FULL-LENGTH ARTICLE Translational Research| Volume 25, ISSUE 4, P397-406, April 2023

Novel xeno-free and serum-free culturing condition to improve piggyBac transposon-based CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T-cell production and characteristics

Published:December 13, 2022DOI:


      Background aims

      Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell is a novel therapy for relapse and refractory hematologic malignancy. Characteristics of CAR T cells are associated with clinical efficacy and toxicity. The type of serum supplements used during cultivation affects the immunophenotype and function of viral-based CAR T cells. This study explores the effect of serum supplements on nonviral piggyBac transposon CAR T-cell production.


      PiggyBac CD19 CAR T cells were expanded in cultured conditions containing fetal bovine serum, human AB serum or xeno-free serum replacement. We evaluated the effect of different serum supplements on cell expansion, transduction efficiency, immunophenotypes and antitumor activity.


      Xeno-free serum replacement exhibited comparable CAR surface expression, cell expansion and short-term antitumor activity compared with conventional serum supplements. However, CAR T cells cultivated with xeno-free serum replacement exhibited an increased naïve/stem cell memory population and better T-cell expansion after long-term co-culture as well as during the tumor rechallenge assay.


      Our study supports the usage of xeno-free serum replacement as an alternative source of serum supplements for piggyBac-based CAR T-cell expansion.

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