Nanoparticle T-cell engagers as a modular platform for cancer immunotherapy

Kinan Alhallak, Jennifer Sun, Katherine Wasden, Nicole Guenthner, Julie O'Neal, Barbara Muz, Justin King, Daniel Kohnen, Ravi Vij, Samuel Achilefu, John F DiPersio, Abdel Kareem Azab
Leukemia 2021 January 21
T-cell-based immunotherapy, such as CAR-T cells and bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), has shown promising clinical outcomes in many cancers; however, these therapies have significant limitations, such as poor pharmacokinetics and the ability to target only one antigen on the cancer cells. In multiclonal diseases, these therapies confer the development of antigen-less clones, causing tumor escape and relapse. In this study, we developed nanoparticle-based bispecific T-cell engagers (nanoBiTEs), which are liposomes decorated with anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting T cells, and mAbs targeting the cancer antigen. We also developed a nanoparticle that targets multiple cancer antigens by conjugating multiple mAbs against multiple cancer antigens for T-cell engagement (nanoMuTEs). NanoBiTEs and nanoMuTEs have a long half-life of about 60 h, which enables once-a-week administration instead of continuous infusion, while maintaining efficacy in vitro and in vivo. NanoMuTEs targeting multiple cancer antigens showed greater efficacy in myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo, compared to nanoBiTEs targeting only one cancer antigen. Unlike nanoBiTEs, treatment with nanoMuTEs did not cause downregulation (or loss) of a single antigen, and prevented the development of antigen-less tumor escape. Our nanoparticle-based immuno-engaging technology provides a solution for the major limitations of current immunotherapy technologies.

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