WO2005032618A1 - Blood pack for leukocyte banking - Google Patents

Blood pack for leukocyte banking Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2005032618A1
WO2005032618A1 PCT/GB2004/004128 GB2004004128W WO2005032618A1 WO 2005032618 A1 WO2005032618 A1 WO 2005032618A1 GB 2004004128 W GB2004004128 W GB 2004004128W WO 2005032618 A1 WO2005032618 A1 WO 2005032618A1
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Prior art keywords
process
leukocyte
blood
bag
pack
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PCT/GB2004/004128
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French (fr)
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William Arthur Spiers
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Lifeforce Group Plc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M1/00Suction or pumping devices for medical purposes; Devices for carrying-off, for treatment of, or for carrying-over, body-liquids; Drainage systems
    • A61M1/02Blood transfusion apparatus
    • A61M1/0209Multiple bag systems for separating or storing blood components
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K35/00Medicinal preparations containing materials or reaction products thereof with undetermined constitution
    • A61K35/12Materials from mammals; Compositions comprising non-specified tissues or cells; Compositions comprising non-embryonic stem cells; Genetically modified cells
    • A61K35/14Blood; Artificial blood
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K35/00Medicinal preparations containing materials or reaction products thereof with undetermined constitution
    • A61K35/12Materials from mammals; Compositions comprising non-specified tissues or cells; Compositions comprising non-embryonic stem cells; Genetically modified cells
    • A61K35/14Blood; Artificial blood
    • A61K35/15Cells of the myeloid line, e.g. granulocytes, basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, leucocytes, monocytes, macrophages or mast cells; Myeloid precursor cells; Antigen-presenting cells, e.g. dendritic cells
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M1/00Suction or pumping devices for medical purposes; Devices for carrying-off, for treatment of, or for carrying-over, body-liquids; Drainage systems
    • A61M1/02Blood transfusion apparatus
    • A61M1/0272Apparatus for treatment of blood or blood constituents prior to or for conservation, e.g. freezing, drying or centrifuging
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2202/00Special media to be introduced, removed or treated
    • A61M2202/04Liquids
    • A61M2202/0413Blood
    • A61M2202/0439White blood cells; Leucocytes

Abstract

A closed (or functionally closed) blood press pack comprising: a compressible bag for containing a blood sample during centrifugation; two or more leukocyte holding vessels in fluid communication with the compressible bag and disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press two or more discrete aliquots of a buffy coat layer are expressed into each of the two or more holding vessels.

Description

BLOOD PACK FOR LEUKOCYTE BANKING

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a novel type of blood press pack, to processes for producing leukocyte cell banks using the pack and to various forms of therapy based thereon.

Background to the Invention

Blood processing

It is known that whole blood can be readily separated into three discrete components by centrifugation. Centrifugation (e.g. at about 3900 rpm) partitions the various components of the whole blood into three distinct layers: a blood plasma layer (of relatively low density), and red blood cell layer (of relatively high density) and a layer of intermediate density consisting predominantly of leukocytes and thrombocytes (platelets). This latter layer normally appears at the interface between an upper plasma and lower red blood cell layer after centrifugal separation, and is known as the buffy coat.

Such separation is presently carried out, for example on donated blood, in order that plasma, red cells and thrombocytes can be processed separately. This reflects the distinct storage regimens and potential therapeutic applications appropriate to each fraction. For example, the concentrated red blood cell fraction is usually stored chilled for up to 35 days, and can be used for treating anaemic patients, victims of trauma and patients undergoing surgery. The plasma is generally frozen below -30°C for up to one year, and can be used to reverse anticoagulant treatment and as a component in massive transfusions. The thrombocytes, stored at 20°C and continually agitated to prevent clotting, can be used to prevent bleeding in leukaemic patients or those undergoing chemotherapy or massive blood transfusions.

The leukocytes present in the buffy coat fraction are usually regarded as an unwanted contaminant, since they can induce profound and possibly dangerous immunological changes if transfused inappropriately. For this reason, steps are usually taken to limit the collection of these cells during blood sampling (e.g. by the use of inline filters during blood donation).

While the centrifugation of whole blood can be done in rigid vessels, it is most efficiently carried out on the flexible bags in which the blood is most conveniently collected. Such bags are usually fitted with flexible tubes opening into the upper and/or lower ends of the bags and are designed to fit into specially adapted centrifuge rotors, where they can withstand the forces necessary to effect separation of the blood in situ.

Such bags are known to those skilled in the art as 6/oocf (press) packs, and a wide range of different types are now commercially available (e.g. from Baxter Healthcare Ltd.).

Once separated in the blood pack, various types of apparatus have been devised for pressing the flexible walls of the blood pack in order to controllably express one or more of the separated blood fractions for further processing. Such apparatus, known to those skilled in the art as a blood (pack or bag) press, usually features one or more vertical press plates between which the bag can be introduced and which act to drive the different layers successively out of the pack when one plate is advanced towards the other. This usually results in the plasma layer being expressed first, followed by the buffy-coat. The red blood cell fraction can then be expressed last, or retained as a residual fraction in the pack.

Alternatively, the bag press can be designed to express the plasma and red blood cell layers from opposite ends of the pack simultaneously, leaving the buffy coat as a residual fraction. Examples of such bag presses are described in US 4350585, US 5874208 and US 4663032. A wide variety are commercially available, for example the Optipress® II from Baxter Healthcare Ltd.

Cell banks

Cell banking is a service industry in which live cells are stored for later use. It has been practised for decades, and is exemplified by the storage of bovine sperm cells for the artificial insemination of cows.

With the technical advances that are being made in bio-medical research and tissue engineering, it is being recognized that many possibilities may exist for the use of human stem cells for various replacement therapies. These developments have led to a growing demand for facilities where stem cells of individuals can be isolated, cryo-preserved, and stored for later (autologous) use. For example, the desirability of storing the cord blood stem cells of newborns is becoming increasingly recognized and as a result there is a rapidly increasing number of deposits of such stem cells in private cell banks.

With this growth in interest in cell and tissue banking has come an increasing awareness of the practical problems. It has become clear that cell banks intended to provide a long-term cellular resource are vulnerable to random events that lead to loss of viability of some or all of the deposits and that the risks associated with such events increase with the size of the bank and with the duration of storage. Deposit integrity is also crucially important: the way in which the deposits are prepared, stored, handled and used may crucially determine the integrity of the bank: this is particularly important when cross-contamination of deposits can lead to the spread of disease or to inappropriate or dangerous physiological consequences (such as may arise from the administration of allogenous cellular material when autologous grafting is indicated). With large banks, information storage, processing and deposit cataloguing are also extremely important.

Such issues have lead to a growing number of statutory provisions and codes of practice governing the production, maintenance and use of cell banks in most countries: in the United Kingdom, cell banking is now controlled by a comprehensive regulatory framework.

Contingent autologous transplantation (CAT) therapy

A form of therapy has recently been described (see WO 00/29551 and WO 01/88099) in which various tissues (including leukocytes) are removed from a healthy donor and stored in a tissue or cell bank for later autologous transplantation in the event that a need for such autotransplantation arises at some future date. This form of therapy is herein referred to as contingent autologous transplantation (CAT) therapy.

For any given tissue or cell type, the need for CAT therapy is likely to arise in only a fraction of the healthy population. As a result, the effectiveness of CAT therapy depends crucially on the generation of comprehensive cell and tissue banks in which deposits from a large percentage of the population are included.

Accordingly, it has been proposed that CAT therapy be facilitated by the construction of comprehensive tissue banks. However, the nature of CAT therapy places unique and stringent demands on any such tissue bank. In particular, CAT therapy implies a large number of participating donors (and consequently a large number of deposits), relatively long-term storage, good retention of tissue function over time and great flexibility in ultimate therapeutic use.

Such problems are particularly acute in the case of leukocyte cell banks, where the absolute number of cells available is relatively small, the ultimate therapeutic efficacy may depend critically on the function of a small subset of cells and the activity profile of the stored leukocytes may change over time as the various subsets of cells respond to storage in different ways. To date, no leukocyte cell banks suitable for CAT have been constructed.

The present inventors have now recognized that contingent autologous transplantation of leukocytes requires specific combinations of blood processing techniques and cell bank construction in order to meet fulfil the unique demands imposed on a leukocyte cell bank by CAT therapy, which include inter alia the need for reliable matching of autologous material, exceptionally robust long-term storage, retention of leukocyte functionality and flexibility in ultimate therapeutic potential.

In particular, the present inventors have found that specially-adapted blood packs are necessary if blood is to be processed by batch centrifugation and bag pressing in order to fulfil the unique demands made on a leukocyte bank intended to support CAT therapy. Summary of the Invention

The present invention is based, at least in part, on the discovery that blood samples collected and batch processed in the usual way from a donor can provide a convenient source of leukocytes for banking if a particular, novel type of blood press pack is used.

Thus, in a first aspect the invention provides a closed (or functionally closed) blood press pack comprising:

(a) a compressible bag for containing a blood sample during centrifugation; (b) two or more leukocyte holding vessels in fluid communication with the compressible bag and disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press two or more discrete aliquots of a buffy coat layer are expressed into each of the two or more holding vessels. As used herein, the term closed, in the context of the packs of the invention, is used to define blood packs consisting of elements which are sterile and isolated from the outside environment by aseptic barrier(s) and in which all components are fully integral, being attached and/or assembled at the manufacturing site.

As used herein the term functionally closed, in the context of the packs of the invention, is used to define blood packs consisting of elements (e.g. tubing sets) which are assembled at the device manufacturing site and which use sterile barrier filters (e.g. 0.22 micron filters) or so-called "docking systems" for the sterile interconnection by the end user to generate a wide variety of arrays of tubing, channels, filters, satellite bags and other vessels.

Preferably, each of the two or more leukocyte holding vessels is in fluid communication with a leukocyte storage vessel, which storage vessel contains, or is in fluid communication with, a cryopreservation medium.

In preferred embodiments, the cryopreservation medium is simply present in liquid form within the storage vessel. In such embodiments, the cryopreservation medium may be isolated from the holding vessel(s) by any convenient means, for example by: (a) a valve; (b) a breakable seal, (c) gravity in conjunction with the spatial arrangement of the holding and storage vessels; and/or (d) surface tension within a tube connecting the holding and storage vessels.

In other embodiments, the cryopreservation medium is in fluid communication with the storage vessel but not contained therein, for example being held in a satellite cryogenic medium vessel. In such embodiments, the satellite cryogenic medium vessel may be reversibly isolated from the storage vessel by any convenient means, for example by: (a) a valve; (b) a breakable seal, (c) gravity in conjunction with the spatial arrangement of the satellite and storage vessels; and/or (d) surface tension within a tube connecting the satellite and storage vessels.

Preferably, the leukocyte storage vessels are double containment storage vessels. The term double containment, as used herein in relation to the storage vessels of the invention, is a term of art defining a container having at least two barriers: a proximal barrier, in contact with the separated leukocytes, which contains the leukocyte sample and isolates it from the outside environment, and a secondary barrier which acts as a fail-safe to isolate the leukocyte sample from the outside environment in circumstances where the proximal barrier fails (for example after accidental physical or chemical trauma).

In embodiments where separate holding and storage vessels are provided, the holding vessel serves to hold the leukocytes during the isolation and collection steps (which may take several minutes or even hours to complete) and permits stringent control over the mixing and preserving steps. In particular, the use of a separate holding vessel permits control over the incubation time and concentration of the leukocytes in the cryogenic preservation medium prior to freezing.

The present inventors have found that this precaution significantly improves the retention of leukocyte functionality after subsequent cryogenic preservation and revitalization and helps create a reliable leukocyte bank in which the viability of a subset of leukocytes in a relatively small number of autologous deposits may ultimately prove to be critical to successful CAT treatment. The compressible bag of the blood pack of the invention may further comprise a serum outlet disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press the serum layer is expressed from the bag via the serum outlet. In such embodiments, the serum outlet may be connected to a serum collection satellite vessel. The bag may also further comprise a red blood cell outlet disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press the red blood cell layer is expressed from the bag via the red blood cell outlet. In such embodiments the red blood cell outlet may be connected to a red blood cell collection satellite vessel.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a process for producing a leukocyte cell bank comprising the steps of: (a) providing an isolated blood sample from a healthy donor individual, wherein the sample is contained in the compressible bag of the blood press pack of the invention; (b) centrifuging the pack to produce a fractionated blood sample in which a plasma layer is separated from a red blood cell layer by a buffy coat layer; (c) compressing the centrifuged pack in a bag press thereby to express two or more discrete aliquots of the buffy coat layer containing leukocytes from the bag and into each of the two or more holding vessels; (d) cryogenically preserving each of the two or more aliquots containing leukocytes; (e) retrievably depositing each of the two or more preserved aliquots to produce a leukocyte bank.

In preferred embodiments where each of the two or more leukocyte holding vessels is in fluid communication with a leukocyte storage vessel, which storage vessel contains, or is in fluid communication with, a cryopreservation medium, the process further comprises the step of mixing each aliquot with the cryopreservation medium within each storage vessel prior to the cryogenic preservation step.

Particularly preferred is a process in which the aliquots containing leukocytes are transferred from the holding vessels to each of the double containment leukocyte storage vessels, when the storage vessels may conveniently be detached from the blood press pack prior to the depositing step or to the cryogenic preservation step.

The process of the invention may be applied iteratively to a series of blood samples from different healthy donor individuals, and/or to a series of blood'samples from the same healthy donor individual (for example to 2-12 samples taken from the same healthy donor individual over the course of one year).

Particularly preferred is a process wherein the aliquots are deposited into two or more independent storage systems to produce a leukocyte bank which exhibits deposit redundancy. Preferably, three, four, five or greater than five separate aliquots are used according to the invention.

The independent storage systems into which the aliquots may be retrievably deposited are independent in the sense that they do not share a determinant of viability selected from: (a) power supply; and/or (b) site or location. For example, in cases where the storage systems depend on a supply of electricity for their continued cryopreservation, then the electricity supplies must not originate from a single generator or supplier. Preferably, each independent storage system is sited to be geographically remote from its counterpart(s), so lessening the chances of coincidental destruction or damage by natural or man-made disasters (such as fire, flood or contamination).

The process may further comprise the step of digitally storing information obtained from each donor individual in a digital information unit so as to permit matching of leukocyte deposit and donor for later autologous transplantation.

The cryogenic preservation step conveniently comprises freezing to a temperature at or below about -160°C, which can be achieved using liquid nitrogen. If longer periods of storage and/or enhanced retention of functionality are required then freezing to a temperature at or below about -269°C may be effected using liquid helium.

Any of a wide range of suitable cryopreservation media may be used according to the invention, but preferred are media comprising a suitable penetrating cryoprotectant. Particularly suitable for use as a penetrating cryoprotectant is DMSO, which may be used for example at a concentration of up to 10%.

The cryopreservation medium may further comprise an anticoagulant (such as acid citrate dextrose, EDTA, heparin or mixtures thereof), a nuclease (for example a Dnase and/or Rnase as well as a physiologically acceptable medium (for example, phosphate buffered saline). The cryopreservation medium may also further comprise a proteinaceous composition, such as blood serum or a blood serum component and/or a sugar and/or a polysaccharide (which may be particularly preferred in embodiments where plunge freezing is employed).

Particularly preferred proteinaceous compositions for use in the cryogenic preservation media of the invention comprise blood albumin (e.g. bovine serum albumin or human serum albumin). Particularly convenient is the use of human blood serum isolated from the blood sample of the donor individual. This can be isolated as a co-product together with the leukocytes.

Any donor may be used as a source of blood sample in the processes of the invention, provided that the donor is healthy, as herein defined. However, the invention finds particular application in relation to donor individuals which are predisposed to a leukocyte deficiency, are not in remission from a leukocyte deficiency, are juvenile, adolescent or adult, are at risk of developing a leukocyte deficiency, are human individuals between the ages of about 12 to 30 (e.g. 15 to 25) and/or have a fully-developed immune system.

The process may further comprise the step of digitally storing information obtained from each donor individual in a digital information unit so as to permit matching of leukocyte deposit and donor for later autologous transplantation. The information may comprise at least that necessary to permit matching of deposit with donor, in order that later autologous transplantation can be carried out. Preferably, the information comprises genetic information, the date at which the blood sample was collected from the donor individual, the age and sex of the donor individual, the clinical status of the donor individual, the medical history of the donor individual, biographical data identifying the donor individual, details of the processing and storage conditions used to prepare the deposit as well as data identifying the person(s) responsible for processing the sample(s). If genetic information is stored, then this preferably comprises sequence information relating to one or more gene(s), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data and/or one or more genetic fingerprint(s).

Any suitable digital information unit may be used to store the information. Preferably, this takes the form of at least one digital computer comprising a database. The database may carry data on a carrier of any convenient form. Preferably, the information is stored independently on two or more carriers so that the database exhibits redundancy. This protects against data loss in the event of failure, corruption or loss of one of the computers or data carriers.

Preferably, the process further comprises the step of labelling the storage vessels with information sufficient to permit matching of the leukocyte deposit and donor. For example, the storage vessels may be labelled with information: (a) describing the contents of the vessel (for example, sample size, number and/or volume); and/or (b) identifying the leukocyte bank; and/or (c) recording the date at which the blood sample was collected from the donor individual; and/or (d) comprising a statement that each package is for single patient use only; and/or (e) comprising instructions for opening, aseptic presentation and further storage.

Any convenient form of labelling may be used. Thus, the labelling may comprise the physical attachment of an information carrier (e.g. a bar code) to the storage vessels themselves. Alternatively, the labelling may be effected by the non-physical association of the vessels with the information carrier (for example, via the correlation between the physical geometry or organization of the deposits in the bank and the entries in the database).

The invention also contemplates treatment of the leukocytes, for example including any or all of the following: in vivo prior to provision of the blood sample, in vitro prior to separation step (b), in vitro after separation step (b) but prior to preservation step (f) and/or in vitro after preservation step (f).

In another aspect, the invention contemplates a process for producing a leukocyte composition for autotransplantation into a donor individual comprising the steps of: (a) producing a leukocyte cell bank by the process of the invention; (b) matching the donor individual with a leukocyte deposit to identify an autologous leukocyte deposit; (c) retrieving a storage vessel containing an aliquot of preserved autologous leukocytes; and (d) revitalizing the preserved autologous leukocytes to produce a leukocyte composition for autotransplantation into the donor individual.

The invention also contemplates a leukocyte composition and a leukocyte cell bank obtainable (or obtained) by the process of the invention.

Also contemplated are various therapeutic uses for the processes, compositions and banks of the invention. Accordingly, the invention contemplates the leukocyte composition of the invention for use in therapy, for example in autotransplantation (e.g. in restorative or remedial autotransplantation). Detailed Description of the Invention

I. Definitions

Where used herein and unless specifically indicated otherwise, the following terms are intended to have the following meanings in addition to any broader (or narrower) meanings the terms might enjoy in the art:

The term isolated blood sample is used herein to define a blood sample which is not in fluid communication with the blood of the donor from which it originated.

The term autotransplantation is used herein to define autologous transplantation (autogeneic or self-to-self transplantation), wherein the term autologous is used to indicate that the transplantation is to the same organism (i.e. the same individual) from which the cellular material (e.g. leukocytes) was removed. As used herein, transplantation defines any procedure involving the introduction of cellular material (e.g. leukocytes) into an organism, and so any form of transplantation or grafting known in the art is encompassed.

The term dormancy is used herein to define any state of suspended animation or stasis, and procedures for achieving this are well known in the art, as described below. Any of the known procedures may be used, including cryopreservation. Thus, the leukocytes may be held or maintained in a quiescent, inactive or non- proliferating state.

The term healthy is used herein in relation to an individual donor to indicate that the individual is not suffering from a leukocytic deficiency (as herein defined). Thus, the term healthy as used herein encompasses non- diseased individual donors in a state in which the individual donor is not suffering from any disease or disorder, or is not manifesting any symptoms of said disease or disorder (i.e. is asymptomatic or is in a pre-clinical condition). In particular, term healthy as used herein encompasses individual donors not suffering from, or demonstrating symptoms of, the disease or disorder which it is subsequently intended to treat by the autotransplantation procedure. ll. Blood samples

The invention may be applied to any form of blood sample, provided that: (a) the sample is isolated in the sense defined above and (b) the sample comprises at least some leukocytes from the individual donor.

The blood sample may be subjected to various treatments ex vivo prior to use in the process of the invention. Typically, for example, the blood sample is chilled prior to use. Other treatments may include the addition of preservatives and/or anticoagulants.

The blood sample may also be treated in vivo prior to collection by administering various agents to the donor individual before or during sample collection. Examples of treatments (which may be applied ex vivo and/or in vivo) are discussed in more detail in the section entitled "Leukocyte treatments", below. It is generally preferable to sample at least 450-500 ml of blood from the individual donor, which is the equivalent of a unit of blood as provided by a blood donor for the UK blood transfusion service. If possible a number of samples (e.g. several 450-500 ml samples) are taken over a period of time (e.g. over 2-3 weeks, preferably 2-3 months or over 6 months or a year, 2 or 3 years or more). One or more of these can then be divided or combined into a number of leukocyte cell bank deposits. The removal of a unit of blood is commonplace with over three million units of blood being taken, for allografting, from individuals annually in the UK alone.

The blood removed is soon replaced and, therefore, multiple samplings of a unit of blood from an individual can be provided over a year, say 2-12 unit samplings if necessary, without detriment to the individual being sampled.

III. Selection of donor individuals

General considerations

Restorative autotransplantation is a form of therapy that might ultimately be indicated for any individual. Consequently, the invention may be usefully applied to the generation of comprehensive leukocyte cell banks covering as large a number of different individuals as possible in order that restorative autotransplantation can be carried out in any of the represented individuals should the need arise.

It is therefore contemplated that the invention be applied as broadly as possible so that a comprehensive leukocyte cell bank can be assembled. However, since the quality of the individual deposits will depend (at least to some extent) on the health status of the individual donor at the time of blood sample donation, it is preferred that the blood sample for use in the processes of the invention be taken from healthy individual donors.

Other factors also affect donor selection: for example, the blood sample for use in the processes of the invention may advantageously be obtained from individual donors when they are young, preferably in adolescence or early adulthood. In the case of humans, blood sampling (preferably multiple sampling) at the ages of about 12 to 30, preferably 15 to 25 is preferred. Especially preferably, sampling is from the age of 16 or 17 upwards, for example in the age range 16 to 30, 17 to 30, or 18 to 30, or perhaps 18 to 35 or 40. It is thus preferred that the cells be obtained when the host organism is mature, or reaching maturity, but before the processes of ageing or senescence have significantly set in. In particular, it is preferred and advantageous that the immune system of the host organism is mature or fully developed.

However, the obtention of cells outside these ranges is encompassed, and cells may be obtained at any postnatal life stage e.g. from juvenile host organisms e.g. in mid-to late childhood, or even infants, or from older individuals.

Sampling from post-natal or older hosts allows multiple samples to be collected, thereby increasing the opportunity of storing sufficient number of cells. In addition sampling from juvenile or older hosts overcomes the ethical requirements such as providing informed consent. Sampling from adolescent or adult host organisms is preferred since the sampled cells, from blood in particular, will contain a greater proportion of valuable mature T-cells capable of recognising aberrant cell populations, such as cancer cells or virally infected cells. Thus, when blood samples are used, it is advantageous that they are taken from an individual with a mature immune system (i.e. not foetal or neonatal).

Thus, the invention contemplates the use of blood samples collected from donor individuals at a stage when there is no direct prediction, suggestion, or suspicion that a particular disorder or disease may develop, for use against a future possible or unpredicted event, or an event which may occur simply by chance, rather than an anticipated or suspected or predicted illness or condition. Thus, in certain embodiments of the invention, the donor individual is not predisposed to, or at risk from, any particular disease or disorder e.g. not exhibiting any symptoms or manifestations predictive of a subsequent disease or disorder. Likewise, the host organism is preferably not suffering from any injuries or damage which may give rise to an anticipated or expected condition.

Indeed, for certain applications (for example, the generation of leukocyte cell banks for subsequent restorative autotransplantation) it is preferred that the blood sample for use in the invention be obtained from the donor individual before any disease or disorder develops or manifests itself, and more preferably when the host organism is in general good health, and preferably not immunocompromised in any way. In such embodiments it is particularly advantageous to sample the blood from donor individuals at a time when the organism has not previously exhibited symptoms of or presented with or been diagnosed as suffering from the disease or disorder which is subsequently to be treated, i.e. when the host organism is healthy and not "in remission" e.g. not in a state of partial or full recovery from the leukocyte deficiency to be treated.

Predisposed donor individuals

Advances in therapy continue to be made, and our greater understanding of disease processes helps us to modify and refocus our therapeutic approaches to alleviate disease and suffering. Such understanding has been greatly advanced by technological improvements in the field of molecular biology. We are now in a position to follow the pathogenesis of diseases at a molecular level, and recognize the importance of an individual's genetic make-up in predisposing them to certain diseases. For example, we are aware that some individuals, because of their genetic composition, are prone to certain diseases.

Many of the diseases to which certain individuals can be predisposed are leukocyte deficiencies, which term is used herein to indicate a condition in which the administration of autologous leukocytes is indicated. Such conditions therefore include those in which an individual has acquired a disease, infection or condition involving leukocyte dysfunction or a disease, infection or condition in which the augmentation or stimulation of endogenous leukocyte activity is indicated. Detailed examples of particular leukocyte deficiencies are set out in the section entitled "Exemplary indications", below.

Through genetic testing, therefore, it is now possible to identify those individuals predisposed to a leukocyte deficiency (e.g. any of various forms of cancer, immune disorder or infection). Furthermore, our knowledge of the body's immune system, and in particular the way in which it recognises and kills virally infected and tumour cells, continues to advance. We now know that in order to elicit cell-mediated immunity, an offending cell (e. g. a virally infected or tumour cell) must co-present an HLA class I restricted tumour or viral epitope with danger signals such as GWI-CSF and/or TNF-alpha, so that the antigen presenting cells (APC) of the immune system will express co-stimulatory signals such as B7 and IL-12 in conjunction with antigen to the interacting cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) population. The co-presentation leads to the production of clones of both activated and memory cells (for review see Nature Medicine Vaccine Supplement 4 (1998) 525). In the absence of these additional signals, HLA-I antigen-restricted T-cells which recognise offending cells are processed for destruction or desensitization (a bodily process presumably put into place to avoid the development of e.g. autoimmune disease). The induction of such tolerance is because of either ignorance, anergy or physical deletion (Cold Spring Harbour Symp Quant Biol 2 (1989) 807; Nature 342 (1989) 564; Cell 65 (1991) 305; Nature Med 4 (1998) 525).

It is now clear that tumour cells do not automatically co-present danger and/or co-stimulatory signals. Hence, the spawning of a tumour may lead to eradication of the very T cell clones that provide cell-mediated immunity against the tumour. A patient presenting with a cancer, leukaemia/lymphoma or sarcoma etc, therefore, may have already removed their innate ability to destroy the tumour, by default.

However, if the required T lymphocytes, or a sample thereof, were removed from the patient prior to the onset of proliferative disease, the relevant T-cell population could now be returned to the patient, after any necessary co-stimulation of the T-cells, so as to alleviate disease. Co-stimulation may be provided at the same time as the cells are returned to the patient, or after they are returned through further treatment (s) of the patient, or without stimulation other than that naturally produced by the patient. Activation/stimulation of the cells may also initially be induced in vitro prior to reinfusion.

The present invention therefore finds particular application in the case of individuals predisposed to the development of a leukocyte deficiency. It therefore represents a means for removing leukocytes from a healthy donor individual for subsequent transplantation to that same individual in a subsequent autologous (autogeneic) transplantation procedure, when the need or desire to do so arises. Although the predisposed individual may never receive the cells because no disease to be treated by this method ever occurs, the invention nevertheless may be used to provide some form of insurance against the heightened risk of a leukocyte deficiency arising in the individual.

Similarly, individuals with no diagnosed predisposition may choose to provide samples for incorporation into the leukocyte cell bank of the invention for prospective use by themselves prior to travelling abroad. Such use might include for the treatment of infections contracted whilst abroad.

In addition, it is well recognized that the ageing process makes individuals more susceptible to disease. The basis for the susceptibility appears to be in the loss of immune function resulting from a significant decrease in T and B cell numbers/activity during ageing (Mech Ageing & Dev 91 (1996) 219; Science 273 (1996) 70; Mech Ageing & Dev 96 (1997) 1). Disease susceptibility is particularly pertinent when elderly patients are subjected to e.g. surgery in a hospital environment, where they are prone to opportunistic infections with serious or even fatal consequences. Blood samples taken from such individuals much earlier in life and processed according to the invention for inclusion in a leukocyte cell bank could provide the opportunity for restorative autotransplantation in such circumstances.

Such an approach could be used more broadly to provide for a method of augmenting the patient's immune system after surgery in order to lessen the likelihood of post-operative complications caused by opportunistic infections. The invention, therefore, could be used as a prophylactic therapy, e.g. for elderly patients when they are more susceptible to disease.

IV. Leukocytes

The invention contemplates the use of batch centrifugation and bag pressing techniques to separate and collect leukocytes from a blood sample. It will be appreciated that the separation and/or removal of leukocytes from the blood sample during such processing need not be absolute. Rather, the removal and/or separation of a fraction of the total leukocytes present in the sample is sufficient in most circumstances. Those skilled in the art will readily be able to determine the appropriate size of the fraction to be removed, which will vary inter alia according to the use to which the isolated leukocytes are to be put, the size of the sample, the status of the donor and the nature of the leukocytes.

The leukocytes collected in the processes of the invention are to some degree isolated from the original blood sample. The term isolated is used here to indicate that the isolated leukocytes exist in a physical milieu distinct from that in which they occur in vivo and does not imply any particular degree of purity. Indeed, the absolute level of purity is not critical, and those skilled in the art can readily determine appropriate levels of purity according to the use to which the leukocytes are to be put.

The separation and collection of the leukocytes in the processes of the invention also does not necessarily imply that any particular class or type of leukocyte is preferentially separated and collected. Rather, the leukocytes of the invention include any white blood cell, including granulocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes. Granulocytes include myelocytes, basophils, eosinophils and neutrophils. Lymphocytes include B, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Monocytes include mononuclear phagocytes and other macrophages.

However, in some embodiments the leukocytes which are separated and collected preferably comprise one or more specific leukocyte cell types. A preferred cell type is the lymphocyte, especially a T-lymphocyte (T-cell). Mature T-lymphocytes are particularly preferred.

Since the total mature T-cell number per litre of blood ranges between 1-2.5 x I09 for humans, a 100 ml sample of blood typically contains 1-2.5 x 108 mature T-cells and this is generally sufficient to provide an adequate representation of the entire mature human T-cell population for the beneficial effect. However, depending on the fraction of total leukocytes separated and collected and the efficiency of any revitalizing technique employed, preferably at least 100 ml, 115 ml, 200 ml or 300 ml and even more preferably in excess of 400 or 500 ml of blood sample is used in order to obtain the appropriate number of mature T-cells to support a beneficial therapeutic effect for return to the individual if and when they become ill. Standard techniques are known in the art which permit selection of particular subpopulations of lymphocytes from a sample comprising a mixed population of lymphocytes. Examples of such subpopulations are CD3+, CD8+, CD4+ and CD16/56+ (natural killer) T cells and CD19+ B cells. For example, any one or any mixture or combination of such subpopulations of T cells can be used in the methods, uses and compositions of the invention, and they are readily obtained by means of well known methods such as FACS (Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting) and haemocytometry systems.

V. Leukocyte treatments

The leukocytes may be subjected to various treatments. Such treatments may, for example, result in expansion of some or all of the representative cell subsets, improve the long-term viability of the leukocytes during the dormancy period, improve their therapeutic potency, remedy a deficiency or defect exhibited by some or all of the leukocytes (as is the case, for example, in remedial autotransplantation therapeutic modalities) and/or render their subsequent use in autotransplantation safer.

The treatments can be carried out before or after the leukocytes are rendered dormant (and before or after autotransplantation is carried out). Moreover, the treatments may be applied after the blood sample is taken (i.e. be carried out ex vivo) either prior to rendering the cells dormant or after revitalization. For example, treatment of the leukocytes may be effected by co administration of a separate composition, sequentially or simultaneously with the leukocyte composition, during autotransplantation. Treatment of the leukocytes can be effected immediately prior to autotransplantation. Alternatively (or in addition) the treatments may be applied to the leukocytes while still in vivo prior to blood sampling by the administration of e.g. growth factors or cytokines (see below).

Exemplary pre-transplantation treatments may include various genetic modifications, such as the incorporation of a negative selection marker (as described, for example, in W096/14401 , the content of which is incorporated herein by reference). Such treatment permits ablation of the leukocytes after transplantation or titration of dose versus response. Other genetic interventions may include regulating or modifying the expression of one or more genes (e. g. increasing or decreasing gene expression), inactivating one or more genes, gene replacement and/or the expression of one or more heterologous genes). Other genetic modifications include the targeting of particular T-cells (as described in W096/15238, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference), and the modification of the T-cell receptor repertoire/expression with antibodies to make T-cell chimaeras.

Other treatments contemplated by the invention include the exposure of the leukocytes with one or more stimulatory molecules, for example antigens (e.g. cancer or viral antigens), antibodies, T cell recognition epitopes, peptides, blood factors, hormones, growth factors or cytokines or combinations thereof.

For example, the leukocytes may be treated in vitro (or in vivo prior to blood sampling) with antigens (for example cancer (e.g. prostate-specific antigen 1 or prostate-specific antigen 2, her-2/new, MAGE-1 , p53, Haras and c-myc) or viral antigens), antibodies, T cell recognition epitopes, peptides, blood factors, hormones, growth factors or cytokines or combinations thereof. The stimulatory molecules may be synthetic, recombinant or may be purified or isolated from the human or animal body. Particularly useful in this respect are stimulatory molecules selected from IFN-alpha, IFN-beta, IFN-gamma, 11-1 a, ll-lb, II-2, II-3, II-4, II-5, II-6, II-7, II-8, II-9, 11-10, 11-11 , 11-12, 11-13, 11-14, 11-15, GM-CSF, M-CSF, G-CSF, LT and combinations of two or more of the foregoing. Such treatments may modify the growth and/or activity and/or state of differentiation of the leukocytes, and/or may serve to separate or selectively isolate or enrich desired leukocyte cell types or to purge unwanted cells.

Recent advances have been made in the way cells may be obtained for subsequent autotransplantation. For example, investigations into the agents which regulate haematopoiesis have led to the isolation of a series of factors that influence the proliferation and differentiation of lymphocytes. These agents include the cytokines (such as the interleukin series IL-1 to IL-18 and the leukotrienes) and growth factors such as the TNF's, the TGF's, FGF's, EGF's, GM-CSF, G-CSF and others. A number of these factors are now available commercially for clinical use, and some have been shown to increase substantially the number of lymphocytic cells and, in particular, immature T-lymphocytes in the peripheral blood. Their administration to the donor individual prior to blood sampling permits the quantity and/or quality (in terms of the number and nature of leukocyte subtypes present) to be controlled and makes it possible to recover large quantities of the cells of interest, e.g. immature T-lymphocytes, directly from the donor individuals peripheral blood sample without the need to sample the marrow.

Other pre-transplantation treatments include culture of the leukocytes (or a sub-population thereof). For example, the leukocytes may be cultured to increase cell numbers. For example, the cells may be passaged, according to methods well known in the art. Such culturing may be carried out before or after the leukocytes are rendered dormant, or both before and after dormancy is induced. Thus, in the case where the leukocytes include T-cells, the T-cells may be co-stimulated prior to transplantation and/or exposed to tumour antigens (optionally together with co-stimulatory factors) prior to autotransplantation. VI. Induction of dormancy

Any suitable means may be employed for inducing dormancy. According to a preferred cryopreservation procedure, the cells are frozen preferably to a temperature below -160°C. A particularly preferred means of achieving dormancy is to freeze the cells to the boiling point of helium (He), i.e. to about -269°C or below.

As described in Freshney's (Freshney's Tissue Culture of Animal Cells (Culture of Animal Cells: A Manual of Basic Technique, Wiley Liss, 1994)), the cells may be suspended in a suitable medium (e. g. containing up to 10% DMSO) and cooled at a controlled rate (e. g. 1°C per minute to -70°C, then into liquid/gas N2). Such conventional procedures may be adapted to cool the cells into He/N2 mixtures or He. Alternative methods of achieving and/or maintaining cell dormancy include cooling to 4°C.

VII. Revitalization

Following dormancy, the cells are revitalised prior to use in transplantation. Again, this may be achieved in any convenient manner known in the art, and any method of revitalising or reviving the cells may be used. Conveniently, this may, for example, be achieved by thawing and/or diluting the cells. Techniques for revitalisation are well known in the art. Cells may be thawed by gentle agitation of the container holding the cells in water at 37°C, followed by dilution of DMSO to 1 % or below, e. g. with medium or serum. Cells may be implanted immediately or after recovery in culture. Revitalisation is designed to re-establish the usefulness of the cells e.g. in prophylaxis or curative therapy. VIII. Cell banking

The leukocyte compositions of the invention may be banked, thereby creating a leukocyte cell bank. Preferably, the compositions are banked after the leukocytes have been rendered dormant (as described above). Any suitable cell banking system may be employed, provided that the deposits are retrievable for autotransplantation. This implies the use of some form of labelling, but this need not be in the form of a physical appendage to the individual deposits.

Thus, the leukocyte cell bank of the invention may comprise a plurality of cell storage units for storage of leukocyte compositions. Typically, such cell storage is effected by cryopreservation, but other storage techniques can also be employed. The cell banks of the invention may further include a digital information unit for digitally storing information relating to the identity, location and medical history of the donor individual and/or the conditions associated with the particular deposit (for example relating to the date at which the blood sample was collected from the donor individual, the processing conditions and details of any treatments applied to the leucocytes contained in the deposit). The digital information unit preferably comprises at least one digital computer having sufficient digital storage capacity for storage of the potentially large amounts of information relating to each deposit.

The leukocyte cell bank of the invention preferably further comprises an arrangement for digital data retrieval interfaced with the digital information unit for retrieving selected information stored in the digital information unit. The data retrieval arrangement may be integrated with the digital computer. Remote access of the digital information via the telephone or the internet may also be provided and may permit rapid and convenient access of the information on a global basis.

IX. Medical applications

The invention finds application in all forms of therapy and prophylaxis in which the administration of (treated or untreated) autologous leukocytes is indicated (i.e. desirable from a therapeutic perspective). For the purposes of the present invention, in such indications a leukocyte deficiency is deemed to have arisen.

It will therefore be understood that the leukocyte deficiencies in which the invention finds medical application encompass a very broad spectrum of diseases, syndromes, disorders, conditions and infections. For example, it will be appreciated that a leukocyte deficiency, in the special, broad sense defined above, can arise in circumstances where an individual has acquired a disease, syndrome, disorder, condition or infection involving leukocyte dysfunction as well as in circumstances where an individual has acquired a disease, syndrome, disorder, condition or infection in which the endogenous leukocyte component is seemingly normal but in which alteration, augmentation or stimulation of the normal endogenous leukocyte activity is nevertheless indicated/required. In particular, a leukocyte deficiency as herein defined may be deemed to have arisen either as a result of a non-specific loss of T- and or B-cells, or as a result of a loss or deficiency of a particular T- and/or B-cell clonal population. For convenience, such diseases, syndromes, disorders, conditions or infections are collectively defined herein as leukocytic deficiencies.

The processes of the invention are employed to create a leukocyte composition (e.g. forming part of a leukocyte cell bank) from a blood sample from a healthy individual donor. Thus, the invention is used to create a cellular resource of healthy leukocytic tissue from an individual donor that can be restored to that donor individual should the individual acquire a leukocytic deficiency at a later date.

In such therapies (referred to herein as restorative autotransplantation), the invention exploits the fact that many leukocytic deficiencies occur as part of a temporal sequence of events (which may or may not be causally interrelated), so that the creation of a leukocyte cell bank at a point in time predating onset of the leukocytic deficiency constitutes a therapeutic resource which can later be used restoratively.

The concept of restorative autotransplantation described above can be applied to all healthy individuals, irrespective of factors that might serve as indicators of susceptibility to leukocytic deficiency (for example age, medical history, genetic background and lifestyle). However, it does permit the identification of a particular class of individuals for which the processes of the invention may be particularly advantageously applied, as described in more detail in section III (entitled "Selection of donor individuals"). Moreover, since the leukocyte deficiencies as defined above and treatable according to the invention by restorative autotransplantation embrace an enormous variety of known diseases, these are discussed in greater detail in the following section XII (entitled "Exemplary indications").

X. Exemplary indications

As mentioned in the preceding section, the therapeutic and prophylactic uses of the invention encompass a very broad spectrum of diseases, syndromes, disorders, conditions and infections.

Infections

The invention may find application in the treatment of various infections. In this case, the endogenous , leukocyte activity may be normal (or responding normally) but its alteration, augmentation or stimulation is nevertheless desirable. In others (such as HIV infection) the endogenous leukocyte activity is dysfunctional as a direct consequence of infection. Infections which may be treated or prevented according to the invention include bacterial, fungal or viral infections, or infections by any other organism e.g. a protozoan, nematode, insect or other parasite. A preferred application is the treatment of AIDS as a result of HIV infection. Here, CD4+ cells can be collected from an individual when healthy or non-infected, and stored for subsequent transplantation into said individual when HIV infection manifests itself or when AIDS develops, or CD4+ cell count falls etc. Such a procedure may be attractive to an individual with a life-style likely to place them at risk from contracting HIV infection. Cancers, leukaemias and sarcomas

The invention may find application in the treatment and prophylaxis of various malignancies: in general, any malignant or pre-malignant condition, proliferative or hyper-proliferative condition or any disease arising or deriving from or associated with a functional or other disturbance or abnormality in the cells or tissues of the body. Therapy or prophylaxis of various forms of cancer represents a preferred embodiment of the invention, and the treatment or prophylaxis of any cancerous cells or tissues of the body is contemplated.

Thus, the invention is not limited to any one type of proliferative disease (e. g. leukaemias, lymphomas, carcinomas or sarcomas), nor is it restricted to specific oncogenes or tumour-suppressor gene epitopes such as ras, prostate-specific antigen 1 or prostate-specific antigen 2, her-2/new, myc, myb, fos, fas, retinoblastoma, p53 etc. or other tumour cell marker epitopes that are presented in an HLA class I antigen restricted fashion or other such way so as to be identifiable by a leukocyte. All cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma, breast, stomach, colon, rectal, lung, liver, uterine, testicular, ovarian, prostate and brain tumours such as gliomas, astrocytomas and neuroblastomas, sarcomas such as rhabdomyosarcomas and fibrosarcomas are included for the therapy or prophylaxis by the present invention.

Thus, the present invention finds application in the treatment or prophylaxis of breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. It also finds application in the treatment or prophylaxis of cancers of the blood and lymphatic systems (including Hodgkin's Disease, leukemias, lymphomas, multiple myeloma^ and

Waldenstrδm's disease), skin cancers (including malignant melanoma), cancers of the digestive tract (including head and neck cancers, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the pancreas, liver cancer, colon and rectal cancer, anal cancer), cancers of the genital and urinary systems (including kidney cancer, bladder cancer, testis cancer, prostate cancer), cancers in women (including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, gynecological cancers and choriocarcinoma) as well as in brain, bone carcinoid, nasopharyngeal, retroperitoneal, thyroid and soft tissue tumours. It also finds application in the treatment or prophylaxis of cancers of unknown primary site.

XI. Posology

Those skilled in the art will be readily able to determine the amount of leukocyte composition to be autotransplanted in the medical applications according to the invention. It should be noted that as few as 0.01 x 108 (e.g. 1-10 x 108) mature lymphocytes (which can be derived from a single sample of approximately 100 ml of normal human blood) are sufficient to boost the immune system of a subject and hence may have a beneficial effect according to the autologous transplantation method of the invention. It should be noted that the removal of a unit of blood is commonplace with over three million units of blood being taken, for allografting, from individuals annually in the UK alone.

The leukocyte composition administered may be derived from a single blood sample, or may constitute a pool of leukocyte compositions derived from a plurality of different blood samples taken from a donor individual at different times. The leukocyte composition administered may constitute all or a fraction of the deposited material, but preferably constitutes only a fraction thereof in order that multiple dosing can be achieved, optionally following cellular expansion of the residue (for example, T cell numbers may be increased by in vitro expansion using standard methods).

In applications based on T-cell activity, the number of mature T-cells administered is at least 0.01 x 10a, more preferably at least 0.1 x 108, more preferably at least 1 x 108 (e.g. at least 1-10 x 108). The preferred ranges are 0.01 x 108 to 1010 mature T lymphocytes, such as 0.1 x 108 to 1010, 1 x 108 to 1010or 1 x 109 to 101Q mature T lymphocytes. Thus, the mature T-cell sample acquired for autotransplantation is at least 0.01 x 108, generally in the range of 108- 1010 CD3+ mature T-cells, preferably 2 x 108 - 1010, more preferably 3 x 108 - 1010 CD3+ and even more preferably 4-5 x 108 - 1010 CD3+ mature T-cells.

Conveniently, each sample prepared for autotransplantation contains 3 x 108 CD3+ mature T-cells, more preferably 5 x 108 and even more preferably 1x109 CD3+ mature T-cells. If sufficient resources of blood are available from an individual, even more preferably still 4-5 x 109 CD3+ mature T-cells or 1010 CD3+ mature T- cells may be used.

Preferably, the mature T-cell subpopulation sample acquired for autotransplantation which is CD3+ and CD8+ is at least 0.01 x 108, generally in the range of 0.25 x 108- 0.25 x 1010, and more preferably 0.5 x 108 - 0.25 x 1010, and even more preferably 0.75 x 108 - 0.25 x 1010, and even more preferably still 0.75 x 108 - 0.25 x 1010 or 1.00 - 1.25 x 108 - 0.25 x 1010. Specific CD3+ and CD8+ cell numbers in each sample prepared for grafting is conveniently of the order of 0.2 x 108, preferably 0. 4 x 108, or more preferably 1 x 108, or still more preferably 2 x 10β, or more preferably 3 x 108, or more preferably 5 x 108. If sufficient resources from an individual are available, 1 x 109, preferably 2 x 109, 4 x 109, or more preferably 1 x 1010 CD3+ and CD8+ cells may be used.

Preferably, the mature T-cell subpopulation sample acquired for autologous transplantation which is CD3+ and CD4+ is at least O.01 x 108, generally in the range of 0. 1 x 108- 0.5 x 1010, and more preferably 0.65 x 108 - 0. 5 x 1010, and even more preferably 0.85 x 108 - 0.5 x 1010, and even more preferably still 1 x 108 - 0.5 x 1010 or 1.8 - 3.6 x 108 - 0.5 x 1010. Specific CD3+ and CD4+ cell numbers in each sample prepared for grafting is conveniently of the order of 0.2 x 1010, preferably 0.3 x 108, or more preferably 0.4 x 108, 0.5x108, 1 x 108, 2 x 108, 3 x 108, 4 x 108, or more preferably 5 x 108. If sufficient resources from an individual are available, I x 109, or more preferably 2 x 109, or more preferably 1 x 1010 CD3+ and CD4+ cells may be used.

Preferably, the mature T-cell natural killer subpopulation sample acquired for autotransplantation which is CD3+ and CD16/56+ is at least 0.01 x 108, generally in the range of 0.01 x 108 - 0.5 x 101°, preferably 0.02 x 108 - 0.5 x 1010, more preferably 0.03 x 108 - 0.5 x 1010, and even more preferably still 0.5 x 108 -0.5 x 1010 or 0.5-2 x 108 to 0.5 x 1010. Specific CD3+ and CD16/56+ cell numbers in each sample prepared for grafting is conveniently of the order of 0.01 x 108, 0.2 x 108, 0. 3 x 108, 0.5 x 108, 1 x 108, 2 x 108, 3 x 108, 5 x 108, or more preferably, if sufficient resources are available, I x 109, or more preferably 2 x 109, or more preferably 1 x 1010 CD3+ and CD16/56+ cells may be used.

In addition, the mature lymphocyte cell sample may preferably include B cells, such as CD19+ B lymphocytes. The mature B-cell sample included in the T-cell sample may be at least 107, 108 or 109, generally in the range of 107 -1010 mature B-cells and preferably 2 x 107- 1010 mature B-cells, more preferably 3 x 107 - 1010 mature B-cells, and even more preferably 4-5 x 107 - 10i0 mature B-cells. Specific numbers of B-cells in autograft is conveniently of the order of 3 x 107, preferably 5 x 108, more preferably 1 x 108 mature B-cells, and even more preferably still 4-5 x 109 or 1010 mature B-cells.

In addition, the lymphocyte cell sample may preferably include dendritic cells. The dendritic cell sample may be at least 107, 108 or 109 in number, and generally in the range of 107 - 1010 dendritic cells and preferably 2 x 107- 1010 cells, more preferably 3 x 107 - 1010 cells, and even more preferably 4-5 x 107 - 1010 cells. Specific numbers of dendritic cells in an autograft is conveniently of the order of 3 x 107, preferably 5 x 108, more preferably 1 x 108, and even more preferably still 4-5 x 109 or 1010 mature B-cells. XII. Equivalents

The foregoing description details presently preferred embodiments of the present invention which are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Those skilled in the art will recognize, or be able to ascertain, using no more than routine experimentation, many equivalents, modifications and variations to the specific embodiments of the invention described specifically herein. Such equivalents, modifications and variations are intended to be (or are) encompassed in the scope of the following claims.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A closed (or functionally closed) blood press pack comprising: (a) a compressible bag for containing a blood sample during centrifugation; (b) two or more leukocyte holding vessels in fluid communication with the compressible bag and disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press two or more discrete aliquots of a buffy coat layer are expressed into each of the two or more holding vessels.
2. The pack of claim 1 wherein each of the two or more leukocyte holding vessels is in fluid communication with a leukocyte storage vessel, which storage vessel contains, or is in fluid communication with, a cryopreservation medium.
3. The pack of claim 2 wherein the leukocyte storage vessels are double containment storage vessels.
4. The pack of any one of the preceding claims wherein the compressible bag further comprises a serum outlet disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press the serum layer is expressed from the bag via the serum outlet.
5. The pack of claim 4 wherein the serum outlet is connected to a serum collection satellite vessel.
6. The pack of any one of the preceding claims wherein the compressible bag further comprises a red blood cell outlet disposed such that on compression of a filled and centrifuged bag in a bag press the red blood cell layer is expressed from the bag via the red blood cell outlet.
7. The pack of claim 6 wherein the red blood cell outlet is connected to a red blood cell collection satellite vessel.
8. A process for producing a leukocyte cell bank suitable for CAT therapy comprising the steps of: (a) providing an isolated blood sample from a healthy donor individual, wherein the sample is contained in the compressible bag of the blood press pack of any one of the preceding claims; (b) centrifuging the pack to produce a fractionated blood sample in which a plasma layer is separated from a red blood cell layer by a buffy coat layer; (c) compressing the centrifuged pack in a bag press thereby to express two or more discrete aliquots of the buffy coat layer containing leukocytes from the bag and into each of the two or more holding vessels; (d) cryogenically preserving each of the two or more aliquots containing leukocytes; (e) retrievably depositing each of the two or more preserved aliquots to produce a leukocyte bank.
9. The process of claim 8 wherein the sample is contained in the compressible bag of the blood press pack of claim 2, the process further comprising the step of mixing each aliquot with the cryopreservation medium within each storage vessel prior to the cryogenic preservation step (d).
10. The process of claim 8 or claim 9 wherein the sample is contained in the compressible bag of the blood press pack of claim 3, the process further comprising the step of transferring the aliquots containing leukocytes from the holding vessels to each of the double containment leukocyte storage vessels.
11. The process of claim 10 wherein the storage vessels are detached from the blood press pack prior to the depositing step (e).
12. The process of claim 11 wherein the storage vessels are detached from the blood press pack prior to the cryogenic preservation step (d).
13. The process of any one of claims 8 to 12 wherein the process is applied iteratively to a series of blood samples from different healthy donor individuals.
14. The process of any one of claims 8 to 13 which is applied iteratively to a series of blood samples from the same healthy donor individual.
15. The process of claim 14 which is applied iteratively to 2-12 samples taken from the same healthy donor individual over the course of one year.
16. The process of any one of claims 8 to 15 wherein in step (e) the aliquots are deposited into two or more independent storage systems to produce a leukocyte bank which exhibits deposit redundancy.
17. The process of any one of claims 8 to 16 wherein the cryogenic preservation step (d) comprises freezing to a temperature at or below about -160°C.
18. The process of any one of claims 8 to 16 wherein the cryogenic preservation step (d) comprises freezing to a temperature at or below about -269°C.
19. The process of any one of the preceding claims wherein the cryopropreservation medium comprises a penetrating cryoprotectant.
20. The process of claim 19 wherein the penetrating cryoprotectant comprises DMSO.
21. The process of claim 20 wherein the DMSO is present at a concentration of up to 10%.
22. The process of any one of claims 8 to 21 wherein cryopreservation medium further comprises an anticoagulant.
23. The process of claim 22 wherein the anticoagulant comprises an anticoagulant selected from acid citrate dextrose, EDTA and heparin.
24. The process of any one of claims 8 to 23 wherein the cryopreservation medium further comprises a nuclease.
25. The process of claim 24 wherein the nuclease comprises ribonuclease and/or deoxyribonuclease.
26. The process of any one of claims 8 to 25 wherein the cryopreservation medium further comprises a physiologically acceptable medium.
27. The process of claim 26 wherein the physiologically acceptable medium is phosphate buffered saline.
28. The process of any one of claims 8 to 27 wherein the cryopreservation medium further comprises a proteinaceous and/or sugar and/or polysaccharide composition.
29. The process of claim 28 wherein the proteinaceous composition comprises blood serum or a blood serum component.
30. The process of claim 29 wherein the proteinaceous composition comprises blood albumin (e.g. bovine serum albumin or human serum albumin).
31. The process of claim 30 wherein the proteinaceous composition comprises human blood serum isolated from the blood sample of the donor individual.
32. The process of any one of the preceding claims wherein the healthy donor individual: (a) is predisposed to a leukocyte deficiency; and/or (b) is not in remission from a leukocyte deficiency; and/or (c) is juvenile, adolescent or adult; and/or (d) is at risk of developing a leukocyte deficiency; and/or (e) is a human individual between the ages of about 12 to 30 (e.g. 15 to 25); and/or (f) has a fully-developed immune system.
33. The process of any one of claims 8 to 32 wherein the isolated blood sample has a volume of 450 to 500ml.
34. The process of any one of claims 8 to 33 further comprising the step of digitally storing information obtained from each donor individual in a digital information unit so as to permit matching of leukocyte deposit and donor for later autologous transplantation.
35. The process of claim 34 wherein the information stored comprises: (a) genetic information; and/or (b) the date at which the blood sample was collected from the donor individual; and/or (c) the age and sex of the donor individual; and/or (d) the clinical status of the donor individual; and/or (e) a medical history of the donor individual; and/or (f) biographical data identifying the donor individual; and/or (g) details of the processing and storage conditions used; and/or (h) data identifying the person(s) responsible for processing the sample(s).
36. The process of claim 35 wherein the information comprises genetic information selected from: (a) sequence information relating to one or more gene(s); and/or (b) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data; and/or (c) a genetic fingerprint.
37. The process of any one of claims 34 to 36 wherein the digital information unit comprises at least one digital computer.
38. The process of any one of claims 9 to 37 further comprising the step of labelling the storage vessels with information (for example some or all of the information as defined in any one of claims 34 to 37) sufficient to permit matching of the leukocyte deposit and donor.
39. The process of claim 38 wherein the information: (f) describes the contents of the vessel (for example, sample size, number and/or volume); and/or (g) identifies the leukocyte bank; and/or (h) records the date at which the blood sample was collected from the donor individual; and/or (i) comprises a statement that each package is for single patient use only; and/or (j) comprises instructions for opening, aseptic presentation and further storage.
40. The process of claim 38 or 39 wherein the labelling comprises physical attachment of a bar code to the storage vessels.
41. The process of any one of claims 8 to 40 wherein the leukocytes are treated: (a) in vivo prior to provision of the blood sample; (b) in vitro prior to centrifugation step (b); (c) in vitro after centrifugation step (b) but prior to preservation step (d); (d) in vitro after preservation step (d).
42. A process for producing a leukocyte composition for autotransplantation into a donor individual comprising the steps of: (e) producing a leukocyte cell bank by the process of any one of claims 8 to 41 ; (f) matching the donor individual with a leukocyte deposit to identify an autologous leukocyte deposit (e.g. using the information defined in any one of claims; (g) retrieving a storage vessel containing an aliquot of preserved autologous leukocytes; and (h) revitalizing the preserved autologous leukocytes to produce a leukocyte composition for autotransplantation into the donor individual.
43. The process of claim 42 wherein the leukocytes are revitalized by thawing and/or dilution.
44. The process of claim 43 for producing a leukocyte composition for restorative autotransplantation.
45. A leukocyte bank obtainable (or obtained) by the process of any one of claims 8 to 41.
46. A leukocyte composition obtainable (or obtained) by the process of any one of claims 42 to 44.
47. The leukocyte composition of claim 46 for use in therapy or prophylaxis.
48. Use of the leukocyte composition of claim 46 for the manufacture of a medicament for use in autotransplantation (e.g. in restorative autotransplantation).
PCT/GB2004/004128 2003-09-30 2004-09-28 Blood pack for leukocyte banking WO2005032618A1 (en)

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CN101200688B (en) 2007-10-30 2013-03-27 华坚青 Boar semen freezing preservation tube and method thereof

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