- Genetically modified natural killer cells specifically recognizing the tumor-associated antigens ErbB2/HER2 and EpCAM (2004)
- The continuously growing natural killer (NK) cell line NK-92 is highly cytotoxic against malignant cells of various origin without affecting normal human cells. Based on this selectivity, the potential of NK-92 cells for adoptive therapy is currently being investigated in phase I clinical studies. To further enhance the antitumoral activity of NK-92 cells and expand the range of tumor entities suitable for NK-92-based therapies, here by transduction with retroviral vectors we have generated genetically modified NK-92 cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors specific either for the tumor-associated ErbB2 (HER2/neu) antigen or the human Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (Ep-CAM). Both antigens are overexpressed by many tumors of epithelial origin. The chimeric antigen receptors consist of either the ErbB2 specific scFv(FRP5) antibody fragment or the Ep-CAM specific scFv(MOC31), a flexible hinge region derived from CD8, and transmembrane and intracellular regions of the CD3 zeta chain. Transduced NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta or NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells express high levels of the fusion proteins on the cell surface as determined by FACS analysis. In europium release assays no difference in cytotoxic activity of NK-92 and transduced NK-92 cells towards ErbB2 or Ep-CAM negative targets was found. However, even at low effector to target ratios transduced NK-92 cells specifically and efficiently lysed established ErbB2 or Ep-CAM expressing tumor cells that were completely resistant to cytolytic activity of parental NK-92 cells. Similarly, ErbB2-positive primary breast cancer cells isolated from pleural effusions of patients with recurrent disease were selectively killed by NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta. In an in vivo model in immunodeficient mice treatment with retargeted NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta, but not parental NK-92 cells resulted in markedly delayed growth of ErbB2 transformed cancer cells. These results demonstrate that efficient retargeting of NK-92 cytotoxicity can be achieved, and might allow the generation of potent cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of ErbB2 and Ep-CAM expressing malignancies. This therapeutic approach might be applicable for a large variety of different cancers where suitable cell surface antigens have been identified.
- ErbB2/HER2-specific NK cells for adoptive cancer immunotherapy (2013)
- Poster presentation: 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Significant progress has been made over the last decade towards realizing the potential of natural killer (NK) cells for cancer immunotherapy. NK cells can respond rapidly to transformed and stressed cells, and have the intrinsic potential to extravasate and reach their targets in almost all body tissues. In addition to donor-derived primary NK cells, also continuously expanding cytotoxic cell lines such as NK-92 are being considered for adoptive cancer immunotherapy. High cytotoxicity of NK-92 has previously been shown against malignant cells of hematologic origin in preclinical studies, and general safety of infusion of NK-92 cells has been established in phase I clinical trials. To enhance their therapeutic utility, we genetically modified NK-92 cells to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) specific for tumor-associated surface antigens. Such CAR were composed of a tumor-specific scFv antibody fragment fused via hinge and transmembrane domains to intracellular signaling moieties such as CD3 zeta chain, or composite fusion molecules also containing a costimulatory protein domain in addition to CD3 zeta. For development towards clinical applications, here a codon-optimized second generation CAR was constructed that consists of an ErbB2-specific scFv antibody domain fused via a linker to a composite CD28-CD3 zeta signaling domain. GMP-compliant protocols for vector production, lentiviral transduction and expansion of a genetically modified NK-92 single cell clone (NK-92/5.28.z) were established. Functional analysis of NK-92/5.28.z cells revealed high and stable CAR expression, selective cytotoxicity against ErbB2-expressing but otherwise NK-resistant tumor cells of different origins in vitro, as well as homing to ErbB2-expressing tumors in vivo. Furthermore, antigen specificity and selective cytotoxicity of these cells were retained in vivo, resulting in antitumoral activity against subcutaneous and intracranial glioblastoma xenografts in NSG mice. Ongoing work now focuses on the development of these cells for adoptive immunotherapy of ErbB2-positive glioblastoma.
- Chemical Chaperones Improve Protein Secretion and Rescue Mutant Factor VIII in Mice with Hemophilia A. (2012)
- nefficient intracellular protein trafficking is a critical issue in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases and in recombinant protein production. Here we investigated the trafficking of factor VIII (FVIII), which is affected in the coagulation disorder hemophilia A. We hypothesized that chemical chaperones may be useful to enhance folding and processing of FVIII in recombinant protein production, and as a therapeutic approach in patients with impaired FVIII secretion. A tagged B-domain-deleted version of human FVIII was expressed in cultured Chinese Hamster Ovary cells to mimic the industrial production of this important protein. Of several chemical chaperones tested, the addition of betaine resulted in increased secretion of FVIII, by increasing solubility of intracellular FVIII aggregates and improving transport from endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi. Similar results were obtained in experiments monitoring recombinant full-length FVIII. Oral betaine administration also increased FVIII and factor IX (FIX) plasma levels in FVIII or FIX knockout mice following gene transfer. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo applications of betaine were also able to rescue a trafficking-defective FVIII mutant (FVIIIQ305P). We conclude that chemical chaperones such as betaine might represent a useful treatment concept for hemophilia and other diseases caused by deficient intracellular protein trafficking.