Nadia Mensali won the presentation prize at the annual NSI meeting!


Nadia Mensali was awarded with the presentation prize for her talk on the Universal Killer! See below to learn more

On friday 17th of November, at the 35th NSI Annual Meeting, Nadia Mensali was awarded with the presentation prize for her talk on the Universal Killer!

Link to the Norwegian Society of Immunology

Abstract :

A Universal Killer T-Cell for Adoptive Cell Therapy of Cancer

N Mensali1 , Pierre Dillard1, JH Myklebust2,3, Michael Hebeisen4, G Skorstad1, MR Myhre1, A Fåne1, G Gaudernack2, G Kvalheim1, EM Inderberg1 and S Wälchli1

1Department of Cellular Therapy, 2Section for Cancer Immunology, Oslo University Hospital-The Norwegian Radium Hospital, 3Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, 4CHUV, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.


T cell-mediated immunotherapy of cancer has achieved remarkable results in hard-to-beat cancers. The main challenge of adoptive T-cell transfer (ACT) is its labour intensive and costly production and logistics as well as its dependency on the quality of the patient’s T cells. To overcome these hurdles we have designed a universal cell line for TCR expression by modifying the FDA-approved NK cell line, NK-92. Advantages of using this cell line is that it is easy to expand and can readily be genetically engineered. However, tumour cell recognition and killing by NK-92 is not antigen specific. This can be controlled by introducing an antigen receptor, such as a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) or, as in the current work, a TCR. We herein present evidence that NK-92 can be modified to become a T cell-like lymphocyte which we named UK-92 cell (Universal Killer).

UK-92 expressing a therapeutic TCR showed conserved binding capacity to the cognate pMHC. Phosphoflow cytometry results indicated that the introduced TCR was able to mediate intracellular signaling upon either crosslinking or cognate pMHC binding. Our data showed that both early and late TCR signalling players were activated in a TCR-specific manner (anti-CD3/anti-CD28 stimulation) and further in a pMHC specific manner. In vitro functional assays using TCRs isolated from both CD8 and CD4 T cells demonstrated that UK-92-TCR could be stimulated in a pMHC-specific manner and, importantly, could kill tumor cells specifically. We have now shown in vitro that UK-92 cells are as specific and potent as redirected T cells to kill target cells.

Finally, encouraging in vivo data showed that mice receiving UK92 cells expressing a therapeutic TCR experienced reduction in tumor load and enhanced survival compared with control mice. If confirmed, the use of UK92 as a universal cell line might pave the way to truly off-the-shelf therapeutic effector cells for cancer immunotherapy and leading to drastic reduction of cell production time, logistic and cost.