Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 138  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 796-807

Cellular immune therapy for viral infections in transplant patients

QIMR Centre for Immunotherapy and Vaccine Development and Department of Immunology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane (Qld), Australia

Correspondence Address:
Rajiv Khanna
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Department of Immunology, 300 Herston Rd, Brisbane, 4006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 24434332

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Stem cell and organ transplantation are considered as the major advances of modern medicine. Unfortunately the success of transplantation is limited by its toxicity and infectious complications as a result of profound immunosuppression. Viral infections are an extremely common and predictable problem in these patients. Antiviral drugs given either prophylactically or as early therapy for patients with detectable viral loads appear to be an effective strategy for reducing viral infections. However, long-term treatment with these drugs is associated with significant toxicity, expense and the appearance of drug resistant virus isolates ultimately resulting in treatment failure. Over the last few years, there is increasing evidence that cellular immune therapies can reverse the outgrowth of haematological malignancies and can also provide therapeutic benefit against lethal viral infections. While the expansion and adoptive transfer of virus-specific T-cells from the healthy donor can be an effective strategy to control viral replication, this is not possible when donors are seronegative or are subsequently inaccessible. Recent studies have demonstrated successful expansion of virus-specific T-cells from seropositive stem cell transplant recipients of a seronegative graft with active virus disease and the long term reconstitution of protective anti-viral immunity following their adoptive transfer back into the patients. Furthermore, this immunotherapeutic strategy has also been extended for multiple pathogens including cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, adenovirus and BK polyoma-virus. This approach can be employed to rapidly expand multiple pathogens-specific T cells that can be used for adoptive immunotherapy. Finally, new assays to monitor T cell immunity have been developed which will allow to identify the high risk transplant patients who may develop virus-associated complications post-transplantation and can be given adoptive T cell therapy prophylactically.

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