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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 238924, 8 pages
Research Article

Improved Activation toward Primary Colorectal Cancer Cells by Antigen-Specific Targeting Autologous Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells

1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Bonn, 53127 Bonn, Germany
2Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne and Department I of Internal Medicine, University of Cologne, 53901 Cologne, Germany
3Center for Integrated Oncology Cologne-Bonn, Germany
4Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Straße 25, 53105 Bonn, Germany

Received 2 September 2011; Revised 3 November 2011; Accepted 17 November 2011

Academic Editor: Ana Lepique

Copyright © 2012 Claudia Schlimper et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adoptive therapy of malignant diseases with cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells showed promise in a number of trials; the activation of CIK cells from cancer patients towards their autologous cancer cells still needs to be improved. Here, we generated CIK cells ex vivo from blood lymphocytes of colorectal cancer patients and engineered those cells with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) with an antibody-defined specificity for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). CIK cells thereby gained a new specificity as defined by the CAR and showed increase in activation towards CEA+ colon carcinoma cells, but less in presence of CEA cells, indicated by increased secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Redirected CIK activation was superior by CAR-mediated CD28-CD3ζ than CD3ζ signaling only. CAR-engineered CIK cells from colon carcinoma patients showed improved activation against their autologous, primary carcinoma cells from biopsies resulting in more efficient tumour cell lysis. We assume that adoptive therapy with CAR-modified CIK cells shows improved selectivity in targeting autologous tumour lesions.