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Background

Virus-specific CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes from HLA-matched donors are effective for treatment and prophylaxis of viral infections in immune-compromised recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Adoptive immune reconstitution is based on selection of specific T cells or on generation of specific T-cell lines from the graft donor. Unfortunately, the graft donor is not always immune to the relevant pathogen or the graft donor may not be available (registry-derived or cord blood donors).

Study Design and Methods

Since the possibility of using T cells from a third-party subject is now established, we screened potential donors for T-cell responses against cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and adenovirus, the viruses most frequently targeted by adoptive immune reconstitution. Specific T-cell responses against viral antigens were analyzed in 111 donors using a miniaturized interferon-γ release assay.

Results

Responders to CMV were 64%, to EBV 40%, and to adenovirus 51%. Simultaneous responders to the three viruses were 49%. CMV-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell lines could be generated from 11 of 12 donors defined as positive responders according to the T-cell assay.

Conclusions

These data demonstrate that a large fraction of volunteers can be recruited in a donor registry for selection or expansion of virus specific T cells and that our T-cell assay predicts the donors' ability to give rise to established T-cell lines endowed with proliferative potential and effector function for adoptive immune reconstitution.