Background aims: Despite antiviral drug therapies, human adenovirus (HAdV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections still contribute substantially to transplant-related death of patients after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Earlier clinical studies demonstrated successful adoptive transfer of magnetically selected CMV-specific T cells via removable, and thus Good Manufacturing Practice-compliant, major histocompatibility class I streptamers. Thus, the primary focus of the present study was the selection of HAdV-streptamer+ T cells, although in three experiments, EBV-streptamer+ T cells were also selected. Methods: Cells from leukaphereses of healthy donors were prepared in large (1-6 × 109) and small (25 × 106) cell batches. Whereas the larger batch was directly labeled with streptamers to select HAdV- and/or EBV-specific T cells (large-scale), the smaller batch was used to generate in vitro virus-specific T-cell lines before streptamer labeling for streptamer selection (small-scale). Isolation of HAdV- and/or EBV-specific T cells was performed with the use of the CliniMACS device. Results: The purity of HAdV- and EBV-streptamer+ T cells among CD3+ cells, obtained from large-scale selection, was up to 6.7% and 44%, respectively. If HAdV- and EBV-streptamers were applied simultaneously, the purity of antigen-specific T cells reached up to 50.7%. A further increase in purity reaching up to 98% was achieved by small-scale selection of HAdV-specific T cells. All final products fulfilled the microbiological and chemical release criteria. Interferon-γ-response indicating functional activity was seen in 6 of 9 HAdV and 2 of 3 EBV large-scale selections and in 2 of 3 HAdV small-scale selections. Conclusions: HAdV-streptamers were shown to be clinically feasible for few patients after the large-scale approach but for larger patient numbers if combined with EBV-streptamers or after the small-scale approach.
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