Enhanced immune costimulatory activity of primary acute myeloid leukaemia blasts after retrovirus-mediated gene transfer of B7.1

Gene Ther. 1997 Jul;4(7):691-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.gt.3300437.


Gene modification of malignant cells to express immune stimulators (cytokines and immune costimulators) has provided the basis for a novel form of immunotherapy. Using a MPSV-based retroviral vector with hygromycin resistance gene as a selectable marker, we have studied retrovirus-mediated gene transfer of an immune costimulator, B7.1, into primary human acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells and the subsequent induction of immune costimulatory function. AML blasts from 10 patients were transduced by co-culture for 48 h with or without haemopoietic growth factors (HGFs). In the absence of HGFs, transduction efficiency (TE), as judged by % B7.1 expressing cells, was low, varying from 0.3 to 8.2% (median 1.5%). Addition of HGFs increased the median TE 1.8-fold with stem cell factor alone and 2.6-fold with SCF, interleukin-3 and GM-CSF. Effects on cell cycling alone could not explain this difference, suggesting other factors such as virus binding and promoter activity, are also involved. CFU-AL assays indicated a higher transduction efficiency of clonogenic cells, which was not improved by growth factors. Limited duration of cell growth prevented significant expansion of transduced populations by culture in the presence of hygromycin. Although not increasing transduction efficiency, CD34 enrichment enhanced drug selection, by targeting cells with the greatest self-renewal capacity. Immunoselection of B7.1 expressing cells produced transduced populations with 30-60% expressing B7.1. In an allogeneic mixed leukaemic cell/T lymphocyte reaction (MLLR) transduced AML cells enriched by immunoselection were able to stimulate allogeneic T cells (CD4 and CD8 positive), which could be inhibited by a solubilised B7 receptor, CTLA4.Ig. Our results demonstrate that using a replication incompetent retroviral vector, it is possible to introduce the immune costimulator B7.1 into primary AML-blasts and by immunoselection, enrich the transduced cells, which may be used for subsequent administration as an autologous cellular vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • B7-1 Antigen / genetics*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interleukin-3 / therapeutic use
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / immunology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / therapy*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Retroviridae*
  • Stem Cell Factor / therapeutic use
  • Transfection*


  • B7-1 Antigen
  • Interleukin-3
  • Stem Cell Factor
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor