Effective control of acute myeloid leukaemia and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia progression by telomerase specific adoptive T-cell therapy

Oncotarget. 2017 May 23;8(50):86987-87001. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.18115. eCollection 2017 Oct 20.


Telomerase (TERT) is a ribonucleoprotein enzyme that preserves the molecular organization at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Since TERT deregulation is a common step in leukaemia, treatments targeting telomerase might be useful for the therapy of hematologic malignancies. Despite a large spectrum of potential drugs, their bench-to-bedside translation is quite limited, with only a therapeutic vaccine in the clinic and a telomerase inhibitor at late stage of preclinical validation. We recently demonstrated that the adoptive transfer of T cell transduced with an HLA-A2-restricted T-cell receptor (TCR), which recognize human TERT with high avidity, controls human B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (B-CLL) progression without severe side-effects in humanized mice. In the present report, we show the ability of our approach to limit the progression of more aggressive leukemic pathologies, such as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (B-ALL). Together, our findings demonstrate that TERT-based adoptive cell therapy is a concrete platform of T cell-mediated immunotherapy for leukaemia treatment.

Keywords: B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (B-ALL); TCR-redirected T-cells; acute myeloid leukaemia (AML); adoptive cell therapy (ACT); telomerase (TERT).