CD19 CAR–T cells of defined CD4+:CD8+ composition in adult B cell ALL patientsThe Journal of Clinical Investigation | April, 2016
T cells that have been modified to express a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) have antitumor activity in B cell malignancies; however, identification of the factors that determine toxicity and efficacy of these T cells has been challenging in prior studies in which phenotypically heterogeneous CAR–T cell products were prepared from unselected T cells.
Immunotherapy with a CAR–T cell product of defined composition enabled identification of factors that correlated with CAR–T cell expansion, persistence, and toxicity and facilitated design of lymphodepletion and CAR–T cell dosing strategies that mitigated toxicity and improved disease-free survival.VIEW
TCR Sequencing Can Identify and Track Glioma-Infiltrating T Cells after DC VaccinationCancer Immunology Research | March, 2016
Although immunotherapeutic strategies are emerging as adjunctive treatments for cancer, sensitive methods of monitoring the immune response after treatment remain to be established. We used a novel next-generation sequencing approach to determine whether quantitative assessments of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) content and the degree of overlap of T-cell receptor (TCR) sequences in brain tumors and peripheral blood were predictors of immune response and overall survival in glioblastoma patients treated with autologous tumor lysate–pulsed dendritic cell immunotherapy. A statistically significant correlation was found between a higher estimated TIL content and increased time to progression and overall survival.VIEW
T-cell receptor profiling in cancerMolecular Oncology | September, 2015
Immunosequencing is a platform technology that allows the enumeration, specification and quantification of each and every B- and/or T-cell in any biologic sample of interest. Thus, it provides an assessment of the level and distribution of all the clonal lymphocytes in any sample, and allows “tracking” of a single clone or multiple clones of interest over time or from tissue to tissue within a given patient. It is based on bias-controlled multiplex PCR and high-throughput sequencing, and it is highly accurate, standardized, and sensitive.VIEW
Multiplex Identification of Antigen-Specific T Cell Receptors Using a Combination of Immune Assays and Immune Receptor SequencingPLOS ONE | October, 2015
Monitoring antigen-specific T cells is critical for the study of immune responses and development of biomarkers and immunotherapeutics. We developed a novel multiplex assay that combines conventional immune monitoring techniques and immune receptor repertoire sequencing to enable identification of T cells specific to large numbers of antigens simultaneously. We multiplexed 30 different antigens and identified 427 antigen-specific clonotypes from 5 individuals with frequencies as low as 1 per million T cells. The clonotypes identified were validated several ways including repeatability, concordance with published clonotypes, and high correlation with ELISPOT.VIEW
High-throughput pairing of T cell receptor α and β sequencesScience Translational Medicine | August, 2015
The T cell receptor (TCR) protein is a heterodimer composed of an α chain and a β chain. TCR genes undergo somatic DNA rearrangements to generate the diversity of T cell binding specificities needed for effective immunity. Recently, high-throughput immunosequencing methods have been developed to profile the TCR α (TCRA) and TCR β (TCRB) repertoires. However, these methods cannot determine which TCRA and TCRB chains combine to form a specific TCR, which is essential for many functional and therapeutic applications. We describe and validate a method called pairSEQ, which can leverage the diversity of TCR sequences to accurately pair hundreds of thousands of TCRA and TCRB sequences in a single experiment.VIEW
Common clonal origin of central and resident memory T cells following skin immunizationNature Medicine | May, 2015
Central memory T (TCM) cells in lymph nodes (LNs) and resident memory T (TRM) cells in peripheral tissues have distinct roles in protective immunity. Both are generated after primary infections, but their clonal origins have been unclear. To address this question, we immunized mice through the skin with a protein antigen, a chemical hapten, or a non-replicating poxvirus. We then analyzed antigen-activated T cells from different tissues using high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of the gene encoding the T cell receptor (TCR) β-chain (Trb, also known asTcrb) using CDR3 sequences to simultaneously track thousands of unique T cells.VIEW
Islet-Associated T-Cell Receptor-B CDR Sequence Repertoire in Prediabetic NOD Mice Reveals Antigen-Driven T-Cell Expansion And Shared Usage of VBJB TCR Chains
Autoimmune destruction of pancreatic islets in the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse is driven by T cells recognizing various autoantigens mostly in insulin-producing beta-cells. To investigate if T-cell accumulation in islets during early insulitis is clonally predetermined, we compared the complementarity determining regions (CDR3) of T-cell receptor (TCR)β-chains present in islet-infiltrating T cells in young prediabetic NOD mice. High-throughput sequencing of TCRβ-chain DNA extracted from islets of 7-wk old NOD mice revealed a biased TCRβ-chain repertoire in all mice, as a restricted number of clones (17–36 clones) was highly overrepresented and made over 20% of total islet repertoire in each mouse. Among these clones, various Vβ and Jβ families were present but certain VβJβ combinations such as TRBV19-0-TRBJ2-7 and TRBV13-3-TRBJ2-5 were highly shared between individual mice. On TCRβ-chain CDR sequence level, many islet clones (72–146) were shared between at least two individual mice. None of them was among expanded clones in both, suggesting considerable stochasticity in the interactions between TCR and peptide-MHC, even with a limited range of autoantigens. A comparison of islet-CDR3-sequences with CRD-sequences from other tissues revealed clonal overlap with pancreatic lymph node and gut, but these repertoires did not overlap together. Our results suggest that antigen-specific T cells are expanded in pancreatic lymph node and islets, but different specificities expand in individual mice. Some islet-infiltrating T-cell specificities may have a distinct origin shared with gut-infiltrating T cells.
PD-1 blockade induces responses by inhibiting adaptive immune resistance
Therapies that target the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor have shown unprecedented rates of durable clinical responses in patients with various cancer types. One mechanism by which cancer tissues limit the host immune response is via upregulation of PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) and its ligation to PD-1 on antigen-specific CD8+ T cells (termed adaptive immune resistance). Here we show that pre-existing CD8+ T cells distinctly located at the invasive tumour margin are associated with expression of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune inhibitory axis and may predict response to therapy. We analysed samples from 46 patients with metastatic melanoma obtained before and during anti-PD-1 therapy (pembrolizumab) using quantitative immunohistochemistry, quantitative multiplex immunofluorescence, and next-generation sequencing for T-cell antigen receptors (TCRs). In serially sampled tumours, patients responding to treatment showed proliferation of intratumoral CD8+ T cells that directly correlated with radiographic reduction in tumour size. Pre-treatment samples obtained from responding patients showed higher numbers of CD8-, PD-1- and PD-L1-expressing cells at the invasive tumour margin and inside tumours, with close proximity between PD-1 and PD-L1, and a more clonal TCR repertoire. Using multivariate analysis, we established a predictive model based on CD8 expression at the invasive margin and validated the model in an independent cohort of 15 patients. Our findings indicate that tumour regression after therapeutic PD-1 blockade requires pre-existing CD8+ T cells that are negatively regulated by PD-1/PD-L1-mediated adaptive immune resistance.
A phase I clinical trial combining dendritic cell vaccination with adoptive T cell transfer in patients with stage IV melanoma
Adoptive transfer of in vitro-expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) has shown great clinical benefit in patients with malignant melanoma. TIL therapy itself has little side effects, but conditioning chemo- or radiotherapy and postinfusion interleukin 2 (IL-2) injections are associated with severe adverse advents. We reasoned that combining TIL infusion with dendritic cell (DC) vaccination could circumvent the need for conditioning and IL-2 support and thus represent a milder treatment approach. Eight patients with stage IV melanoma were enrolled in the MAT01 study, consisting of vaccination with autologous tumor-lysate-loaded DC, followed by TIL infusion. Six of eight patients were treated according to protocol, while one patient received only TIL and one only DC. Treatments were well tolerated with a single grade 3 adverse event. The small study size precludes analysis of clinical responses, though interestingly one patient showed a complete remission and two had stable disease. Analysis of the infusion products revealed that mature DC were generated in all cases. TIL after expansion were CD3+ T cells, dominated by effector memory CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. Analysis of the T cell receptor repertoire revealed presence of highly dominant clones in most infusion products, and many of these could be detected in the circulation for weeks after T cell transfer. Here, we report the first combination of DC vaccination and TIL infusion in malignant melanoma. This combined treatment was safe and feasible, though after evaluating both clinical and immunological parameters, we expect that administration of lymphodepleting chemotherapy and IL-2 will likely increase treatment efficacy.
Immune activation and a 9-year ongoing complete remission following CD40 antibody therapy and metastasectomy in a patient with metastatic melanoma
Direct immune activation via agonistic mAbs is a potentially complementary approach to therapeutic blockade of inhibitory immune receptors in cancer. Here, we provide genetic analysis of the immunologic consequences associated with the use of an agonistic CD40 mAb in a patient with metastatic melanoma who responded, underwent a single metastasectomy, and then achieved a complete remission ongoing for more than 9 years after starting therapy. Tumor microenvironment after immunotherapy was associated with proinflammatory modulations and emergence of a de novo T-cell repertoire as detected by next-generation sequencing of T-cell receptors (TCR) in the tumor and blood. The de novo T-cell repertoire identified in the posttreatment metastasectomy sample was also present-and in some cases expanded-in the circulation years after completion of therapy. Comprehensive study of this "exceptional responder" highlights the emerging potential of direct immune agonists in the next wave of cancer immunotherapies and a potential role for TCR deep sequencing in cancer immune assessment.
Deep sequencing of the human TCRγ and TCRβ repertoires suggests that TCRβ rearranges after αβ and γδ T cell commitment
T lymphocytes respond to a broad array of pathogens with the combinatorial diversity of the T cell receptor (TCR). This adaptive response is possible because of the unique structure of the TCR, which is composed of two chains, either αβ or γδ, that undergo genetic rearrangement in the thymus. αβ and γδ T cells are functionally distinct within the host but are derived from a common multipotent precursor. The canonical model for T cell lineage commitment assumes that the γ, δ, and β chains rearrange before αβ or γδ T cell commitment. To test the standard model in humans, we used high-throughput sequencing to catalog millions of TCRγ and TCRβ chains from peripheral blood αβ and γδ T cells from three unrelated individuals. Almost all sampled αβ and γδ T cells had rearranged TCRγ sequences. Although sampled αβ T cells had a diverse repertoire of rearranged TCRβ chains, less than 4% of γδ T cells in peripheral blood had a rearranged TCRβ chain. Our data suggest that TCRγ rearranges in all T lymphocytes, consistent with TCRγ rearranging before T cell lineage commitment. However, rearrangement of the TCRβ locus appears to be restricted after T cell precursors commit to the αβ T cell lineage. Indeed, in T cell leukemias and lymphomas, TCRγ is almost always rearranged and TCRβ is only rearranged in a subset of cancers. Because high-throughput sequencing of TCRs is translated into the clinic for monitoring minimal residual for leukemia/lymphoma, our data suggest the sequencing target should be TCRγ.
Tetramer guided, cell sorter assisted production of clinical grade autologous NY-ESO-1 specific CD8+ T cells
Background: Adoptive T cell therapy represents an attractive modality for the treatment of patients with cancer. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells have been used as a source of antigen specific T cells but the very low frequency of T cells recognizing commonly expressed antigens such as NY-ESO-1 limit the applicability of this approach to other solid tumors. To overcome this, we tested a strategy combining IL-21 modulation during in vitro stimulation with first-in-class use of tetramer-guided cell sorting to generate NY-ESO-1 specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL).
Methods: CTL generation was evaluated in 6 patients with NY-ESO-1 positive sarcomas, under clinical manufacturing conditions and characterized for phenotypic and functional properties.
Results: Following in vitro stimulation, T cells stained with NY-ESO-1 tetramer were enriched from frequencies as low as 0.4% to >90% after single pass through a clinical grade sorter. NY-ESO-1 specific T cells were generated from all 6 patients. The final products expanded on average 1200-fold to a total of 36 billion cells, were oligoclonal and contained 67-97% CD8+, tetramer+ T cells with a memory phenotype that recognized endogenous NY-ESO-1.
Conclusion: This study represents the first series using tetramer-guided cell sorting to generate T cells for adoptive therapy. This approach, when used to target more broadly expressed tumor antigens such as WT-1 and additional Cancer-Testis antigens will enhance the scope and feasibility of adoptive T cell therapy.
The Evolution of Thymic Lymphomas in P53 Knockout Mice
Germline deletion of the p53 gene in mice gives rise to spontaneous thymic (T-cell) lymphomas. In this study, the p53 knockout mouse was employed as a model to study the mutational evolution of tumorigenesis. The clonality of the T-cell repertoire from p53 knockout and wild-type thymic cells was analyzed at various ages employing TCRβ sequencing. These data demonstrate that p53 knockout thymic lymphomas arose in an oligoclonal fashion, with tumors evolving dominant clones over time. Exon sequencing of tumor DNA revealed that all of the independently derived oligoclonal mouse tumors had a deletion in the Pten gene prior to the formation of the TCRβ rearrangement, produced early in development. This was followed in each independent clone of the thymic lymphoma by the amplification or overexpression of cyclin Ds and Cdk6. Alterations in the expression of Ikaros were common and blocked further development of CD-4/CD-8 T cells. While the frequency of point mutations in the genome of these lymphomas was one per megabase, there were a tremendous number of copy number variations producing the tumors’ driver mutations. The initial inherited loss of p53 functions appeared to delineate an order of genetic alterations selected for during the evolution of these thymic lymphomas.
A local macrophage chemokine network sustains protective tissue-resident memory CD4 T cells
CD8 tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells provide efficient local control of viral infection, but the role of CD4 TRM is less clear. Here, by using parabiotic mice, we show that a preexisting pool of CD4 TRM cells in the genital mucosa was required for full protection from a lethal herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) infection. Chemokines secreted by a local network of macrophages maintained vaginal CD4 TRM in memory lymphocyte clusters (MLCs), independently of circulating memory T cells. CD4 TRM cells within the MLCs were enriched in clones that expanded in response to HSV-2. Our results highlight the need for vaccine strategies that enable establishment of TRM cells for protection from a sexually transmitted virus and provide insights as to how such a pool might be established.
Oral-resident natural Th17 cells and γδ T cells control opportunistic Candida albicans infections
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. OPC is frequent in HIV/AIDS, implicating adaptive immunity. Mice are naive to Candida, yet IL-17 is induced within 24 h of infection, and susceptibility is strongly dependent on IL-17R signaling. We sought to identify the source of IL-17 during the early innate response to candidiasis. We show that innate responses to Candida require an intact TCR, as SCID, IL-7Rα(-/-), and Rag1(-/-) mice were susceptible to OPC, and blockade of TCR signaling by cyclosporine induced susceptibility. Using fate-tracking IL-17 reporter mice, we found that IL-17 is produced within 1-2 d by tongue-resident populations of γδ T cells and CD3(+)CD4(+)CD44(hi)TCRβ(+)CCR6(+) natural Th17 (nTh17) cells, but not by TCR-deficient innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) or NK cells. These cells function redundantly, as TCR-β(-/-) and TCR-δ(-/-) mice were both resistant to OPC. Whereas γδ T cells were previously shown to produce IL-17 during dermal candidiasis and are known to mediate host defense at mucosal surfaces, nTh17 cells are poorly understood. The oral nTh17 population expanded rapidly after OPC, exhibited high TCR-β clonal diversity, and was absent in Rag1(-/-), IL-7Rα(-/-), and germ-free mice. These findings indicate that nTh17 and γδ T cells, but not ILCs, are key mucosal sentinels that control oral pathogens.
De novo oligoclonal expansions of circulating plasmablasts in active and relapsing IgG4 -related disease
Background: IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a poorly understood, multiorgan, chronic inflammatory disease characterized by tumefactive lesions, storiform fibrosis, obliterative phlebitis, and accumulation of IgG4-expressing plasma cells at disease sites.
Objective: The role of B cells and IgG4 antibodies in IgG4-RD pathogenesis is not well defined. We evaluated patients with IgG4-RD for activated B cells in both disease lesions and peripheral blood and investigated their role in disease pathogenesis.
Methods: B-cell populations from the peripheral blood of 84 patients with active IgG4-RD were analyzed by using flow cytometry. The repertoire of B-cell populations was analyzed in a subset of patients by using next-generation sequencing. Fourteen of these patients were longitudinally followed for 9 to 15 months after rituximab therapy.
Results: Numbers of CD191CD271CD202CD38hi plasmablasts, which are largely IgG41, are increased in patients with active IgG4-RD. These expanded plasmablasts are oligoclonal and exhibit extensive somatic hypermutation, and their numbers decrease after rituximab-mediated B-cell depletion therapy; this loss correlates with disease remission. A subset of patients relapse after rituximab therapy, and circulating plasmablasts that re-emerge in these subjects are clonally distinct and exhibit enhanced somatic hypermutation. Cloning and expression of immunoglobulin heavy and light chain genes from expanded plasmablasts at the peak of disease reveals that disease- associated IgG4 antibodies are self-reactive.
Conclusions: Clonally expanded CD191CD271CD202CD38hi plasmablasts are a hallmark of active IgG4-RD. Enhanced somatic mutation in activated B cells and plasmablasts and emergence of distinct plasmablast clones on relapse indicate that the disease pathogenesis is linked to de novo recruitment of naive B cells into T cell–dependent responses by CD41 T cells, likely driving a self-reactive disease process.
High-throughput sequencing of TCR repertoires in multiple sclerosis reveals intrathecal enrichment of EBV-reactive CD8+ T cells
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has long been suggested as a pathogen in multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, we used high-throughput sequencing to determine the diversity, compartmentalization, persistence, and EBV-reactivity of the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoires in MS. TCR-β genes were sequenced in paired samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood from patients with MS and controls with other inflammatory neurological diseases. The TCR repertoires were highly diverse in both compartments and patient groups. Expanded T-cell clones, represented by TCR-β sequences >0.1%, were of different identity in CSF and blood of MS patients, and persisted for more than a year. Reference TCR-β libraries generated from peripheral blood T cells reactive against autologous EBV-transformed B cells were highly enriched for public EBV-specific sequences and were used to quantify EBV-reactive TCR-β sequences in CSF. TCR-β sequences of EBV-reactive CD8+ T cells, including several public EBV-specific sequences, were intrathecally enriched in MS patients only, whereas those of EBV-reactive CD4+ T cells were also enriched in CSF of controls. These data provide evidence for a clonally diverse, yet compartmentalized and persistent, intrathecal T-cell response in MS. The presented strategy links TCR sequence to intrathecal T-cell specificity, demonstrating enrichment of EBV-reactive CD8+ T cells in MS.
Membrane association of the CD3ε signaling domain is required for optimal T cell development and function
The TCR:CD3 complex transduces signals that are critical for optimal T cell development and adaptive immunity. In resting T cells, the CD3ε cytoplasmic tail associates with the plasma membrane via a proximal basic-rich stretch (BRS). In this study, we show that mice lacking a functional CD3ε-BRS exhibited substantial reductions in thymic cellularity and limited CD4- CD8- double-negative (DN) 3 to DN4 thymocyte transition, because of enhanced DN4 TCR signaling resulting in increased cell death and TCR downregulation in all subsequent populations. Furthermore, positive, but not negative, T cell selection was affected in mice lacking a functional CD3ε-BRS, which led to limited peripheral T cell function and substantially reduced responsiveness to influenza infection. Collectively, these results indicate that membrane association of the CD3ε signaling domain is required for optimal thymocyte development and peripheral T cell function.
CTLA4 blockade broadens the peripheral T-cell receptor repertoire
Purpose: To evaluate the immunomodulatory effects of CTLA-4 blockade with tremelimumab in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
Experimental Design: We used next generation sequencing to study the complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) from the rearranged T cell receptor (TCR) variable beta (V-beta) in PBMC of 21 patients, at baseline and 30–60 days after receiving tremelimumab.
Results: After receiving tremelimumab there was a median of 30% increase in unique productive sequences of TCR V-beta CDR3 in 19 out of 21 patients, and a median decrease of 30% in only 2 out of 21 patients. These changes were significant for richness (p=0.01) and for Shannon index diversity (p=0.04). In comparison, serially collected PBMC from four healthy donors did not show a significant change in TCR V-beta CDR3 diversity over one year. There was a significant difference in the total unique productive TCR V-beta CDR3 sequences between patients experiencing toxicity with tremelimumab compared to patients without toxicity (p=0.05). No relevant differences were noted between clinical responders and non-responders.
Conclusions: CTLA4 blockade with tremelimumab diversifies the peripheral T cell pool, representing a pharmacodynamic effect of how this class of antibodies modulates the human immune system.
Improved Survival with T Cell Clonotype Stability After Anti–CTLA-4 Treatment in Cancer Patients
Cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) blockade can promote antitumor T cell immunity and clinical responses. The mechanism by which anti–CTLA-4 antibodies induces antitumor responses is controversial. To determine the effects of CTLA-4 blockade on the T cell repertoire, we used next-generation deep sequencing to measure the frequency of individual rearranged T cell receptor β (TCRβ) genes, thereby characterizing the diversity of rearrangements, known as T cell clonotypes. CTLA-4 blockade in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and metastatic melanoma resulted in both expansion and loss of T cell clonotypes, consistent with a global turnover of the T cell repertoire. Overall, this treatment increased TCR diversity as reflected in the number of unique TCR clonotypes. The repertoire of clonotypes continued to evolve over subsequent months of treatment. Whereas the number of clonotypes that increased with treatment was not associated with clinical outcome, improved overall survival was associated with maintenance of high-frequency clones at baseline. In contrast, the highest-frequency clonotypes fell with treatment in patients with short overall survival. Stably maintained clonotypes included T cells having high-avidity TCR such as virus-reactive T cells. Together, these results suggest that CTLA-4 blockade induces T cell repertoire evolution and diversification. Moreover, improved clinical outcomes are associated with less clonotype loss, consistent with the maintenance of high-frequency TCR clonotypes during treatment. These clones may represent the presence of preexisting high-avidity T cells that may be relevant in the antitumor response.
Parallel T-cell cloning and deep sequencing of human MAIT cells reveal stable oligoclonal TCRB repertoire
Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are abundant in humans and recognize conserved bacterial antigens derived from riboflavin precursors, presented by the non- polymorphic MHC class I-like molecule MR1. Here we show that human MAIT cells are remarkably oligoclonal in both the blood and liver, display high inter-individual homology and exhibit a restricted length CDR3b domain of the TCRVb chain. We extend this analysis to a second sub-population of MAIT cells expressing a semi-invariant TCR conserved between individuals. Similar to ‘conventional’ MAIT cells, these lymphocytes react to riboflavin-synthesizing microbes in an MR1-restricted manner and infiltrate solid tissues. Both MAIT cell types release Th0, Th1 and Th2 cytokines, and sCD40L in response to bacterial infection, show cytotoxic capacity against infected cells and promote killing of intracellular bacteria, thus suggesting important protective and immunoregulatory functions of these lymphocytes.
Quantifying selection in immune receptor repertoires
The efficient recognition of pathogens by the adaptive immune system relies on the diversity of receptors displayed at the surface of immune cells. T-cell receptor diversity results from an initial random DNA editing process, called VDJ recombination, followed by functional selection of cells according to the interaction of their surface receptors with self and foreign antigenic peptides. To quantify the effect of selection on the highly variable elements of the receptor, we apply a probabilistic maximum likelihood approach to the analysis of high-throughput sequence data from the β-chain of human T-cell receptors. We quantify selection factors for V and J gene choice, and for the length and amino-acid composition of the variable region. Our approach is necessary to disentangle the effects of selection from biases inherent in the recombination process. Inferred selection factors differ little between donors, or between naive and memory repertoires. The number of sequences shared between donors is well-predicted by the model, indicating a purely stochastic origin of such “public” sequences. We find a significant correlation between biases induced by VDJ recombination and our inferred selection factors, together with a reduction of diversity during selection. Both effects suggest that natural selection acting on the recombination process has anticipated the selection pressures experienced during somatic evolution.
T cell repertoire following autologous stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis
Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is commonly employed for hematologic and non-hematologic malignancies. In clinical trials, HSCT has been evaluated for severe autoimmunity as a method to “reset” the immune system and produce a new, non-autoimmune repertoire. While the feasibility of eliminating the vast majority of mature T cells is well established, accurate and quantitative determination of the relationship of regenerated T cells to the baseline repertoire has been difficult to assess. Here, in a phase II study of HSCT for poor-prognosis multiple sclerosis, we used high-throughput deep TCRβ chain sequencing to assess millions of individual TCRs per patient sample. We found that HSCT has distinctive effects on CD4+ and CD8+ T cell repertoires. In CD4+ T cells, dominant TCR clones present before treatment were undetectable following reconstitution, and patients largely developed a new repertoire. In contrast, dominant CD8+ clones were not effectively removed, and the reconstituted CD8+ T cell repertoire was created by clonal expansion of cells present before treatment. Importantly, patients who failed to respond to treatment had less diversity in their T cell repertoire early during the reconstitution process. These results demonstrate that TCR characterization during immunomodulatory treatment is both feasible and informative, and may enable monitoring of pathogenic or protective T cell clones following HSCT and cellular therapies.
Novel GMP-compatible protocol employing an allogeneic B cell bank for clonal expansion of allospecific natural regulatory T cells
The adoptive transfer of natural regulatory T cells (nTreg) is a new option to reshape undesired immune reactivity in autoimmunity and transplantation toward “tolerance.” The first clinical trials using adoptive transfer of polyclonal nTreg demonstrated safety and hints of efficacy. However, the low frequencies of antigen-specific cells among the pool of polyclonal nTreg and their broad antigen nonspecific suppression are limitations of this approach regarding efficacy and safety. Recently, the isolation and expansion of (allo)antigen-specific nTreg have successfully been achieved by using Treg-specific activation markers but the yield is relatively low. Here, we describe a novel good manufacturing practice (GMP)-compatible expansion protocol of alloantigen-specific nTreg based on the stimulation of nTreg by allogeneic activated B cells. Their functionality and specificity are superior compared to polyclonal nTreg both in vitro and in vivo. Employing an allogeneic B cell bank, designed to cover the majority of HLA types, allows fast GMP-compliant manufacturing for donor-specific nTreg for clinical application in organ and stem cell transplantation. TCR repertoire analyses by next generation sequencing revealed impressive expansion by several log-steps of even very low-abundance alloantigen-specific nTreg clones. This novel method offers a simple approach for expanding antigen-specific nTreg and is characterized by high replicability and easy transferability to full GMP standards.
Efficacy and toxicity management of 19-28z CAR T cell therapy in B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
We report on 16 patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) that we treated with autologous T cells expressing the 19-28z chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) specific to the CD19 antigen. The overall complete response rate was 88%, which allowed us to transition most of these patients to a standard-of-care allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT). This therapy was as effective in high-risk patients with Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) disease as in those with relapsed disease after previous allo-SCT. Through systematic analysis of clinical data and serum cytokine levels over the first 21 days after T cell infusion, we have defined diagnostic criteria for a severe cytokine release syndrome (sCRS), with the goal of better identifying the subset of patients who will likely require therapeutic intervention with corticosteroids or interleukin-6 receptor blockade to curb the sCRS. Additionally, we found that serum C-reactive protein, a readily available laboratory study, can serve as a reliable indicator for the severity of the CRS. Together, our data provide strong support for conducting a multicenter phase 2 study to further evaluate 19-28z CAR T cells in B-ALL and a road map for patient management at centers now contemplating the use of CAR T cell therapy.
Regression of metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma following transfer of polyomavirus-specific T cells and therapies capable of re-inducing HLA class-I
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive skin cancer that typically requires the persistent expression of Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) oncoproteins that can serve as ideal immunotherapeutic targets. Several immune evasion mechanisms are active in MCC including down-regulation of HLA class-I expression on tumor cells and dysfunctional endogenous MCPyV-specific CD8 T cell responses. To overcome these obstacles, we combined local and systemic immune therapies in a 67-year-old man, who developed metastatic MCPyV-expressing MCC. Intralesional IFNβ-1b or targeted single-dose radiation was administered as a pre-conditioning strategy to reverse the down-regulation of HLA-I expression noted in his tumors and to facilitate the subsequent recognition of tumor cells by T cells. This was followed by the adoptive transfer of ex vivo expanded polyclonal, polyomavirus-specific T cells as a source of reactive antitumor immunity. The combined regimen was well-tolerated and led to persistent up-regulation of HLA-I expression in the tumor and a durable complete response in two of three metastatic lesions. Relative to historical controls, the patient experienced a prolonged period without development of additional distant metastases (535 days compared to historic median of 200 days, 95% confidence interval = 154-260 days). The transferred CD8(+) T cells preferentially accumulated in the tumor tissue, remained detectable and functional for >200 days, persisted with an effector phenotype, and exhibited evidence of recent in vivo activation and proliferation. The combination of local and systemic immune stimulatory therapies was well-tolerated and may be a promising approach to overcome immune evasion in virus-driven cancers.
TCR Sequencing Facilitates Diagnosis and Identifies Mature T Cells as the Cell of Origin in CTCLScience Translational Medicine | October, 2015
Early diagnosis of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) is difficult and takes on average 6 years after presentation, in part because the clinical appearance and histopathology of CTCL can resemble that of benign inflammatory skin diseases. Detection of a malignant T cell clone is critical in making the diagnosis of CTCL, but the T cell receptor g (TCRg) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis in current clinical use detects clones in only a subset of patients. High-throughput TCR sequencing (HTS) detected T cell clones in 46 of 46 CTCL patients, was more sensitive and specific than TCRg PCR, and successfully discriminated CTCL from benign inflammatory diseases. HTS also accurately assessed responses to therapy and facilitated diagnosis of disease recurrence.VIEW
Prognostic Value of Deep Sequencing Method for Minimal Residual Disease Detection in Multiple MyelomaBlood | May, 2014
We assessed the prognostic value of minimal residual disease (MRD) detection in multiple myeloma (MM) patients using a sequencing-based platform in bone marrow samples from 133 MM patients in at least very good partial response (VGPR) after front-line therapy. Deep sequencing was carried out in patients in whom a high-frequency myeloma clone was identified and MRD was assessed using the IGH-VDJH, IGH-DJH, and IGK assays. The results were contrasted with those of multiparametric flow cytometry (MFC) and allele-specific oligonucleotide polymerase chain reaction (ASO-PCR). The applicability of deep sequencing was 91%. Concordance between sequencing and MFC and ASO-PCR was 83% and 85%, respectively.VIEW
Non-Invasive Monitoring of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma by Immunoglobulin High-Throughput SequencingBlood | June, 2015
Recent studies have shown limited utility of routine surveillance imaging for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients achieving remission. Detection of molecular disease by immunoglobulin high-throughput sequencing (Ig-HTS) from peripheral blood provides an alternate strategy for surveillance. We prospectively evaluated the utility of Ig-HTS within 311 blood and 105 tumor samples from 75 patients with DLBCL, comparing Ig-HTS from the cellular (circulating leukocytes) and acellular (plasma cell-free DNA) compartments of peripheral blood to clinical outcomes and 18FDG PET/CT (n=173). Clonotypic immunoglobulin rearrangements were detected in 83% of patients with adequate tumor samples to enable subsequent monitoring in peripheral blood.VIEW
IgH-V(D)J NGS-MRD Measurement Pre- and Early Post- Allo-Transplant Defines Very Low and Very High Risk ALL PatientsBlood | May, 2015
Positive detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) by multichannel flow cytometry (MFC) prior to hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) of patients with ALL identifies patients at high risk for relapse, but many pre-HCT MFC-MRD negative patients also relapse, and the predictive power MFC-MRD early post-HCT is poor. To test whether the increased sensitivity of next-generation sequencing (NGS-MRD) better identifies pre- and post-HCT relapse risk, we performed IgH V(D)J NGS-MRD on 56 patients with B-cell ALL enrolled in Children's Oncology Group (COG) trial ASCT0431. NGS-MRD predicted relapse and survival more accurately than MFC-MRD (p<0.0001), especially in the MRD negative cohort (relapse 0% vs. 16%; p=0.02, 2yr OS 96% vs. 77%; p=0.003).VIEW