Establishment and large-scale expansion of minimally cultured young tumor infiltrating lymphocytes for adoptive transfer therapy

Orit Itzhaki, Einat Hovav, Yaara Ziporen, Daphna Levy, Adva Kubi, Dragoslav Zikich, Liat Hershkovitz, Avraham J. Treves, Bruria Shalmon, Douglas Zippel, Gal Markel, Ronnie Shapira-Frommer, Jacob Schachter, Michal J. Besser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Treatment of metastatic melanoma patients with adoptively transferred tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) has developed into an effective therapy. Various studies reported objective responses of 50% and more. The use of unselected, minimally cultured, bulk TIL (Young-TIL) has simplified the TIL production process and may therefore, allow the accessibility of this approach to cancer centers worldwide. This article describes the precise process leading to the large-scale production of Young-TIL for therapy. We have enrolled 55 melanoma patients and optimized their Young-TIL generation process. Young-TIL cultures were successfully established for 51 of 55 (93%) patients in 16.7±5.5 days. In a large-scale expansion procedure Young-TIL of 32 patients were further expanded to treatment levels, resulting in a final number of 4.5×10 ±2.0×10 TIL. Fifteen of 31 (48%) patients, who were evaluated, achieved a clinical response, including 4 complete and 11 partial responses. We confirmed the significant correlation between short culture duration, high number of infused cells, and tumor regression. A high percentage of CD8 T cells in the infusion product was beneficial to achieve an objective response. All responding patients were treated with Young-TIL cultures established in <20 days. In summary, we describe here an efficient and reliable method to generate Young-TIL for adoptive transfer therapy, which may easily be adopted by other cancer centers and can lead to objective responses in 50% of refractory melanoma patients. In the future this approach may be used also in other types of malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-220
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • adoptive cell transfer
  • metastatic melanoma
  • short-term culture
  • tumor infiltration lymphocyte


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