Human papilloma virus–specific T cells can be generated from naïve T cells for use as an immunotherapeutic strategy for immunocompromised patients

Sarah E. McCormack, Conrad Russell Y. Cruz, Kaylor E. Wright, Allison B. Powell, Haili Lang, Cornelia Trimble, Michael D. Keller, Ephraim Fuchs, Catherine M. Bollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a known cause of cervical cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and laryngeal cancer. Although treatments exist for HPV-associated malignancies, patients unresponsive to these therapies have a poor prognosis. Recent findings from vaccine studies suggest that T-cell immunity is essential for disease control. Because Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-specific T cells have been highly successful in treating or preventing EBV-associated tumors, we hypothesized that the development of a manufacturing platform for HPV-specific T cells from healthy donors could be used in a third-party setting to treat patients with high-risk/relapsed HPV-associated cancers. Most protocols for generating virus-specific T cells require prior exposure of the donor to the targeted virus and, because the seroprevalence of high-risk HPV types varies greatly by age and ethnicity, manufacturing of donor-derived HPV-specific T cells has proven challenging. We, therefore, made systematic changes to our current Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant protocols to improve antigen presentation, priming and expansion for the manufacture of high-efficacy HPV-specific T cells. Like others, we found that current methodologies fail to expand HPV-specific T cells from most healthy donors. By optimizing dendritic cell maturation and function with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon (IFN)γ adding interleukin (IL)-21 during priming and depleting memory T cells, we achieved reliable expansion of T cells specific for oncoproteins E6 and E7 to clinically relevant amounts (mean, 578-fold expansion; n = 10), which were polyfunctional based on cytokine multiplex analysis. In the third-party setting, such HPV-specific T-cell products might serve as a potent salvage therapy for patients with HPV-associated diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • T cell
  • cervical cancer
  • human papilloma virus
  • immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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