Development of a clinical-scale method for generation of dendritic cells from PBMC for use in cancer immunotherapy

E. C.C. Wong, V. E. Maher, K. Hines, J. Lee, C. S. Carter, T. Goletz, W. Kopp, C. L. Mackall, J. A. Berzofsky, E. J. Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is growing interest in the use of dendritic cells (DCs) for treatment of malignancy and infectious disease. Our goal was to develop a clinical-scale method to prepare autologous DCs for cancer clinical trials. Methods: PBMC were collected from normal donors or cancer patients by automated leukapheresis, purified by counterflow centrifugal elutriation and placed into culture in polystyrene flasks at 1 × 106 cells/mL for 5-7 days at 37°C, with 5% CO2, with IL-4 and GM-CSF. Conditions investigated included media formulation, supplementation with heat-inactivated allogeneic AB serum or autologous plasma and time to harvest (Day 5 or Day 7). DCs were evaluated for morphology, quantitative yield, viability, phenotype and function, including mixed leukocyte response and recall response to tetanus toxoid and influenza virus. Results: DCs with a typical immature phenotype (CD14-negative, CD1a-positive, mannose receptor-positive, CD80-positive, CD83-negative) were generated most consistently in RPMI 1640 supplemented with 10% allogeneic AB serum or 10% autologous plasma. Cell yield was higher at Day 5 than Day 7, without detectable differences in phenotype or function. In pediatric sarcoma patients, autologous DCs had enhanced function compared with monocytes from which they were generated. In this patient group, starting with 8.0± 3.7× 108 fresh or cryopreserved autologous monocytes, DC yield was 2.1±1.0 × 108 cells, or 29% of the starting monocyte number. Discussion: In the optimized clinical-scale method, purified peripheral monocytes are cultured for 5 days in flasks at 1 × 106 cells/mL in RPMI 1640, 10% allogeneic AB serum or autologous plasma, IL-4 and GM-CSF. This method avoids the use of FBS and results in immature DCs suitable for clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendritic cells (DCs)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Peripheral blood monocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Cancer Research


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