presentation_1_Culture-Expanded Human Invariant Natural Killer T Cells Suppress T-Cell Alloreactivity and Eradicate Leukemia.pdf

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of significant morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are potent regulators of immune responses, protect from lethal GVHD, and promote graft-versus-leukemia effects in murine studies. Since iNKT cells constitute less than 0.5% of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), in vitro expansion with their glycolipid ligands is required before they can be used for cytotherapy and experimental purposes. Three weeks of cell culture and autologous restimulation with either KRN7000, PBS44, or PBS57 resulted in a robust proliferation of iNKT cells from human PBMCs. Next, iNKT cells were sorted to a purity higher than 90% being crucial for further experimental and clinical applications. These iNKT cells significantly decreased activation and proliferation of allogeneic CD3+ T lymphocytes. In addition, leukemia cell lines and primary leukemia cells were efficiently lysed by culture-expanded iNKT cells. Importantly, culture-expanded donor iNKT cells promoted robust antileukemia activity against HLA-matched allogeneic patient leukemia cells. Our data indicate that the adoptive transfer of culture-expanded iNKT cells could be a powerful cytotherapeutic approach to induce immune tolerance and prevent leukemia relapse after allogeneic HCT in humans.