BACKGROUND: A growing number of clinical trials have shown that regulatory T (Treg) cells transfer may have a favorable effect on the maintenance of self-tolerance and immune homeostasis in different conditions such as graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), solid organ transplantation, type 1 diabetes, and others. In this context, the availability of a robust manufacturing protocol that is able to produce a sufficient number of functional Treg cells represents a fundamental prerequisite for the success of a cell therapy clinical protocol. However, extended workflow guidelines for nonprofit manufacturers are currently lacking. Despite the fact that different successful manufacturing procedures and cell products with excellent safety profiles have been reported from early clinical trials, the selection and expansion protocols for Treg cells vary a lot. The objective of this study was to validate a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant protocol for the production of Treg cells that approaches the whole process with a risk-management methodology, from process design to completion of final product development. High emphasis was given to the description of the quality control (QC) methodologies used for the in-process and release tests (sterility, endotoxin test, mycoplasma, and immunophenotyping).
RESULTS: The GMP-compliant protocol defined in this work allows at least 4.11 × 109 Treg cells to be obtained with an average purity of 95.75 ± 4.38% and can be used in different clinical settings to exploit Treg cell immunomodulatory function.
CONCLUSIONS: These results could be of great use for facilities implementing GMP-compliant cell therapy protocols of these cells for different conditions aimed at restoring the Treg cell number and function, which may slow the progression of certain diseases.