Adoptive cell therapy is a potentially curative therapeutic approach for patients with cancer. In this treatment modality, antitumor T cells are exponentially expanded in vitro prior to infusion. Importantly, the results of recent clinical trials suggest that the quality of expanded T cells critically affects their therapeutic efficacy. Although anti-CD3 mAb-based stimulation is widely used to expand T cells in vitro, a protocol to generate T cell grafts for optimal adoptive therapy has yet to be established. In this study, we investigated the differences between T cell stimulation mediated by anti–CD3/CD28 mAb–coated beads and cell-based artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs) expressing CD3/CD28 counter-receptors. We found that transient stimulation with cell-based aAPCs, but not prolonged stimulation with beads, resulted in the superior expansion of CD8+ T cells. Transiently stimulated CD8+ T cells maintained a stem cell–like memory phenotype and were capable of secreting multiple cytokines significantly more efficiently than chronically stimulated T cells. Importantly, the chimeric antigen receptor–engineered antitumor CD8+ T cells expanded via transient stimulation demonstrated superior persistence and antitumor responses in adoptive immunotherapy mouse models. These results suggest that restrained stimulation is critical for generating T cell grafts for optimal adoptive immunotherapy for cancer.
Yuki Kagoya, Munehide Nakatsugawa, Toshiki Ochi, Yuchen Cen, Tingxi Guo, Mark Anczurowski, Kayoko Saso, Marcus O. Butler, Naoto Hirano