A plant-expressed conjugate vaccine breaks CD4(+) tolerance and induces potent immunity against metastatic Her2(+) breast cancer.
ABSTRACT: Passive antibody therapy for cancer is an effective but costly treatment modality. Induction of therapeutically potent anticancer antibodies by active vaccination is an attractive alternative but has proven challenging in cancer due to tolerogenic pressure in patients. Here, we used the clinically relevant cancer target Her2, known to be susceptible to targeting by antibody therapy, to demonstrate how potent antibody can be induced by vaccination. A novel 44kD Her2 protein fragment was generated and found to be highly effective at inducing anti-Her2 antibody including trastuzumab-like reactivities. In the tolerant and spontaneous BALB-neuT mouse model of metastatic breast cancer this Her2-targeting vaccine was only effective if the fragment was conjugated to a foreign immunogenic carrier; Fragment C of tetanus toxin. Only the conjugate vaccine induced high affinity anti-Her2 antibody of multiple isotypes and suppressed tumor development. The magnitude of CD4(+) T-cell help and breadth of cytokines secreted by the CD4(+) T helper (Th) cells induced to the foreign antigen was critical. We used a highly efficient plant-based bio-manufacturing process for protein antigens, magnICON, for vaccine expression, to underpin feasibility of future clinical testing. Hence, our novel Her2-targeting conjugate vaccine combines preclinical efficacy with clinical deliverability, thus setting the scene for therapeutic testing.
Project description:Background:Immunotoxins consisting of a toxin from bacteria or plants and a targeting module have been developed as potent anti-cancer therapeutics. The majority of them, especially those in preclinical or clinical testing stages, are fusion proteins of a toxin and antibody fragment. Immunotoxins based on full-length antibodies are less studied, even though the fragment crystallizable (Fc) domain plays an important role in regulating the concentration of immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the serum and in antibody-mediated immune responses against pathogens. Results:We devised a method to site-specifically conjugate IgG and another protein using a cysteine residue introduced into the IgG and a bio-orthogonally reactive unnatural amino acid incorporated into the other protein. The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2)-targeting IgG, trastuzumab, was engineered to have an unpaired cysteine in the heavy chain, and an unnatural amino acid with the azido group was incorporated into an engineered Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE24). The two protein molecules were conjugated site-specifically using a bifunctional linker having dibenzocyclooctyne and maleimide groups. Binding to Her2 and interaction with various Fc receptors of trastuzumab were not affected by the conjugation with PE24. The trastuzumab-PE24 conjugate was cytotoxic to Her2-overexpressing cell lines, which involved the inhibition of cellular protein synthesis due to the modification of elongation factor-2. Conclusions:We constructed the site-specifically conjugated immunotoxin based on IgG and PE24, which induced target-specific cytotoxicity. To evaluate the molecule as a cancer therapeutic, animal studies are planned to assess tumor regression, half-life in blood, and in vivo immunogenicity. In addition, we expect that the site-specific conjugation method can be used to develop other antibody-protein conjugates for applications in therapeutics and diagnostics.
Project description:Near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) is a promising cancer therapy based on a monoclonal antibody conjugated to a photosensitizer (IR700Dye) that is activated by near-infrared light irradiation. We previously reported on the use of NIR-PIT with a small protein mimetic, the Affibody molecule (6-7 kDa), instead of a monoclonal antibody. In this study, we investigated a combination of NIR-PIT for HER2-positive breast cancer cells (SK-BR3, MDA-MB361, and JIMT1) with HER2 Affibody-IR700Dye conjugate and trastuzumab-IR700Dye conjugate. HER2 Affibody and trastuzumab target different epitopes of the HER2 protein and do not compete. In vitro, the combination of NIR-PIT using both HER2 Affibody-IR700Dye conjugate and trastuzumab-IR700Dye conjugate induced necrotic cell death of HER2-positive breast cancer cells without damage to HER2-negative breast cancer cells (MCF7). It was more efficient than NIR-PIT using either the HER2 Affibody-IR700Dye conjugate alone or the trastuzumab-IR700Dye conjugate alone. Additionally, this combination of NIR-PIT was significantly effective against HER2 low-expressing cancer cells, trastuzumab-resistant cells (JIMT1), and brain metastatic cells of breast cancer (MDA-MB361). Furthermore, in vivo imaging exhibited the strong fluorescence intensity of both HER2 Affibody-IR700Dye conjugates and trastuzumab-Alexa488 conjugates in HER2-positive tumor, indicating that both HER2 Affibody and trastuzumab specifically bind to HER2-positive tumors without competing with each other. In conclusion, the combination of NIR-PIT using both HER2 Affibody and trastuzumab expands the targeting scope of NIR-PIT for HER2-positive breast cancer.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Although DNA vaccine holds a great potential for cancer immunotherapy, effective long-lasting antitumoral immunity sufficient to induce durable responses in cancer patients remains to be achieved. Considering the pivotal role of dendritic cells (DC) in the antigen processing and presentation, we prepared DC-targeting DNA vaccines by fusing tumor-associated antigen HER2/neu ectodomain to single chain antibody fragment (scFv) from NLDC-145 antibody specific for DC-restricted surface molecule DEC-205 (scFvNLDC-145), and explored its antitumoral efficacy and underlying mechanisms in mouse breast cancer models.<h4>Results</h4>In vivo targeting assay demonstrated that scFvNLDC-145 specifically delivered DNA vaccine-encoded antigen to DC. Compared with untargeted HER2/neu DNA vaccines, vaccination with scFvNLDC-145-HER2/neu markedly promoted the HER2/neu-specific cellular and humoral immune responses with long-lasting immune memory, resulting in effective protection against challenge of HER2/neu-positive D2F2/E2 breast tumor while ineffective in parental HER2/neu-negative D2F2 breast tumor. More importantly, in combination with temporary depletion of regulatory T cells (Treg) by low-dose cyclophosphamide, vaccination with scFvNLDC-145-HER2/neu induced the regression of established D2F2/E2 breast tumor and significantly retarded the development of spontaneous mammary carcinomas in transgenic BALB-neuT mice.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our findings demonstrate that DC-targeted DNA vaccines for in vivo direct delivery of tumor antigens to DC could induce potent antigen-specific cellular and humoral immune responses and, if additional combination with systemic Treg depletion, was able to elicit an impressively therapeutic antitumoral activity, providing a rationale for further development of this approach for cancer treatment.
Project description:Imaging agents and drug carriers are commonly targeted toward cancer cell through functionalization with specific recognition molecules. Quantum dots (QDs) are fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals whose extraordinary brightness and photostability make them attractive for direct fluorescent labeling of biomolecules or optical encoding of the membranes and cells. Here, we analyse the cytotoxicity of QD-encoded microcapsules, validate an approach to the activation of the microcapsule's surface for further functionalization with monoclonal antibody Trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the extracellular domain of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and already in clinical use for the treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer. In addition, we characterize the cell-specific targeting activity of the resultant bio-conjugate by immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and real-time analysis of interaction of the conjugates with live HER2 overexpressing human breast cancer cells. We demonstrate, that encapsulation of QDs into the polymer shell using the layer-by-layer deposition method yields highly fluorescent polyelectrolyte microcapsules with a homogeneous size distribution and biocompatibility upon <i>in vitro</i> treatment of cancer cells. Carbodiimide surface activation ensures optimal disperse and optical characteristics of the QD-encoded microcapsules before antibody conjugation. The prepared conjugates of the microcapsules with cancer-specific monoclonal antibody targeting HER2 provide sufficiently sensitive and specific antibody-mediated binding of the microcapsules with live cancer cells, which demonstrated their potential as prospective cancer cell-targeting agents.
Project description:We have demonstrated that microtubule destabilizing agents (MDAs) can sensitize tumors to oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV?51) in various preclinical models of cancer. The clinically approved T-DM1 (Kadcyla®) is an antibody-drug conjugate consisting of HER2-targeting trastuzumab linked to the potent MDA and maytansine derivative DM1. We reveal that combining T-DM1 with VSV?51 leads to increased viral spread and tumor killing in trastuzumab-binding, VSV?51-resistant cancer cells. In vivo, co-treatment of VSV?51 and T-DM1 increased overall survival in HER2-overexpressing, but trastuzumab-refractory, JIMT1 human breast cancer xenografts compared to monotherapies. Furthermore, viral spread in cultured HER2+ human ovarian cancer patient-derived ascites samples was enhanced by the combination of VSV?51 and T-DM1. Our data using the clinically approved Kadcyla® in combination with VSV?51 demonstrates proof of concept that targeted delivery of a viral-sensitizing molecule using an antibody-drug conjugate can enhance oncolytic virus activity and provides rationale for translation of this approach.
Project description:We report the first evaluation of plant-made conjugate vaccines for targeted treatment of B-cell follicular lymphoma (FL) in a Phase I safety and immunogenicity clinical study. Each recombinant personalized immunogen consisted of a tumor-derived, plant-produced idiotypic antibody (Ab) hybrid comprising the hypervariable regions of the tumor-associated light and heavy Ab chains, genetically grafted onto a common human IgG1 scaffold. Each immunogen was produced in Nicotiana benthamiana plants using twin magnICON vectors expressing the light and heavy chains of the idiotypic Ab. Each purified Ab was chemically linked to the carrier protein keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) to form a conjugate vaccine. The vaccines were administered to FL patients over a series of ?6 subcutaneous injections in conjunction with the adjuvant Leukine (GM-CSF). The 27 patients enrolled in the study had previously received non-anti-CD20 cytoreductive therapy followed by ?4 months of immune recovery prior to first vaccination. Of 11 patients who became evaluable at study conclusion, 82% (9/11) displayed a vaccine-induced, idiotype-specific cellular and/or humoral immune response. No patients showed serious adverse events (SAE) related to vaccination. The fully scalable plant-based manufacturing process yields safe and immunogenic personalized FL vaccines that can be produced within weeks of obtaining patient biopsies.
Project description:Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is a proto-oncogene that, when mutated or overexpressed, plays an important role in oncogenesis. The landscape of HER2-positive breast cancer has changed dramatically over the past 2 decades with the FDA approval of a growing number of agents (antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and antibody-drug conjugates) targeting the HER2 receptor. HER2 inhibition has also been approved for HER2-positive gastric cancer. HER2 is amplified in 9% and mutated in 3% of lung cancer. Historically, HER2-targeted therapy for lung cancer with trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and trastuzumab emtansine has failed to demonstrate a survival benefit. Trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) is a novel antibody-drug conjugate with a tetrapeptide linker, which delivers a topoisomerase I inhibitor with a drug-to-antibody ratio of 7~8. The potency of the active payload, as well as its significant bystander effect, resulted in significant anti-tumor activity. The DESTINY-Lung01 trial evaluated T-DXd in HER2-positive non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and reported a progression-free survival of 14 months in HER2-mutated NSCLC, earning its breakthrough designation by the FDA. In this review, we will discuss the structural characteristics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics of T-DXd. We will also shed light on the preclinical and ongoing clinical trials of T-DXd along with future directions in the management of HER2 positive lung cancer.
Project description:Targeting protein degradation with Proteolysis-Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) is an area of great current interest in drug discovery. Nevertheless, although the high effectiveness of PROTACs against a wide variety of targets has been established, most degraders reported to date display limited intrinsic tissue selectivity and do not discriminate between cells of different types. Here, we describe a strategy for selective protein degradation in a specific cell type. We report the design and synthesis of a trastuzumab-PROTAC conjugate (Ab-PROTAC <b>3</b>) in which E3 ligase-directed degrader activity is caged with an antibody linker which can be hydrolyzed following antibody-PROTAC internalization, releasing the active PROTAC and inducing catalytic protein degradation. We show that <b>3</b> selectively targets bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) for degradation only in HER2 positive breast cancer cell lines, while sparing HER2 negative cells. Using live cell confocal microscopy, we show internalization and lysosomal trafficking of the conjugate specifically in HER2 positive cells, leading to the release of active PROTAC in quantities sufficient to induce potent BRD4 degradation. These studies demonstrate proof-of-concept for tissue-specific BRD4 degradation, overcoming limitations of PROTAC selectivity, with significant potential for application to novel targets.
Project description:The prognosis of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has radically changed in recent years and continues to improve due to the broad application of effective therapies like monoclonal antibodies and small molecules targeting HER2. Persistent dependency of tumor cells on the oncogene HER2, on one hand, as well as low expression levels in healthy tissue, on the other hand, make this protein an ideal target for anti-cancer therapy. New HER2 targeting strategies including targeted delivery of cytotoxic drugs via HER2 receptor have been developed. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three new drugs for the treatment of HER2-positive MBC: the antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab deruxtecan and the two tyrosine kinase inhibitors neratinib and tucatinib. Here, we summarize recent publications and developments of novel anti-HER2 therapies like monoclonal antibodies with improved properties compared to trastuzumab and bispecific antibodies, which bind two different HER-epitopes or bring T cells closer to tumor cells. Furthermore, novel antibody-drug conjugates and small molecules against HER2 are discussed. These developments coupled with new combination strategies (eg, with CDK4/6 inhibitors or immunotherapy) will change the treatment landscape for patients with HER2-positive MBC very soon and will hopefully further improve clinical outcomes.
Project description:Clinical studies validated antibodies directed against HER2, trastuzumab, and pertuzumab, as useful methodology to target breast cancer cases where HER2 is expressed. The hope was that HER2 targeting using these antibodies in ovarian cancer patients would prove useful as well, but clinical studies have shown lackluster results in this setting, indicating a need for a more comprehensive approach. Immunotherapy approaches stimulating the innate immune system show great promise, although enhancing natural killer (NK) function is not an established mainstream immunotherapy. This study focused on a new nanobody platform technology in which the bispecific antibody was altered to incorporate a cytokine. Herein we describe bioengineered CAM1615HER2 consisting of a camelid VHH antibody fragment recognizing CD16 and a single chain variable fragment (scFv) recognizing HER2 cross-linked by the human interleukin-15 (IL-15) cytokine. This tri-specific killer engager (TriKE<sup>TM</sup>) showed in vitro prowess in its ability to kill ovarian cancer human cell lines. In addition, we demonstrated its efficacy in inducing potent anti-cancer effects in an in vivo xenograft model of human ovarian cancer engrafting both cancer cells and human NK cells. While previous approaches with trastuzumab and pertuzumab faltered in ovarian cancer, the hope is incorporating targeting and cytokine priming within the same molecule will enhance efficacy in this setting.