Further characterization of HHV-6B immune response leads to development of virus-specific immunotherapy

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Further characterization of HHV-6B immune response leads to development of virus-specific immunotherapy

A group from Baylor College of Medicine has further characterized the clinical HHV-6B immune response observed in HSCT patients, and is using this new information to develop an enhanced adoptive T cell immunotherapy specific to HHV-6. The group has previously published on the immunotherapy technique for limiting the effects of EBV as well as a set of eleven viruses known to cause complications following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and their new work—published in Blood November 2012—takes aim at HHV-6 in particular.

The present study characterizes the cellular immune response to five separate HHV-6B antigens predicted to be immunogenic. Four of the five (U90, U14, U54, and U11) were recognized by all 20 of screened donors. T cells developed against these antigens were able to effectively kill HHV-6B virus-infected targets. In addition, the group has identified three new CD8+ T Cell epitopes, the first described for HHV-6.

Adoptive T-cell immunotherapy offers many advantages over conventional antiviral treatment options, because there is no toxicity and it can be used for patients infected with strains that are resistant to commonly used antivirals. This approach has been used to effectively limit the effects of adenovirus, CMV, and EBV in the clinical setting, and has been shown to treat and prevent EBV related post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) in several studies by the same group (Bollard 2012).

For more information, read the full paper, Immunotherapeutic strategies to prevent and treat human herpes virus (HHV) 6 reactivation post allogeneic stem cell transplant.”