Enhanced lysis by bispecific oncolytic measles viruses simultaneously using HER2/neu or EpCAM as target receptors.
ABSTRACT: To target oncolytic measles viruses (MV) to tumors, we exploit the binding specificity of designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins). These DARPin-MVs have high tumor selectivity while maintaining excellent oncolytic potency. Stability, small size, and efficacy of DARPins allowed the generation of MVs simultaneously targeted to tumor marker HER2/neu and cancer stem cell (CSC) marker EpCAM. For optimization, the linker connecting both DARPins was varied in flexibility and length. Flexibility had no impact on fusion helper activity whereas length had. MVs with bispecific MV-H are genetically stable and revealed the desired double-target specificity. In vitro, the cytolytic activity of bispecific MVs was superior or comparable to mono-targeted viruses depending on the target cells. In vivo, therapeutic efficacy of the bispecific viruses was validated in an orthotopic ovarian carcinoma model revealing an effective reduction of tumor mass. Finally, the power of bispecific targeting was demonstrated on cocultures of different tumor cells thereby mimicking tumor heterogeneity in vitro, more closely reflecting real tumors. Here, bispecific excelled monospecific viruses in efficacy. DARPin-based targeting domains thus allow the generation of efficacious oncolytic viruses with double specificity, with the potential to handle intratumoral variation of antigen expression and to simultaneously target CSCs and the bulk tumor mass.
Project description:Oncolytic virotherapy is an emerging treatment modality that uses replication-competent viruses to destroy cancers. Many naturally occurring viruses have a preferential, although nonexclusive, tropism for tumors and tumor cells. In addition, specific targeting of cancer cells can be achieved at the virus entry level. We optimized retargeting of cell entry by elongating the measles virus attachment protein with designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), while simultaneously ablating entry through the natural receptors. DARPin-targeted viruses were strongly attenuated in off-target tissue, thereby enhancing safety, but completely eliminated tumor xenografts. Taking advantage of the unique properties of DARPins of being fused without generating folding problems, we generated a virus simultaneous targeting two different tumor markers. The bispecific virus retained the original oncolytic efficacy, while providing proof of concept for a strategy to counteract issues of resistance development. Thus, DARPin-targeting opens new prospects for the development of personalized, targeted therapeutics.
Project description:We have recently developed a retargeting system for lentiviral vectors (LVs) that relies on the pseudotyping of LVs with engineered measles virus (MV) glycoproteins (hemagglutinin (H) and fusion protein (F)). Specificity is provided through display of a single-chain antibody (scFv) as targeting domain by fusion to the MV-H protein. As an alternative to scFv, designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) can be selected to become high-affinity binders to any kind of target molecule. In this study six HER2/neu-specific DARPins exhibiting different affinities and binding to different HER2/neu epitopes were applied as targeting domains. All H-DARPin fusion proteins were efficiently expressed on the cell surface. Upon coexpression with F, syncytia formation was observed in HER2/neu positive cells only and correlated directly with the HER2/neu receptor density. All H-DARPin proteins incorporated into LVs, albeit at different levels. The vectors only transduced HER2/neu-positive cells, while HER2/neu-negative cells remained untransduced. Highest titers were observed with one particular DARPin binding to the membrane distal domain of HER2/neu with medium affinity. When applied in vivo systemically, HER2/neu-targeted LVs showed exclusive gene expression in HER2/neu positive tumor tissue, while vesicular stomatitis virus-glycoprotein (VSV-G) pseudotyped vectors mainly transduced cells in spleen and liver. Thus, DARPins are a promising alternative to scFvs for retargeting of LVs.
Project description:Mesothelioma usually leads to death within 8-14 months of diagnosis. To increase the potency of oncolytic measles viruses (MVs) for mesothelioma therapy, we inserted the interferon beta (IFNbeta) gene alone or with the human thyroidal sodium iodide symporter (NIS) gene into attenuated MV of the Edmonston lineage. The corresponding mouse IFNbeta (mIFNbeta) viruses, MV-mIFNbeta and MV-mIFNbeta-NIS, successfully propagated in human mesothelioma cells, leading to intercellular fusion and cell death. High levels of mIFNbeta were detected in the supernatants of the infected cells, and radioiodine uptake was substantial in the cells infected with MV-mIFNbeta-NIS. MV with mIFNbeta expression triggered CD68-positive immune cell infiltration 2-4 times higher than MV-GFP injected into the tumor site. The numbers of CD31-positive vascular endothelial cells within the tumor were decreased at day 7 after intratumoral injection of MV-mIFNbeta or MV-mIFNbeta-NIS, but not after MV-GFP and PBS administration. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that MV-mIFNbeta changed the microenvironment of the mesothelioma by increasing innate immune cell infiltration and inhibiting tumor angiogenesis. Oncolytic MVs coding for IFNbeta effectively retarded growth of human mesotheliomas and prolonged survival time in several mesothelioma tumor models. The results suggest that oncolytic MVs that code for IFNbeta and NIS will be potent and versatile agents for the treatment of human mesothelioma.
Project description:Oncolytic measles virus (MV) induces cell fusion and cytotoxicity in a CD46-dependent manner. Development of fully retargeted oncolytic MVs would improve tumor selectivity. The urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is a tumor and stromal target overexpressed in multiple malignancies. MV-H glycoproteins fully retargeted to either human or murine uPAR were engineered and their fusogenic activity was determined. Recombinant human (MV-h-uPA) and murine (MV-m-uPA) uPAR-retargeted MVs expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) were rescued and characterized. Viral expression of chimeric MV-H was shown by reverse transcription-PCR and Western blot. In vitro viral replication was comparable to MV-GFP control. The receptor and species specificity of MV-uPAs was shown in human and murine cells with different levels of uPAR expression. Removal of the NH(2)-terminal fragment ligand from MV-uPA by factor X(a) treatment ablated the MV-uPA functional activity. Cytotoxicity was shown in uPAR-expressing human and murine cells. MV-h-uPA efficiently infected human endothelial cells and capillary tubes in vitro. I.v. administration of MV-h-uPA delayed tumor growth and prolonged survival in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer xenograft model. Viral tumor targeting was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. MV-m-uPA transduced murine mammary tumors (4T1) in vivo after intratumor administration. MV-m-uPA targeted murine tumor vasculature after systemic administration, as shown by dual (CD31 and MV-N) staining of tumor capillaries in the MDA-MB-231 model. In conclusion, MV-uPA is a novel oncolytic MV associated with potent and specific antitumor effects and tumor vascular targeting. This is the first retargeted oncolytic MV able to replicate in murine cells and target tumor vasculature in a uPAR-dependent manner.
Project description:PURPOSE:The outgrowth of antigen-negative variants is a significant challenge for adoptive therapy with T cells that target a single specificity. Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) are typically designed with one or two scFvs that impart antigen specificity fused to activation and costimulation domains of T-cell signaling molecules. We designed and evaluated the function of CARs with up to three specificities for overcoming tumor escape using Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins (DARPins) rather than scFvs for tumor recognition. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:A monospecific CAR was designed with a DARPin binder (E01) specific for EGFR and compared with a CAR designed using an anti-EGFR scFv. CAR constructs in which DARPins specific for EGFR, EpCAM, and HER2 were linked together in a single CAR were then designed and optimized to achieve multispecific tumor recognition. The efficacy of CAR-T cells bearing a multispecific DARPin CAR for treating tumors with heterogeneous antigen expression was evaluated in vivo. RESULTS:The monospecific anti-EGFR E01 DARPin conferred potent tumor regression against EGFR+ targets that was comparable with an anti-EGFR scFv CAR. Linking three separate DARPins in tandem was feasible and in an optimized format generated a single tumor recognition domain that targeted a mixture of heterogeneous tumor cells, each expressing a single antigen, and displayed synergistic activity when tumor cells expressed more than one target antigen. CONCLUSIONS:DARPins can serve as high-affinity recognition motifs for CAR design, and their robust architecture enables linking of multiple binders against different antigens to achieve functional synergy and reduce antigen escape.
Project description:The tumor stroma acts as a barrier that limits the efficacy of systemically administered oncolytic viruses (OV). We previously demonstrated that stromal-selective, retargeted oncolytic measles viruses (MVs) delay in vivo tumor progression. To further characterize the contribution of stromal targeting to MV's overall in vivo efficacy in an experimental cancer model, a dual targeted oncolytic measles virus (MV-CD46-muPA) able to simultaneously infect murine stromal (via murine uPAR) and human cancer (via CD46) cells was developed. MV-CD46-muPA infected, replicated, and induced cytotoxicity in both murine and human cancer cells. Viral infection was successfully transferred from stromal to tumor cells in vitro, leading to tumor cell oncolysis. Systemic administration of MV-CD46-muPA led to improved antitumor effects in colon (HT-29) cancer xenografts compared to vehicle or CD46 only targeted MVs. These effects were associated with improved tumor viral deposition, increased apoptosis, and decreases in murine stromal endothelial cells and fibroblasts. MV-CD46-muPA modulated cell cycle, survival, proliferation, and metabolic pathways, as determined by functional proteomic analysis of treated tumors. The above findings further validate the concept that dual stromal and tumor cell viral targeting enhances the therapeutic effects of systemically administered OVs and support further preclinical and clinical development of stromal directed virotherapies.
Project description:Adenoviruses (Ads) hold great promise as gene vectors for diagnostic or therapeutic applications. The native tropism of Ads must be modified to achieve disease site-specific gene delivery by Ad vectors and this should be done in a programmable way and with technology that can realistically be scaled up. To this end, we applied the technologies of designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) and ribosome display to develop a DARPin that binds the knob domain of the Ad fiber protein with low nanomolar affinity (K(D) 1.35 nM) and fused this protein with a DARPin specific for Her2, an established cell-surface biomarker of human cancers. The stability of the complex formed by this bispecific targeting adapter and the Ad virion resulted in insufficient gene transfer and was subsequently improved by increasing the valency of adapter-virus binding. In particular, we designed adapters that chelated the knob in a bivalent or trivalent fashion and showed that the efficacy of gene transfer by the adapter-Ad complex increased with the functional affinity of these molecules. This enabled efficient transduction at low stoichiometric adapter-to-fiber ratios. We confirmed the Her2 specificity of this transduction and its dependence on the Her2-binding DARPin component of the adapters. Even the adapter molecules with four fused DARPins could be produced and purified from Escherichia coli at very high levels. In principle, DARPins can be generated against any target and this adapter approach provides a versatile strategy for developing a broad range of disease-specific gene vectors.
Project description:Multivalent binding proteins can gain biological activities beyond what is inherent in the individual binders, by bringing together different target molecules, restricting their conformational flexibility or changing their subcellular localization. In this study, we demonstrate a method to build up rigid multivalent and multispecific scaffolds by exploiting the modular nature of a repeat protein scaffold and avoiding flexible linkers. We use DARPins (Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins), synthetic binding proteins based on the Ankyrin-repeat protein scaffold, as binding units. Their ease of in vitro selection, high production yield and stability make them ideal specificity-conferring building blocks for the design of more complex constructs. C- and N-terminal DARPin capping repeats were re-designed to be joined by a shared helix in such a way that rigid connector modules are formed. This allows us to join two or more DARPins in predefined geometries without compromising their binding affinities and specificities. Nine connector modules with distinct geometries were designed; for eight of these we were able to confirm the structure by X-ray crystallography, while only one did not crystallize. The bispecific constructs were all able to bind both target proteins simultaneously.
Project description:Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy due to late detection associated with dissemination throughout the abdominal cavity. Targeted photodynamic therapy (tPDT) aimed at epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), overexpressed in over 90% of ovarian cancer metastatic lesions, is a promising novel therapeutic modality. Here, we tested the specificity and activity of conjugates of EpCAM-directed designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) with the photosensitizer IRDye 700DX in in vitro and in vivo ovarian cancer models. EpCAM-binding DARPins (Ec1: Kd = 68 pM; Ac2: Kd = 130 nM) and a control DARPin were site-specifically functionalized with fluorophores or IRDye 700DX. Conjugation of anti-EpCAM DARPins with fluorophores maintained EpCAM-specific binding in cell lines and patient-derived ovarian cancer explants. Penetration of DARPin Ec1 into tumor spheroids was slower than that of Ac2, indicative of a binding site barrier effect for Ec1. DARPin-IRDye 700DX conjugates killed EpCAM-expressing cells in a highly specific and illumination-dependent fashion in 2D and 3D cultures. Furthermore, they effectively homed to EpCAM-expressing subcutaneous OV90 xenografts in mice. In conclusion, the high activity and specificity observed in preclinical ovarian cancer models, combined with a high specificity in patient material, warrant a further investigation of EpCAM-targeted PDT for ovarian cancer.