Rapidly generated multivirus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes for the prophylaxis and treatment of viral infections

Mol Ther. 2012 Aug;20(8):1622-32. doi: 10.1038/mt.2012.130. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Severe and fatal viral infections remain common after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Adoptive transfer of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) specific for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and adenoviral antigens can treat infections that are impervious to conventional therapies, but broader implementation and extension to additional viruses is limited by competition between virus-derived antigens and time-consuming and laborious manufacturing procedures. We now describe a system that rapidly generates a single preparation of polyclonal (CD4(+) and CD8(+)) CTLs that is consistently specific for 15 immunodominant and subdominant antigens derived from 7 viruses (EBV, CMV, Adenovirus (Adv), BK, human herpes virus (HHV)-6, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and Influenza) that commonly cause post-transplant morbidity and mortality. CTLs can be rapidly produced (10 days) by a single stimulation of donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with a peptide mixture spanning the target antigens in the presence of the potent prosurvival cytokines interleukin-4 (IL4) and IL7. This approach reduces the impact of antigenic competition with a consequent increase in the antigenic repertoire and frequency of virus-specific T cells. Our approach can be readily introduced into clinical practice and should be a cost-effective alternative to common antiviral prophylactic agents for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / therapy*


  • Antigens, Viral