Induction of cytomegalovirus-specific T cell responses in healthy volunteers and allogeneic stem cell recipients using vaccination with messenger RNA-transfected dendritic cells

Transplantation. 2015 Jan;99(1):120-7. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000272.


Background: Infection with human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients.

Methods: The present study explored the safety, feasibility, and immunogenicity of CMV pp65 messenger RNA-loaded autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DC) as a cellular vaccine for active immunization in healthy volunteers and allogeneic HSCT recipients. Four CMV-seronegative healthy volunteers and three allogeneic HSCT recipients were included in the study. Four clinical-grade autologous monocyte-derived DC vaccines were prepared after a single leukapheresis procedure and administered intradermally at a weekly interval.

Results: De novo induction of CMV-specific T-cell responses was detected in three of four healthy volunteers without serious adverse events. Of the HSCT recipients, none developed CMV disease and one of two patients displayed a remarkable threefold increase in CMV pp65-specific T cells on completion of the DC vaccination trial.

Conclusion: In conclusion, our DC vaccination strategy induced or expanded a CMV-specific cellular response in four of six efficacy-evaluable study subjects, providing a base for its further exploration in larger cohorts.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Belgium
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Cytomegalovirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Cytomegalovirus Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Cytomegalovirus Vaccines / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus Vaccines / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / transplantation*
  • Dendritic Cells / virology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection*
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccination
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology*
  • Young Adult


  • Cytomegalovirus Vaccines
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • cytomegalovirus matrix protein 65kDa