Long-term in vitro expansion ensures increased yield of central memory T cells as perspective for manufacturing challenges


  • S. Herda
  • A. Heimann
  • B. Obermayer
  • E. Ciraolo
  • S. Althoff
  • J. Ruß
  • C. Grunert
  • A. Busse
  • L. Bullinger
  • A. Pezzutto
  • T. Blankenstein
  • D. Beule
  • I.K. Na


  • International Journal of Cancer


  • Int J Cancer 148 (12): 3097-3110


  • Adoptive T cell therapy (ATT) has revolutionized the treatment of cancer patients. A sufficient number of functional T cells is indispensable for ATT efficacy; however, several ATT dropouts have been reported due to T cell expansion failure or lack of T cell persistence in vivo. With the aim of providing ATT also to those patients experiencing insufficient T cell manufacturing via standard protocol, we evaluated if minimally manipulative prolongation of in vitro expansion (long-term (LT) >3 weeks with IL-7 and IL-15 cytokines) could result in enhanced T cell yield with preserved T cell functionality. The extended expansion resulted in a 39-fold increase of murine CD8(+) T central memory cells (Tcm). LT expanded CD8(+) and CD4(+) Tcm cells retained a gene expression profile related to Tcm and T memory stem cells (Tscm). In vivo transfer of LT expanded Tcm revealed persistence and anti-tumor capacity. We confirmed our in vitro findings on human T cells, on healthy donors and diffuse large B cell lymphoma patients, undergoing salvage therapy. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of an extended T cell expansion as a practicable alternative for patients with insufficient numbers of T cells after the standard manufacturing process thereby increasing ATT accessibility.