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255 Early Administration of Partially HLA Matched Third Party Virus-Specific T-Cells in Conjunction with Antiviral Treatment for Initial Viral Infection after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Is Safe and Leads to High Rates of Viral Control

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Type: Oral
Session: 704. Cellular Immunotherapies: Cellular Therapies-Immune Interactions, Lineage Switching and CNS targets
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Clinical Trials, Viral, Biological, Adults, Clinical Research, Diseases, Infectious Diseases, Therapies, Immunotherapy, Study Population
Saturday, December 11, 2021: 2:30 PM

Wei Jiang, MBBS, BSc, BA1*, Gaurav Sutrave, BSc (Med), MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA1,2*, Selmir Avdic, PhD1*, Leighton Edward Clancy, BSc, PhD3*, Shafqat Inam, MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA2*, Elissa Atkins, RN2*, Caroline M Bateman, MBBS FRACP FRCPath MRCP PhD4, Adrian Gabriel Selim, MBBS5*, Vicki Antonenas, BSc3*, Janine Street, BSc MSc (Hons)1*, Renee Simms, BSc1*, Peter J. Shaw, MA, FRACP6, David Ritchie, MB ChB, PhD, FRACP, FRCPA5, Emily Blyth, B. Med(Hons), FRACP, FRCPA, PhD1,2* and David J Gottlieb, MD, MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA7,8*

1Westmead Institute for Medical Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
2Department of Haematology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW, Australia
3Westmead Hospital, Sydney Cellular Therapies Laboratory, Sydney, Australia
4Westmead Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
5Haematology Department, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
6The Children's Hospital at Westmead, The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, Westmead, Australia
7Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
8Department of Haematology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia


Reactivation of viruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) or Epstein Barr virus (EBV) after allogeneic hemopoietic stem cell transplant (aHSCT) is associated with increased non relapse mortality and a requirement for antivirals with mainly hemopoietic and renal toxicities that can further compromise transplant outcomes and increase health care costs. The use of 3rd party virus specific T cells (VSTs) has been effective in treating recurrent and refractory viral reactivation after transplant and leads to rapid restoration of viral immunity. We investigated whether early administration of 3rd party VSTs together with antiviral therapy could safely enhance immune recovery and improve viral control in patients requiring treatment for their initial CMV and EBV infection after aHSCT.


We performed a single arm phase 1 clinical trial in which aHSCT patients requiring treatment for their first CMV or EBV reactivation (or EBV driven malignancy) received infusions of partially HLA matched 3rd party VSTs within 7 days of commencing standard antiviral treatment. Patients were required to have a viral copy number of at least 1,000 copies/mL for CMV, 10,000 copies/mL of blood for EBV, or proven tissue infection irrespective of copy number for treatment initiation. T cell products were expanded from G-CSF stimulated aphereses from normal donors following peptide stimulation and CD137 magnetic bead selection. T cells were cultured for up to 12 days before specificity testing and cryopreservation. Patients were eligible to receive up to 4 doses of VSTs at 4 week intervals with products selected with a minimum of 1 of 6 HLA matches at HLA-A, -B and -DRB1 with antiviral activity demonstrated through the shared HLA molecule. The primary endpoint of the study was infusion safety.


Thirty aHSCT patients were treated with 1-4 VST infusions (27 CMV, 3 EBV) commencing at a median of 4 days after initiation of antiviral treatment. 27 patients were transplanted for hematological malignancies, 3 for immune deficiencies. Conditioning was myeloablative in 12 patients and the majority of patients (22/30) received in vivo T cell depletion. 7/27 CMV seropositive recipients were transplanted from CMV seronegative donors. A total of 41 infusions were given, most frequently targeting antigens presented through shared HLA molecules A2 and/or B7. All infusions were administered at a cell dose of 2 x 107/m2. VST products were CD3+ (median 97.9%, range 96.2 – 99.4%), with median percentage of CD3+CD8+ 85.8% (range 23.2 – 95.5%). There was one infusion related adverse event consisting of fever that resolved rapidly after admission and antibiotics. Overall viral response rate was 100% with a complete response rate of 94% (Figure 1). Of the 28 patients who achieved a CR (after either 1 or 2 infusions), 22 remained virus PCR negative (n = 8) or below the limit of quantitation (n = 14) for the duration of follow up. 3 patients had brief episodes of quantifiable reactivation not requiring additional therapy and 3 patients required a second infusion following initial CR. All remained PCR negative after their 2nd CR. All 3 patients treated for EBV PTLD achieved sustained CR. Overall rates of acute and chronic GVHD post-infusion were 33% (10/30) and 20% (6/30) respectively (grade IIII/IV aGVHD 10%, severe cGVHD 7%). VST infusion was associated with a reduction in activation and inhibitory marker expression on CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes within the first 30 days and recovery of CD8+ (and more slowly CD4+) CD45RA-CD62L- effector memory cells. Within the first 100 days after infusion there was an increase in interferon-γ responsiveness of blood lymphocytes. CMV and EBV specific tetramer positive T cells were detected comprising up to 13% of CD8+ cells for up to 6 months post infusion. At 1 year post transplant, non relapse mortality was 10%, cumulative incidence of relapse was 7% and overall survival was 87%.


The combination of traditional antiviral treatment and early administration of 3rd party VSTs is safe and achieves high rates of viral control without evidence of increased acute or chronic GVHD and with evidence of enhanced immune responses to viral antigens. 1 year overall survival was high with low rates of non relapse mortality and relapse. These encouraging results require confirmation in a prospective randomized study comparing best available therapy with best available therapy combined with early VST administration.

Disclosures: Ritchie: Novartis: Honoraria; BMS: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; CRISPR Therapeutics: Research Funding; Amgen Inc: Honoraria, Research Funding; CSL: Honoraria.

*signifies non-member of ASH