Last updated on May 2019

TAA Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes in Patients With Breast Cancer

Brief description of study

The study is being conducted in patients in which breast cancer has come back after standard treatment. Volunteers in this research study are treated using special immune system cells called tumor-associated antigen (TAA)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes, a new experimental therapy.

The proteins that investigators are targeting in this study are called tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). These are cell proteins that are specific to the cancer cell. They do not show, or they show up in low quantities, on normal human cells. In this study, investigators target five common TAAs. They are called NY-ESO-1, MAGEA4, PRAME, Survivin and SSX2. On a different study, patients have been treated and so far this treatment has shown to be safe.

Investigators now want to try this treatment in patients with breast cancer.

These TAA-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (TAA-CTLs) are an investigational product not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The purpose of this study is to determine the clinical efficacy of TAA-specific CTLs, to learn what the side-effects are, and to see whether this therapy might help patients with breast cancer.

Detailed Study Description

Investigators will take a maximum of approximately 79 teaspoons of blood from patients on one to three occasions over a two-month period. Under certain conditions related to the patient's health, blood may be collected using a process called apheresis. Apheresis is the process where blood is passed through a machine that separates out the components of blood that we need. The remainder of the patient's blood will then be returned to his/her body.

Investigators will use this blood to grow T cells. Investigators will first grow a special type of cells called dendritic cells which will activate T cells. Once these are made, investigators will load them with small pieces of protein called peptides taken from the TAAs that we want to target. This helps train the T cells to kill cancer cells which express TAAs on their surface. Then the TAA-specific CTLs are expanded.

The cells will be infused by intravenous infusion (IV) into the patient over 1-10 minutes. The patient may be pre-treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are given to prevent a possible allergic reaction to the TAA-CTL administration. Initially, two doses of TAA-CTLs will be given four weeks apart. The patient's cancer will be assessed pre-infusion, and then 6 weeks after the second infusion. If after the second infusion there is a reduction in the size of the patient's tumor on Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or Positron Emission Tomography (PET) as assessed by a radiologist, the patient can receive up to six (6) additional doses of the TAA-CTLs if they wish. At least one month should pass before each additional dose. All of the treatments will be given by the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Houston Methodist Hospital.

In between the first and second TAA-CTL infusions, and for 6 weeks after the 2nd infusion, the patient should not receive any other anti-cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. If the patient does receive any other therapies in-between the first and second infusion of TAA-CTLs, they will be taken off treatment and will not be able to receive the second infusion.


Before being treated, patients will receive a series of standard medical tests:

  • Physical exam.
  • Blood tests to measure blood cells, kidney and liver function.
  • Measurements of the patient's tumor by routine imaging studies.
  • Pregnancy test if the patient is a female who can have children.


Patients will receive standard medical tests on the day of their second and subsequent

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests to measure blood cells, kidney and liver function.


  • Imaging study 6 weeks after the 2nd TAA-CTL infusion.

To learn more about the way the TAA-CTLs are working in the patient's body, an extra 20-40 mL (4-8 teaspoons) of blood will be taken before each infusion, at Weeks 1, 2, and 4 after the first cell dose and at Weeks 1, 2, 4 and 6 after the second cell dose. Afterwards, blood will be collected at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after the 2nd infusion. Investigators will use this blood to see how long the TAA-CTLs last, and to look at the patient's immune system response to the cancer. The immune system is part of the body that helps protect against disease.

Study Duration: The patient's active participation in this study will last for approximately one (1) year. If the patient receives additional doses of the TAA-CTLs as described above, his/her active participation will last until one (1) year after the last dose. Investigators will then contact the patient once a year for up to 4 additional years (total of 5 years follow-up) in order to evaluate the patient's disease response long-term.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03093350

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Recruitment Status: Open

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