Research Summary: Engineered Drug Resistant γδ T Cells Kill Glioblastoma Cell Lines during a Chemotherapy Challenge: A Strategy for Combining Chemo- and Immunotherapy


Classical approaches to immunotherapy that show promise in some malignancies have generally been disappointing when applied to high-grade brain tumors such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). We recently showed that ex vivo expanded/activated γδ T cells recognize NKG2D ligands expressed on malignant glioma and are cytotoxic to glioma cell lines and primary GBM explants. In addition, γδ T cells extend survival and slow tumor progression when administered to immunodeficient mice with intracranial human glioma xenografts. We now show that temozolomide (TMZ), a principal chemotherapeutic agent used to treat GBM, increases the expression of stress-associated NKG2D ligands on TMZ-resistant glioma cells, potentially rendering them vulnerable to γδ T cell recognition and lysis. TMZ is also highly toxic to γδ T cells, however, and to overcome this cytotoxic effect γδ T cells were genetically modified using a lentiviral vector encoding the DNA repair enzyme O(6)-alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) from the O(6)-methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) cDNA, which confers resistance to TMZ. Genetic modification of γδ T cells did not alter their phenotype or their cytotoxicity against GBM target cells. Importantly, gene modified γδ T cells showed greater cytotoxicity to two TMZ resistant GBM cell lines, U373TMZ-R and SNB-19TMZ-R cells, in the presence of TMZ than unmodified cells, suggesting that TMZ exposed more receptors for γδ T cell-targeted lysis. Therefore, TMZ resistant γδ T cells can be generated without impairing their anti-tumor functions in the presence of high concentrations of TMZ. These results provide a mechanistic basis for combining chemotherapy and γδ T cell-based drug resistant cellular immunotherapy to treat GBM.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 11-January-2013

Author(s): Lamb L., Bowersock J., Dasgupta A., Gillespie G., Su Y., Johnson A., Spencer H.


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