Trans-population graph-based coverage optimization of allogeneic cellular therapy

Sapir Israeli, Elizabeth F. Krakow, Martin Maiers, Corinne Summers, Yoram Louzoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pre-clinical development and in-human trials of ‘off-the-shelf’ immune effector cell therapy (IECT) are burgeoning. IECT offers many potential advantages over autologous products. The relevant HLA matching criteria vary from product to product and depend on the strategies employed to reduce the risk of GvHD or to improve allo-IEC persistence, as warranted by different clinical indications, disease kinetics, on-target/off-tumor effects, and therapeutic cell type (T cell subtype, NK, etc.). Objective: The optimal choice of candidate donors to maximize target patient population coverage and minimize cost and redundant effort in creating off-the-shelf IECT product banks is still an open problem. We propose here a solution to this problem, and test whether it would be more expensive to recruit additional donors or to prevent class I or class II HLA expression through gene editing. Study design: We developed an optimal coverage problem, combined with a graph-based algorithm to solve the donor selection problem under different, clinically plausible scenarios (having different HLA matching priorities). We then compared the efficiency of different optimization algorithms – a greedy solution, a linear programming (LP) solution, and integer linear programming (ILP) -- as well as random donor selection (average of 5 random trials) to show that an optimization can be performed at the entire population level. Results: The average additional population coverage per donor decrease with the number of donors, and varies with the scenario. The Greedy, LP and ILP algorithms consistently achieve the optimal coverage with far fewer donors than the random choice. In all cases, the number of randomly-selected donors required to achieve a desired coverage increases with increasing population. However, when optimal donors are selected, the number of donors required may counter-intuitively decrease with increasing population size. When comparing recruiting more donors vs gene editing, the latter was generally more expensive. When choosing donors and patients from different populations, the number of random donors required drastically increases, while the number of optimal donors does not change. Random donors fail to cover populations different from their original populations, while a small number of optimal donors from one population can cover a different population. Discussion: Graph-based coverage optimization algorithms can flexibly handle various HLA matching criteria and accommodate additional information such as KIR genotype, when such information becomes routinely available. These algorithms offer a more efficient way to develop off-the-shelf IECT product banks compared to random donor selection and offer some possibility of improved transparency and standardization in product design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1069749
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The bioinformatics methods used for this analysis were developed through a research grant funded by the US Office of Naval Research (N00014-23-1-2057).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Israeli, Krakow, Maiers, Summers and Louzoun.


  • HLA
  • NK
  • T cell
  • allogeneic
  • coverage
  • frequencies
  • model
  • therapies


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