• α vβ 3 integrin;
  • Tumor homing;
  • Lymphocytes;
  • Painting;
  • Glycosylphosphat-idylinositol-anchored proteins


Despite the presence of tumor-specific effector cells in the circulation of cancer patients, the immune response of the majority of these patients is not sufficient to prevent the growth and spread of their tumors. That tumor cells can be killed in vitro by tumor-reactive cytotoxic T cells is testimony to the fact that the tumors are not inherently resistant to T cell killing, but rather that there is a failure in immune recognition and effector cell activation. Many reasons for this failure of the body's defense system have been suggested, including the inability of tumor-reactive lymphocytes to migrate to tumor tissue. Here we designed a strategy to improve homing of primary lymphocytes into vascularized tumors. As a homing molecule we selected the integrin α vβ 3 since it is expressed by angiogenic vascular endothelium in tumors. To promote lymphocyte adhesion to α vβ 3 we "painted" primary lymphocytes with a recombinant, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked high-affinity ligand for α vβ 3. These painted lymphocytes specifically bound to α vβ 3 in vitro and homed to vascularized, solid tumors in vivo. This novel strategy may provide a significant advance in anti-tumor treatment such as adoptive immune therapy.