Manufacturing of CD19 Specific CAR T-Cells and Evaluation of their Functional Activity in Vitro

AV Petukhov1, VA Markova2, DV Motorin1, AK Titov1, NS Belozerova2, PM Gershovich2, AV Karabel’skii2, RA Ivanov2, EK Zaikova1, EYu Smirnov2, PA Butylin1, AYu Zaritskey1

1 VA Almazov National Medical Research Center, 2 Akkuratova str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197341

2 Biocad Biotechnology Company, 34-A Svyazi str., Strel’na, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 198515

For correspondence: Andrei Yur’evich Zaritskey, MD PhD, 2 Akkuratova str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197341; Tel.: +7(812)702-68-28, Fax: +7(812)702-37-65; e-mail:

For citation: Petukhov AV, Markova VA, Motorin DV, et al. Manufacturing of CD19 Specific CAR T-Cells and Evaluation of their Functional Activity in Vitro. Clinical oncohematology. 2018;11(1):1–9.

DOI: 10.21320/2500-2139-2018-11-1-1-9


Background. The most promising variant of adoptive immunotherapy of the B-line oncohematological diseases includes the use of cells with the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR T-cells), that showed extraordinary results in clinical studies.

Aim. To manufacture CAR T-cells for the clinical use and to study their cytotoxicity in vitro.

Methods. Human T-lymphocytes were transduced by the lentiviral vector containing anti-CD19-CAR, RIAD, and GFP genes. The T-cell transduction efficacy was assessed on the basis of GFP protein signal by flow cytometry. Propidium iodide was used to analyse the cell viability. Cytotoxic activity of the manufactured CAR T-cells was studied in the presence of the target cells being directly co-cultivated. Analysis of the number and viability of CAR T-cells and cytokine expression was performed by flow cytometry.

Results. The viability of the transduced T-cells and GFP expression reached 91.87 % and 50.87 % respectively. When cultured in the presence of IL-2 and recombinant CD19 (the target antigen), the amount of CAR-T after 120 h of the process was 1.4 times larger compared with the period of 48 h. In the cytotoxic test of co-cultivation CAR-T with the K562-CD19+ cells the percentage of CAR-T increased to 57 % and 84.5 % after 48 h and 120 h of exposure respectively. When cultured with the K562 cells (test line not expressing CD19) the number of CAR T-cells decreased to 36.2 % within 48 h while the number of K562 cells increased to 58.3 %. The viability of target cells in the experimental and control groups was 3.5 % and 36.74 % respectively. Comparison of IL-6 level in the control and experimental groups revealed that the differences are insignificant, as opposed to the level of other cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-2, TNF) which proved to be different in both groups.

Conclusion. The present work resulted in the production of anti-CD19 CAR T-cells with adequate viability. The in vitro model demonstrated their cytotoxicity. Manufacturing of CAR T-cells for clinical use is the first step of the development of adoptive immunotherapy in the Russian Federation.

Keywords: CAR T-cells, adoptive immunotherapy, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, lentiviral transduction, graft-versus-host reaction, сytokine release syndrome.

Received: September 15, 2017

Accepted: December 7, 2017

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