Cytotoxic T cells are typically expanded ex vivo for adoptive immunotherapy by culture with IL-2. This culture period leads to a differentiated phenotype and acquisition of effector function, as well as a loss of in vivo proliferative capability and anti-tumor efficacy. Here, we report antigen-specific and polyclonal expansion of cytotoxic T cells in a cocktail of cytokines and small molecules that leads to a memory-like phenotype in mouse and human cells even during extended culture, leading to enhanced in vivo expansion and tumor control in mice.
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