Patient-tailored adoptive immunotherapy with EBV-specific T cells from related and unrelated donors

Agnes Bonifacius, Britta Lamottke, Sabine Tischer-Zimmermann, Rebecca Schultze-Florey, Lilia Goudeva, Hans Gert Heuft, Lubomir Arseniev, Rita Beier, Gernot Beutel, Gunnar Cario, Birgit Fröhlich, Johann Greil, Leo Hansmann, Justin Hasenkamp, Michaela Höfs, Patrick Hundsdoerfer, Edgar Jost, Kinan Kafa, Oliver Kriege, Nicolaus KrögerStephan Mathas, Roland Meisel, Michaela Nathrath, Mervi Putkonen, Sarina Ravens, Hans Christian Reinhardt, Elisa Sala, Martin G. Sauer, Clemens Schmitt, Roland Schroers, Nina Kristin Steckel, Ralf Ulrich Trappe, Mareike Verbeek, Daniel Wolff, Rainer Blasczyk, Britta Eiz-Vesper, Britta Maecker-Kolhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Adoptive transfer of EBV-specific T cells can restore specific immunity in immunocompromised patients with EBV-associated complications. METHODS. We provide results of a personalized T cell manufacturing program evaluating donor, patient, T cell product, and outcome data. Patient-tailored clinical-grade EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (EBV-CTL) products from stem cell donors (SCDs), related third-party donors (TPDs), or unrelated TPDs from the allogeneic T cell donor registry (alloCELL) at Hannover Medical School were manufactured by immunomagnetic selection using a CliniMACS Plus or Prodigy device and the EBV PepTivators EBNA-1 and Select. Consecutive manufacturing processes were evaluated, and patient outcome and side effects were retrieved by retrospective chart analysis. RESULTS. Forty clinical-grade EBV-CTL products from SCDs, related TPDs, or unrelated TPDs were generated for 37 patients with refractory EBV infections or EBV-associated malignancies with and without a history of transplantation, within 5 days (median) after donor identification. Thirty-four patients received 1–14 EBV-CTL products (fresh and cryopreserved). EBV-CTL transfer led to a complete response in 20 of 29 patients who were evaluated for clinical response. No infusion-related toxicity was reported. EBV-specific T cells in patients’ blood were detectable in 16 of 18 monitored patients (89%) after transfer, and their presence correlated with clinical response. CONCLUSION. Personalized clinical-grade manufacture of EBV-CTL products via immunomagnetic selection from SCDs, related TPDs, or unrelated TPDs in a timely manner is feasible. Overall, EBV-CTLs were clinically effective and well tolerated. Our data suggest EBV-CTL transfer as a promising therapeutic approach for immunocompromised patients with refractory EBV-associated diseases beyond HSCT, as well as patients with preexisting organ dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere163548
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


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