Adoptive tumor therapy with T lymphocytes enriched through an IFN-gamma capture assay


  • C. Becker
  • H. Pohla
  • B. Frankenberger
  • T. Schueler
  • M. Assenmacher
  • D.J. Schendel
  • T. Blankenstein


  • Nature Medicine


  • Nat Med 7 (10): 1159-1162


  • Successful adoptive T-cell therapy has been demonstrated in viral disease and selected forms of cancer. However, it is limited by the difficulty to efficiently isolate and amplify autologous tumor-reactive T-cell clones. Tetramers of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and peptide have facilitated the characterization of CD8 + T cells specific for tumor-associated antigens. However, for adoptive T-cell therapy, MHC-tetramers have limitations: they require knowledge of tumor antigens, which is often not available; they select T cells with a single specificity, thereby posing risk for selection of tumor escape variants; they do not select for function, so that T cells may be anergic when isolated from cancer patients; and they do not allow the isolation of CD4 + T cells that can be essential for tumor rejection. Because interferon (IFN)-{gamma} is essential for tumor rejection, we isolated live T cells based on their IFN-γ production. IFN-{gamma} secreted by previously activated T cells is retained on the cell surface, allowing their specific isolation and expansion. We show here that IFN-{gamma} but not IFN-{gamma} T cells from tumor-immunized mice are cytolytic and mediate tumor rejection upon adoptive transfer. Importantly, tumor-specific T cells can be enriched from lymphocytes infiltrating human renal cell carcinoma by the IFN-{gamma} capture assay.