Various antiviral agents have been developed, which are sometimes associated with toxicity, development of virus-resistant strain, and high cost. Virus-specific T-cell (VST) therapy provides an alternative curative therapy that can be effective for a prolonged time without eliciting drug resistance. VSTs can be directly separated using several types of capture devices and can be obtained by stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells with viral antigens (virus, protein, or peptide) loaded on antigen-presenting cells (APC). APC can be transduced with virus-antigen coding plasmid or pulsed with overlapping peptides. VST therapy has been studied in drug non-responsive viral infections after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Several previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of VST therapy without significant severe GVHD. In addition, VSTs from a third-party donor have been prepared and administered for post-HCT viral infection. Although target viruses of VSTs include herpes virus species and polyomavirus species, a wide variety of pathogens, such as papillomavirus, intracellular bacteria, and fungi, can be treated by pathogen-specific T-cells. Perhaps, these specific T-cells could be used for opportunistic infections in other immunocompromised hosts in the near future.
Keywords: Hematopoietic cell transplantation; Overlapping peptides; Specific T-cell therapy; Viral infections.