Last updated on September 2018

MiHA-loaded PD-L-silenced DC Vaccination After Allogeneic SCT


Brief description of study

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) is a potent treatment, and sometimes the only curative treatment for aggressive hematological malignancies. The therapeutic efficacy is attributed to the graft-versus-tumor (GVT) response, during which donor-derived CD8+ T cells become activated by recipient minor histocompatibility antigens (MiHA) presented on dendritic cells (DC). Consequently, these alloreactive donor T cells clonally expand, acquire effector functions and kill MiHA-positive malignant cells. However, in a substantial number of patients persistence and recurrence of malignant disease is observed, indicating that insufficient GVT immunity is induced. This is reflected by our observation that not all patients develop a productive CD8+ T cell response towards MiHA mismatched between the recipient and donor. We found that the PD-1/PD-L1 co-inhibitory pathway is involved in dampening MiHA-specific CD8+ T cell expansion and function post-transplantation. Therefore, a promising strategy to induce or boost GVT immune responses is pre-emptive or therapeutic vaccination with ex vivo-generated donor DCs loaded with MiHA that are exclusively expressed by recipient hematopoietic cells and their malignant counterparts. In contrast to pre-emptive donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) with polyclonal donor T cells, this MiHA-DC vaccination approach has less risk of inducing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and the potency to induce more efficient GVT-associated T cell immunity. In addition, the potency of this DC vaccine will be further enhanced by interference with the PD-1/PD-L1 co-inhibitory pathway, using siRNA mediated PD-L1/PD-L2 silencing.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02528682

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Harry Dolstra, PhD

Trialoffice Haematology-Oncology
Nijmegen, Netherlands
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