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Clinical scale expansion of cytokine-induced killer cells is feasible from healthy donors and patients with acute and chronic myeloid leukemia at various stages of therapy

Experimental Hematology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.exphem.2011.06.005
  • Medicine


Objective In our clinical studies involving cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells for patients with hematological malignancies, starting cells came from a heterogeneous group of patients and donors. Here we study the feasibility of expansion and analyzed the characteristics of the end product from starting cells derived from different sources and at different disease states. Materials and Methods Seventy-five clinical scale cultures were grown from 28 patients and 20 donors in Good Manufacturing Practices facilities under CIK condition. Results CIK cells could be successfully expanded from healthy donors, patients with acute myeloid leukemia recovering from chemotherapy, untreated patients with acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome with circulating leukemic blasts, and patients with chronic myeloid leukemia on imatinib. Furthermore, CIK cells of donor origin could be expanded from leukapheresis product collected from patients who relapsed post-allogeneic transplantation, thereby offering a useful method of obtaining activated donor cells in patients for whom further donor cells were unavailable. Interestingly, CIK cells cultured from patients with untreated acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome had a significantly higher proportion of CD3 +CD56 + subset and higher fold expansion of CD3 + cells as compared to other groups of patients or healthy donors. Multivariate analysis showed that fresh starting cells expanded better than frozen-thawed cells, while prior exposure to granulocyte colony-stimulating factor or imatinib before harvesting did not adversely affect CIK cell expansion. Conclusions Clinical scale expansion of CIK cells is feasible from both healthy donors and leukemia patients at various stages of treatment. This robust system allows clinical translation using CIK cells as immunotherapy in various clinical settings.

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