Human tumour and dendritic cell hybrids generated by electrofusion: potential for cancer vaccines

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Mar 17;1500(3):265-79. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4439(99)00108-8.


Hybrid cells created by fusion of antigen presenting and tumour cells have been shown to induce potent protective and curative anti-tumour immunity in rodent cancer models. The application of hybrid cell vaccines for human tumour therapy and the timely intervention in disease control are limited by the requirement to derive sufficient autologous cells to preserve homologous tumour antigen presentation. In this study, the efficiency of various methods of electrofusion in generating hybrid human cells have been investigated with a variety of human haemopoietic, breast and prostate cell lines. Cell fusion using an electrical pulse is enhanced by a variety of stimuli to align cells electrically or bring cells into contact. Centrifugation of cells after an exponential pulse from a Gene Pulser electroporation apparatus provided the highest yield of mixed cell hybrids by FACS analysis. An extensive fusogenic condition generated in human cells after an electrical pulse contradicts the presumption that prior cell contact is necessary for cell fusion. Alignment of cells in a concurrent direct current charge and osmotic expansion of cells in polyethylene glycol also generated high levels of cell fusion. Waxing of one electrode of the electroporation cuvette served to polarize the fusion chamber and increase cell fusion 5-fold. Optimisation of a direct current charge in combination with a fusogenic pulse in which fusion of a range of human cells approached or exceeded 30% of the total pulsed cells. The yield of hybrid prostate and breast cancer cells with dendritic cells was similar to the homologous cell fusion efficiencies indicating that dendritic cells were highly amenable to fusion with human tumour cells under similar electrical parameters. Elimination of unfused cells by density gradient and culture is possible to further increase the quantity of hybrid cells. The generation and purification of quantities of hybrid cells sufficient for human vaccination raises the possibility of rapid, autologous tumour antigen presenting vaccines for trial with common human tumours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Cell Fusion*
  • Cell Line
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Electroporation
  • Humans
  • Hybrid Cells*
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Polyethylene Glycols