In experimental models, ex vivo induced T-cell rapamycin resistance occurred independent of T helper 1 (Th1)/T helper 2 (Th2) differentiation and yielded allogeneic CD4+ T cells of increased in vivo efficacy that facilitated engraftment and permitted graft-versus-tumor effects while minimizing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). To translate these findings, we performed a phase 2 multicenter clinical trial of rapamycin-resistant donor CD4+ Th2/Th1 (T-Rapa) cells after allogeneic-matched sibling donor hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for therapy of refractory hematologic malignancy. T-Rapa cell products, which expressed a balanced Th2/Th1 phenotype, were administered as a preemptive donor lymphocyte infusion at day 14 post-HCT. After T-Rapa cell infusion, mixed donor/host chimerism rapidly converted, and there was preferential immune reconstitution with donor CD4+ Th2 and Th1 cells relative to regulatory T cells and CD8+ T cells. The cumulative incidence probability of acute GVHD was 20% and 40% at days 100 and 180 post-HCT, respectively. There was no transplant-related mortality. Eighteen of 40 patients (45%) remain in sustained complete remission (range of follow-up: 42-84months). These results demonstrate the safety of this low-intensity transplant approach and the feasibility of subsequent randomized studies to compare T-Rapa cell-based therapy with standard transplantation regimens. This trial was registered at www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials as #NCT 00077480.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology