HSV-sr39TK positron emission tomography and suicide gene elimination of human hematopoietic stem cells and their progeny in humanized mice

Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 15;74(18):5173-83. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0376. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


Engineering immunity against cancer by the adoptive transfer of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) modified to express antigen-specific T-cell receptors (TCR) or chimeric antigen receptors generates a continual supply of effector T cells, potentially providing superior anticancer efficacy compared with the infusion of terminally differentiated T cells. Here, we demonstrate the in vivo generation of functional effector T cells from CD34-enriched human peripheral blood stem cells modified with a lentiviral vector designed for clinical use encoding a TCR recognizing the cancer/testes antigen NY-ESO-1, coexpressing the PET/suicide gene sr39TK. Ex vivo analysis of T cells showed antigen- and HLA-restricted effector function against melanoma. Robust engraftment of gene-modified human cells was demonstrated with PET reporter imaging in hematopoietic niches such as femurs, humeri, vertebrae, and the thymus. Safety was demonstrated by the in vivo ablation of PET signal, NY-ESO-1-TCR-bearing cells, and integrated lentiviral vector genomes upon treatment with ganciclovir, but not with vehicle control. Our study provides support for the efficacy and safety of gene-modified HSCs as a therapeutic modality for engineered cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Res; 74(18); 5173-83. ©2014 AACR.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD34 / blood
  • Antigens, CD34 / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genes, Transgenic, Suicide*
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / diagnostic imaging
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Mice
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CTAG1B protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell