harmonized FACS set-up and data analysis for three different flow cytometers has been established, leading to highly comparable and reproducible data sets using the same PBMC reference samples (n?=?6). Further studies of NK cells in fresh or cryopreserved PBMC samples (n?=?12) confirmed that freezing and thawing of PBMC samples did not significantly affect NK phenotype or function. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that cryopreserved PBMC samples analysed by standardized FACS panels and harmonized analysis protocols will generate highly reliable data sets for multi-center clinical trials under validated conditions.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To compare the effect of three different cryoprotectants on basic stem cell characteristics for the possibility of using well defined, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and serum free freezing solutions to cryopreserve human Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs) following controlled rate freezing protocol. METHODS:The mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human Wharton's jelly were cryopreserved using 10% DMSO, 10% polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and a cocktail solution comprising of 0.05 M glucose, 0.05 M sucrose and 1.5 M ethylene glycol following controlled rate freezing protocol. We investigated the post-thaw cell viability, morphology, proliferation capacity, basic stem cell characteristics, in vitro differentiation potential and apoptosis-related gene expression profile before and after cryopreservation. RESULTS:The cryoprotectant 10% DMSO has shown higher post-thaw cell viability of 81.2±0.58% whereas 10% PVP and cocktail solution have shown 62.87±0.35% and 72.2±0.23%, respectively at 0 h immediately thawing. The cell viability was further reduced in all the cryopreserved groups at 24 h later post-thaw culture. Further, the complete elimination of FBS in cryoprotectants has resulted in drastic reduction in cell viability. Cryopreservation did not alter the basic stem cell characteristics, plasticity and multipotency except proliferation rate. The expression of pro-apoptotic BAX and p53 genes were higher whilst p21 was lower in all the cryopreserved groups when compare to the control group of WJMSCs. CONCLUSION:Although 10% DMSO has shown higher post-thaw cell viability compare to 10% PVP and cocktail solution, the present study indicates the feasibility of developing a well-defined DMSO free cryosolution which can improve storage and future broad range applications of WJMSCs in regenerative medicine without losing their basic stem cell characteristics.