Generation of dendritic cell-tumor cell hybrids by electrofusion for clinical vaccine application

Katrina T. Trevor, Cathleen Cover, Yvette W. Ruiz, Emmanuel T. Akporiaye, Evan M. Hersh, Didier Landais, Rachel R. Taylor, Alan D. King, Richard E. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Vaccination with hybrids comprising fused dendritic cells (DCs) and tumor cells is a novel cancer immunotherapy approach designed to combine tumor antigenicity with the antigen-presenting and immunestimulatory capacities of DCs. For clinical purposes, we have incorporated a large-scale process for the generation of clinical-grade DCs together with novel electrofusion technology. The electrofusion system provides for ease and standardization of method, efficient DC-tumor cell hybrid formation, and large-quantity production of hybrids in a high-volume (6-ml) electrofusion chamber. In addition, we have evaluated DC electrofusion with a variety of allogeneic human tumor cell lines with the rationale that these tumor cell partners would prove a ready, suitable source for the generation of DC-tumor cell hybrid vaccines. The DC production process can generate 6×108 to 2×109 DCs from a single leukapheresis product (∼180 ml). As determined by FACS analysis, electrofusion of 6×107 total cells (1:1 ratio of DC and tumor cells) resulted in a consistent average of 8-10% DC-tumor cell hybrids, irrespective of the tumor type used. Hybrids were retained in the population for 48 h postfusion and following freezing and thawing. Upon pre-irradiation of the tumor cell partner for vaccine purposes, the overall fusion efficiency was not altered at doses up to 200 Gy. Evaluation of DC-tumor cell hybrid populations for their ability to stimulate T-cell responses demonstrated that electrofused populations are superior to mixed populations of DCs and tumor cells in generating a primary T-cell response, as indicated by IFN-γ release. Moreover, hybrids comprising HLA-A*0201 DCs and allogeneic melanoma tumor cells (Colo 829 cell line) stimulated IFN-γ secretion by antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, which are restricted for recognition of a melanoma gp100 peptide antigen (gp100209-217) within the context of the DC HLA haplotype. Maturation of the DC-Colo 829 cell hybrid population served to further improve this T-cell gp100-specific response. Overall, our results are promising for the large-scale generation of electrofused hybrids comprising DCs and allogeneic tumor cells, that may prove useful in human vaccine trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-714
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Cancer
  • Dendritic cells
  • Electrofusion
  • Hybrids
  • Immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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