Cord blood CD8+ T-cell expansion following granulocyte transfusions eradicates refractory leukemia

Blood Advances
Prashant HiwarkarRobert Wynn


The action of hematopoietic cell transplantation in controlling leukemia is principally mediated by donor T cells directed against residual recipient malignant cells. However, its utility is limited by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), where alloreactivity is extended beyond leukemic and marrow cells. In a human/murine chimeric model, we previously showed that the preferential infiltration of cord blood (CB) CD8+ T cells eradicates an Epstein-Barr virus-driven lymphoblastoid tumor without causing xenogeneic GVHD. In the clinic, however, cord blood CD8+ T-cell reconstitution is significantly delayed, and the observation of such a robust antileukemia effect mediated by cord blood CD8+ T cells has not been reported. We describe an observation of very early T-cell expansion in 4 high-risk pediatric leukemia patients receiving third-party, pooled granulocytes after T cell-replete CB transplantation (CBT). The T-cell expansion was transient but robust, including expansion of CD8+ T cells, in contrast to the delayed CD8+ T-cell expansion ordinarily observed after T cell-replete CBT. The CD8+ T cells were polyclonal, rapidly switched to memory phenotype, and had the ability to mediate cytotoxicity. This phenomenon is reproducible, and ...Continue Reading


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