W Wels

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany

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Publications (112)496.55 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While EGFRvIII appears a logical target for immunotherapy, only a subpopulation of tumor cells express EGFRvIII and immune escape has been demonstrated. ErbB2 is overexpressed in a substantial proportion of glioblastomas and has been successfully utilized in immunotherapies. Natural killer (NK) cells are the first line of defense against viral infections and malignant cells. The continuously growing cytotoxic cell line NK-92 holds promise for cancer immunotherapy. Safety of infusion of high doses of NK-92 was established in previous phase I clinical trials utilizing irradiated cells to prevent permanent engraftment.
    Neuro-oncology. 07/2014; 16 Suppl 3:iii44.
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    ABSTRACT: Background aims Cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells may offer a novel therapeutic approach for patients with malignancies relapsing after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Although CIK cells display negligible alloreactivity and cause minimal graft versus-host-disease (GVHD), high CIK cell doses required during relapse may pose a risk for severe GVHD, specifically in the mismatched or haploidentical transplantation setting. Manipulation of CIK cells may reduce risk for GVHD without affecting the anti-tumor potential. Methods In this pre-clinical study, we provide a detailed functional comparison of conventional and irradiated, CD56-enriched or T-cell receptor α/β-depleted CIK cells. Results In vitro analysis showed retained anti-leukemic and anti-tumor potential after CIK cell manipulation. Even being sequentially infused into immunodeficient mice grafted with malignant cells, cytotoxic effects were fewest after irradiation but were improved by CD56 enrichment and were best with conventional CIK cells. Hence, considering the proliferative capacity of inoculated malignancies and effector cells, a single dose of conventional CIK cells resulted in prolonged disease-free survival and elimination of rhabdomyosarcoma cells, whereas sequential infusions were needed to achieve comparable results in leukemia-bearing mice. However, this mouse model has limitations: highly effective conventional CIK cells demonstrated both limited xenogenic GVHD and low alloreactive potential in vitro. Conclusions Our study revealed that conventional CIK cells demonstrate no significant alloreactive potential but provide the strongest anti-tumor efficacy compared with manipulated CIK cells. Conventional CIK cells may therefore be tested in high numbers and short-term intervals in patients with impending relapse even after mismatched transplantation.
    Cytotherapy 01/2014; · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) plays an important role in essential cellular processes such as proliferation, survival and migration. Aberrant activation of EGFR is frequently found in human cancers of various origins and has been implicated in cancer pathogenesis. The therapeutic antibody cetuximab (Erbitux) inhibits tumor growth by binding to the extracellular domain of EGFR, thereby preventing ligand binding and receptor activation. This activity is shared by the single chain antibody fragment scFv(225) that contains the same antigen binding domain. The unrelated EGFR-specific antibody fragment scFv(30) binds to the intracellular domain of the receptor and retains antigen binding upon expression as an intrabody in the reducing environment of the cytosol. Here, we used scFv(225) and scFv(30) domains to generate a novel type of bispecific transmembrane antibody termed 225.TM.30, that simultaneously targets intra- and extracellular EGFR epitopes. Bispecific 225.TM.30 and related membrane-anchored monospecific 225.TM and TM.30 proteins carrying extracellular scFv(225) or intracellular scFv(30) antibody fragments linked to a transmembrane domain were expressed in EGFR-overexpressing tumor cells using a doxycycline-inducible retroviral system. Induced expression of 225.TM.30 and 225.TM, but not TM.30 reduced EGFR surface levels and ligand-induced EGFR activation, while all three molecules markedly inhibited tumor cell growth. Co-localization of 225.TM with EGFR was predominantly found on the cell surface, while interaction with 225.TM.30 and TM.30 proteins resulted in the redistribution of EGFR to perinuclear compartments. Our data demonstrate functionality of this novel type of membrane-anchored intrabodies in tumor cells and suggest distinct modes of action of mono- and bispecific variants.
    International Journal of Cancer 11/2013; · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple natural killer (NK) cell-based anticancer therapies are currently under development. Here, we compare the efficiency of genetically modified NK-92 cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) at killing NK cell-resistant B-lymphoid leukemia cells to the antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) of NK-92 cells expressing a high affinity variant of the IgG Fc receptor (FcγRIII). First, we compared in vitro the abilities of NK-92 cells expressing CD20-targeting CARs to kill primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells derived from 9 patients with active, untreated disease to the cytotoxicity of NK-92 cells expressing FcγRIII combined with either of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) rituximab or ofatumumab. We found that CAR-expressing NK-92 cells effectively kill NK cell-resistant primary CLL cells and that such a cytotoxic response is significantly stronger than that resulting from ADCC. For studying CAR-expressing NK cell-based immunotherapy in vivo, we established xenograft mouse models of residual leukemia using the human BCR-ABL1(+) cell lines SUP-B15 (CD19(+)CD20(-)) and TMD-5 (CD19(+)CD20(+)), two acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) lines that are resistant to parental NK-92 cells. Intravenous injection of NK-92 cells expressing CD19-targeting CARs eliminated SUP-B15 cells, whereas they had no such effect on TMD-5 cells. However, the intrafemoral injection of NK-92 cells expressing CD19-targeting CAR resulted in the depletion of TMD-5 cells from the bone marrow environment. Comparative studies in which NK-92 cells expressing either CD19- or CD20-targeting CARs were directly injected into subcutaneous CD19(+)CD20(+) Daudi lymphoma xenografts revealed that CD20-targeting CAR is superior to its CD19-specific counterpart in controlling local tumor growth. In summary, we show here that CAR-expressing NK-92 cells can be functionally superior to ADCC (as mediated by anti-CD20 mAbs) in the elimination of primary CLL cells. Moreover, we provide data demonstrating that the systemic administration of CAR-expressing NK-92 cells can control lymphoblastic leukemia in immunocompromised mice. Our results also suggest that the direct injection of CAR-expressing NK-92 cells to neoplastic lesions could be an effective treatment modality against lymphoma.
    Oncoimmunology. 10/2013; 2(10):e26527.
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    Pranav Oberoi, Winfried S Wels
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells hold great promise for adoptive cancer immunotherapy. The antitumor activity of NK cells can be enhanced by the transgene driven expression of chimeric antigen receptors that facilitate the selective recognition and killing of malignant cells. Recent data from our laboratory suggest that NK cells may similarly be "armed" against neoplastic cells by the expression of cancer-specific granzyme B-containing fusion proteins that are released as soluble factors upon NK-cell activation.
    Oncoimmunology. 08/2013; 2(8):e25220.
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells are cytotoxic lymphocytes involved in innate immunity. NK-92, a human NK cell line, may be targeted to tumor-associated antigens in solid malignancies where it exhibits antitumor efficacy, but its clinical utility for treating brain tumors is limited by an inability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We investigated the potential for focused ultrasound (FUS) to deliver targeted NK-92 cells to the brain using a model of metastatic breast cancer. HER-2-expressing human breast tumor cells were implanted into the brain of nude rats. The NK-92-scFv(FRP5)-zeta cell line expressing a chimeric HER-2 antigen receptor was transfected with super-paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles before intravenous injection, before and following BBB-disruption using focused ultrasound (551.5 kHz focused transducer, 0.33 MPa average peak rarefaction pressure) in the presence of a microbubble contrast agent. Baseline and post-treatment 1.5T and 7T MR imaging was performed, and histology used to identify NK-92 cells post-mortem. Contrast-enhanced MRI showed reproducible and consistent BBB-disruption. 7T MR images obtained at 16 hours post-treatment revealed a significant reduction in signal indicating the presence of iron-loaded NK-92 cells at the tumor site. The average ratio of NK-92 to tumor cells was 1:100 when NK cells were present in the vasculature at the time of sonication, versus 2:1000 and 1:1000 when delivered after sonication and without BBB-disruption, respectively. Our results offer a preclinical proof-of-concept that FUS can improve the targeting of immune cell therapy of brain metastases.
    Cancer Research 01/2013; · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Targeted T cells are emerging as effective non-toxic therapies for cancer. Multiple elements, however, contribute to the overall pathogenesis of cancer through both distinct and redundant mechanisms. Hence, targeting multiple cancer-specific markers simultaneously could result in better therapeutic efficacy. We created a functional chimeric antigen receptor-the TanCAR, a novel artificial molecule that mediates bispecific activation and targeting of T cells. We demonstrate the feasibility of cumulative integration of structure and docking simulation data using computational tools to interrogate the design and predict the functionality of such a complex bispecific molecule. Our prototype TanCAR induced distinct T cell reactivity against each of two tumor restricted antigens, and produced synergistic enhancement of effector functions when both antigens were simultaneously encountered. Furthermore, the TanCAR preserved the cytolytic ability of T cells upon loss of one of the target molecules and better controlled established experimental tumors by recognition of both targets in an animal disease model. This proof-of-concept approach can be used to increase the specificity of effector cells for malignant versus normal target cells, to offset antigen escape or to allow for targeting the tumor and its microenvironment.Molecular Therapy-Nucleic Acids (2013) 2, e105; doi:10.1038/mtna.2013.32; published online 9 July 2013.
    Molecular therapy. Nucleic acids. 01/2013; 2:e105.
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells are highly specialized effectors of the innate immune system that hold promise for adoptive cancer immunotherapy. Their cell killing activity is primarily mediated by the pro-apoptotic serine protease granzyme B (GrB), which enters targets cells with the help of the pore-forming protein perforin. We investigated expression of a chimeric GrB fusion protein in NK cells as a means to augment their antitumoral activity. For selective targeting to tumor cells, we fused the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) peptide ligand transforming growth factor α (TGFα) to human pre-pro-GrB. Established human NKL natural killer cells transduced with a lentiviral vector expressed this GrB-TGFα (GrB-T) molecule in amounts comparable to endogenous wildtype GrB. Activation of the genetically modified NK cells by cognate target cells resulted in the release of GrB-T together with endogenous granzymes and perforin, which augmented the effector cells' natural cytotoxicity against NK-sensitive tumor cells. Likewise, GrB-T was released into the extracellular space upon induction of degranulation with PMA and ionomycin. Secreted GrB-T fusion protein displayed specific binding to EGFR-overexpressing tumor cells, enzymatic activity, and selective target cell killing in the presence of an endosomolytic activity. Our data demonstrate that ectopic expression of a targeted GrB fusion protein in NK cells is feasible and can enhance antitumoral activity of the effector cells.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e61267. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) genomes are chromosomally integrated in all cells of an individual. They are normally transcriptionally silenced and transmitted only vertically. Enhanced expression of HERV-K accompanied by the emergence of anti-HERV-K-directed immune responses has been observed in tumor patients and HIV-infected individuals. As HERV-K is usually not expressed and immunological tolerance development is unlikely, it is an appropriate target for the development of immunotherapies. We generated a recombinant vaccinia virus (MVA-HKenv) expressing the HERV-K envelope glycoprotein (ENV), based on the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), and established an animal model to test its vaccination efficacy. Murine renal carcinoma cells (Renca) were genetically altered to express E. coli beta-galactosidase (RLZ cells) or the HERV-K ENV gene (RLZ-HKenv cells). Intravenous injection of RLZ-HKenv cells into syngenic BALB/c mice led to the formation of pulmonary metastases, which were detectable by X-gal staining. A single vaccination of tumor-bearing mice with MVA-HKenv drastically reduced the number of pulmonary RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules compared to vaccination with wild-type MVA. Prophylactic vaccination of mice with MVA-HKenv precluded the formation of RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules, whereas wild-type MVA-vaccinated animals succumbed to metastasis. Protection from tumor formation correlated with enhanced HERV-K ENV-specific killing activity of splenocytes. These data demonstrate for the first time that HERV-K ENV is a useful target for vaccine development and might offer new treatment opportunities for diverse types of cancer.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72756. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transfer of tumor-specific T cell receptor (TCR) genes into patient T cells is a promising strategy in cancer immunotherapy. We describe here a novel vector (CD8-LV) derived from lentivirus, which delivers genes exclusively and specifically to CD8(+) cells. CD8-LV mediated stable in vitro and in vivo reporter gene transfer as well as efficient transfer of genes encoding TCRs recognizing the melanoma antigen tyrosinase. Strikingly, T cells genetically modified with CD8-LV killed melanoma cells reproducibly more efficiently than CD8(+) cells transduced with a conventional lentiviral vector. Neither TCR expression levels, nor the rate of activation-induced death of transduced cells differed between both vector types. Instead, CD8-LV transduced cells showed increased granzyme B and perforin levels as well as an upregulation of CD8 surface expression in a small subpopulation of cells. Thus, a possible mechanism for CD8-LV enhanced tumor cell killing may be based on activation of the effector functions of CD8(+) T cells by the vector particle displaying OKT8-derived CD8-scFv and an increase of the surface density of CD8, which functions as co-receptor for tumor cell recognition. CD8-LV represents a powerful novel vector for TCR gene therapy and other applications in immunotherapy and basic research requiring CD8(+) cell-specific gene delivery.
    Blood 08/2012; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The serine protease granzyme B (GrB) plays an important role in the immune defense mediated by cytotoxic lymphocytes. Recombinant derivatives of this pro-apoptotic protein fused to tumor-targeting ligands hold promise for cancer therapy, but their applicability may be limited by promiscuous binding to nontarget tissues via electrostatic interactions. Here, we investigated cell binding and specific cytotoxicity of chimeric molecules consisting of wild-type or surface-charge-modified human GrB and the natural EGFR ligand TGFα for tumor targeting. We mutated two cationic heparin-binding motifs responsible for electrostatic interactions of GrB with cell surface structures, and genetically fused the resulting GrBcs derivative to TGFα for expression in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Purified GrBcs-TGFα (GrBcs-T) and a corresponding fusion protein employing wild-type GrB (GrB-T) displayed similar enzymatic activity and targeted cytotoxicity against EGFR-overexpressing breast carcinoma cells in the presence of an endosomolytic reagent. However, unspecific binding of the modified GrBcs-T variant to EGFR-negative cells was dramatically reduced, preventing the sequestration by nontarget cells in mixed cell cultures and increasing tumor-cell specificity. Likewise, modification of the GrB domain alleviated unspecific extracellular effects such as cell detachment indicative of extracellular matrix degradation. Our data demonstrate improved selectivity and functionality of surface-charge-modified GrBcs, suggesting this strategy as a general approach for the development of optimized GrB fusion proteins for therapeutic applications.
    Bioconjugate Chemistry 07/2012; 23(8):1567-76. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Targeted delivery of tumor-associated antigens to professional antigen-presenting cells (APC) is being explored as a strategy to enhance the antitumoral activity of cancer vaccines. Here, we generated a cell-based system for continuous in vivo production of a CTLA-4-ErbB2 fusion protein as a therapeutic vaccine. The chimeric CTLA-4-ErbB2 molecule contains the extracellular domain of CTLA-4 for specific targeting to costimulatory B7 molecules on the surface of APC, genetically fused to residues 1-222 of human ErbB2 (HER2) as an antigenic determinant. In wild-type BALB/c mice, inoculation of syngeneic epithelial cells continuously secreting the CTLA-4-ErbB2 fusion vaccine in the vicinity of subcutaneously growing ErbB2-expressing renal cell carcinomas resulted in the rejection of established tumors, accompanied by the induction of ErbB2-specific antibodies and cytotoxic T cells. In contrast, treatment with CTLA-4-ErbB2 vaccine-secreting producer cells alone was insufficient to induce tumor rejection in ErbB2-transgenic WAP-Her-2 F1 mice, which are characterized by pronounced immunological tolerance to the human self-antigen. When CTLA-4-ErbB2 producer cells were modified to additionally secrete interleukin (IL)-15, antigen-specific antitumoral activity of the vaccine in WAP-Her-2 F1 mice was restored, documented by an increase in survival, and marked inhibition of the growth of established ErbB2-expressing, but not antigen-negative tumors. Our results demonstrate that continuous in vivo expression of an APC-targeted ErbB2 fusion protein results in antigen-specific immune responses and antitumoral activity in tumor-bearing hosts, which is augmented by the pleiotropic cytokine IL-15. This provides a rationale for further development of this approach for specific cancer immunotherapy.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 02/2012; 61(9):1473-84. · 3.64 Impact Factor
  • Christiane Sahm, Kurt Schönfeld, Winfried S Wels
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells hold promise for adoptive cancer immunotherapy but are dependent on cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-2 for growth and cytotoxicity. Here, we investigated the consequences of ectopic expression of IL-15 in human NK cells. IL-2 and IL-15 belong to the common γ chain family of cytokines and have overlapping activities. Transduction of clinically applicable NK-92 cells with lentiviral vectors encoding human IL-15 resulted in predominantly intracellular expression of the cytokine, and STAT5 activation, proliferation and cytotoxicity of the producer cells in the absence of IL-2. Growth of non-transduced bystander cells was not supported, allowing rapid enrichment of gene-modified cells solely by IL-2 withdrawal. This was also the case upon transduction of NK-92 and NKL cells with a bicistronic lentiviral vector encoding IL-15 and a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting the pancarcinoma antigen EpCAM. Effector cells co-expressing CAR and IL-15 continued to proliferate in the absence of exogenous cytokines and displayed high and selective cell-killing activity against EpCAM-expressing breast carcinoma cells that were resistant to the natural cytotoxicity of unmodified NK cells. This strategy facilitates rapid isolation and continuous expansion of retargeted NK cells and may extend their potential clinical utility.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 02/2012; 61(9):1451-61. · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) has become an important treatment modality for patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is also under investigation for soft tissue sarcomas. The therapeutic success is still limited by minimal residual disease (MRD) status ultimately leading to patients' relapse. Adoptive donor lymphocyte infusions based on MRD status using IL-15-expanded cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells may prevent relapse without causing graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD). To generate preclinical data we developed mouse models to study anti-leukemic- and anti-tumor-potential of CIK cells in vivo. Immunodeficient mice (NOD/SCID/IL-2Rγc(-), NSG) were injected intravenously with human leukemic cell lines THP-1, SH-2 and with human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cell lines RH41 and RH30 at minimal doses required for leukemia or tumor engraftment. Mice transplanted with THP-1 or RH41 cells were randomly assigned for analysis of CIK cell treatment. Organs of mice were analyzed by flow cytometry as well as quantitative polymerase chain reaction for engraftment of malignant cells and CIK cells. Potential of CIK cells to induce GvHD was determined by histological analysis. Tissues of the highest degree of THP-1 cell expansion included bone marrow followed by liver, lung, spleen, peripheral blood (PB), and brain. RH30 and RH41 engraftment mainly took place in liver and lung, but was also detectable in spleen and PB. In spite of delayed CIK cell expansion compared with malignant cells, CIK cells injected at equal amounts were sufficient for significant reduction of RH41 cells, whereas against fast-expanding THP-1 cells 250 times more CIK than THP-1 cells were needed to achieve comparable results. Our preclinical in vivo mouse models showed a reliable 100% engraftment of malignant cells which is essential for analysis of anti-cancer therapy. Furthermore our data demonstrated that IL-15-activated CIK cells have potent cytotoxic capacity against AML and RMS cells without causing GvHD.
    Frontiers in Oncology 01/2012; 2:32.
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of high‐risk neuroblastoma (NB) represents a major challenge in paediatric oncology. Alternative therapeutic strategies include antibodies targeting the disialoganglioside GD2, which is expressed at high levels on NB cells, and infusion of donor‐derived natural killer (NK) cells. To combine specific antibody‐mediated recognition of NB cells with the potent cytotoxic activity of NK cells, here we generated clonal derivatives of the clinically applicable human NK cell line NK‐92 that stably express a GD2‐specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) comprising an anti‐GD2 ch14.18 single chain Fv antibody fusion protein with CD3‐ζ chain as a signalling moiety. CAR expression by gene‐modified NK cells facilitated effective recognition and elimination of established GD2 expressing NB cells, which were resistant to parental NK‐92. In the case of intrinsically NK‐sensitive NB cell lines, we observed markedly increased cell killing activity of retargeted NK‐92 cells. Enhanced cell killing was strictly dependent on specific recognition of the target antigen and could be blocked by GD2‐specific antibody or anti‐idiotypic antibody occupying the CAR’s cell recognition domain. Importantly, strongly enhanced cytotoxicity of the GD2‐specific NK cells was also found against primary NB cells and GD2 expressing tumour cells of other origins, demonstrating the potential clinical utility of the retargeted effector cells.
    Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 01/2012; 16(3). · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells can be engineered to kill resistant B-lymphoid cell lines and primary B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) cells after transfection with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) recognizing CD19 or CD20. Here we compared mRNA electroporation with lentiviral vector (LV) transduction for both CARs. Transfection efficiency and cytotoxicity of previously NK-92 resistant CLL cells were significantly higher after mRNA electroporation than after LV transduction. Further cell sorting of LV-transduced NK-92 cells resulted in a highly enriched population of transduced cells with significant target cell lysis. Compared to NK-92 cells, peripheral blood and cord blood cells consistently showed < 10% transfection efficiency with mRNA, while LV transduction varied between 8 and 16% for peripheral blood and 12 and 73% for cord blood. These results suggest that LV should be used to achieve sufficient transgene expression if blood NK cells are considered for CAR transduction. Transfection with mRNA results in clinically relevant levels of transfection only in NK-92 cells.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 12/2011; 53(5):958-65. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma (NB) represents a major challenge in paediatric oncology. Alternative therapeutic strategies include antibodies targeting the disialoganglioside GD(2) , which is expressed at high levels on NB cells, and infusion of donor-derived natural killer (NK) cells. To combine specific antibody-mediated recognition of NB cells with the potent cytotoxic activity of NK cells, here we generated clonal derivatives of the clinically applicable human NK cell line NK-92 that stably express a GD(2) -specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) comprising an anti-GD(2) ch14.18 single chain Fv antibody fusion protein with CD3-ζ chain as a signalling moiety. CAR expression by gene-modified NK cells facilitated effective recognition and elimination of established GD(2) expressing NB cells, which were resistant to parental NK-92. In the case of intrinsically NK-sensitive NB cell lines, we observed markedly increased cell killing activity of retargeted NK-92 cells. Enhanced cell killing was strictly dependent on specific recognition of the target antigen and could be blocked by GD(2) -specific antibody or anti-idiotypic antibody occupying the CAR's cell recognition domain. Importantly, strongly enhanced cytotoxicity of the GD(2) -specific NK cells was also found against primary NB cells and GD(2) expressing tumour cells of other origins, demonstrating the potential clinical utility of the retargeted effector cells.
    Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 05/2011; 16(3):569-81. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetically modified natural killer (NK) cells that recognize tumor-associated surface antigens have recently shown promise as a novel approach for cancer immunotherapy. To determine NK cell therapy response early, a real-time, noninvasive method to quantify NK cell homing to the tumor is desirable. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if MR imaging could provide a noninvasive, in vivo diagnosis of NK cell accumulation in epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-positive prostate cancers in a rat xenograft model. Genetically engineered NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-ζ cells, which express a chimeric antigen receptor specific to the tumor-associated EpCAM antigen, and nontargeted NK-92 cells were labeled with superparamagnetic particles of iron-oxides (SPIO) ferumoxides. Twelve athymic rats with implanted EpCAM positive DU145 prostate cancers received intravenous injections of 1.5×10(7) SPIO labeled NK-92 and NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-ζ cells. EpCAM-positive prostate cancers demonstrated a progressive and a significant decline in contrast-to-noise-ratio data at 1 and 24 h after injection of SPIO-labeled NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-ζ cells. Conversely, tumor contrast-to-noise-ratio data did not change significantly after injection of SPIO-labeled parental NK-92 cells. Histopathology confirmed an accumulation of the genetically engineered NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-ζ cells in prostate cancers. Thus, the presence or absence of a tumor accumulation of therapeutic NK cells can be monitored with cellular MR imaging. EpCAM-directed, SPIO labeled NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-ζ cells accumulate in EpCAM-positive prostate cancers.
    Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 10/2010; 65(3):756-63. · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aberrant activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been found in human cancers of various origins, and has been implicated in cancer pathogenesis. The therapeutic anti-EGFR antibodies cetuximab and matuzumab inhibit both ligand-induced receptor activation and growth of EGFR-expressing tumor cells. The efficacy of such EGFR-targeted therapies may be further enhanced by induction of functionally equivalent endogenous antibody responses. Here we describe novel peptide sequences selected from random peptide libraries for binding to single-chain antibody fragments of cetuximab or matuzumab. Two of these peptides characterized by KTL and YPLG motifs are recognized equally well by cetuximab and matuzumab, although nonoverlapping epitopes were previously reported for these antibodies. Immunization of experimental animals with synthetic KTL- and YPLG-containing peptides led to induction of antibodies that cross-react with human EGFR, and prevent binding of natural EGFR ligands, ligand-induced receptor activation and tumor cell growth in a manner similar to cetuximab and matuzumab. Our findings show that these peptide mimotopes can induce anti-EGFR antibodies with antitumoral activity, which may have implications for EGFR-specific cancer immunotherapy.
    Oncogene 08/2010; 29(32):4517-27. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In an attempt to improve TRAIL's (tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) tumor selective activity a variant was designed, in which the three TRAIL protomers are expressed as a single polypeptide chain (scTRAIL). By genetic fusion with a single-chain antibody fragment (scFv) recognizing the extracellular domain of ErbB2, we further equipped scTRAIL with tumor-targeting properties. We studied tumor targeting and apoptosis induction of scFv-scTRAIL in comparison with non-targeted scTRAIL. Importantly, the tumor antigen-targeted scTRAIL fusion protein showed higher apoptotic activity in vitro, with a predominant action by TRAIL-R2 signaling. Pharmacokinetic studies revealed increased plasma half-life of the targeted scTRAIL fusion protein compared with scTRAIL. In vivo studies in a mouse tumor model with xenotransplanted Colo205 cells confirmed greater response to the ErbB2-specific scTRAIL fusion protein compared with non-targeted scTRAIL both under local and systemic application regimen. Together, in vitro and in vivo data give proof of concept of higher therapeutic activity of tumor-targeted scFv-scTRAIL molecules. Further, we envisage that through targeting of scTRAIL, potential side effects should be minimized. We propose that scFv-mediated tumor targeting of single-chain TRAIL represents a promising strategy to improve TRAIL's antitumoral action and to minimize potential unwanted actions on normal tissues.Cell Death and Disease (2010) 1, e68; doi:10.1038/cddis.2010.45; published online 26 August 2010.
    Cell Death & Disease 08/2010; 1:e68. · 6.04 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
496.55 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
      • • Dr. Senckenbergisches Institut für Neuroonkologie
      • • Institut für Biomedizinische Forschung Frankfurt
      Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
  • 2000–2013
    • Georg-Speyer-Haus
      Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
    • Tel Aviv University
      • Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology
      Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2009–2011
    • Tufts Medical Center
      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2008–2009
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging
      San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 2007–2009
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      • Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
      Houston, TX, United States
  • 2005
    • University Hospital Frankfurt
      Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
  • 1995–2004
    • Clinic for Tumor Biology Freiburg
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1998
    • University of Freiburg
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1996
    • Evangelische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1992–1996
    • Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland