A superantigen-antibody fusion protein for T-cell immunotherapy of human B-lineage malignancies

C Gidlöf, M Dohlsten, P Lando, T Kalland, C Sundström, T H Tötterman
Blood 1997 March 15, 89 (6): 2089-97
The bacterial superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA) is an efficient activator of cytotoxic T cells when presented on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules of target cells. Our previous studies showed that such SEA-directed T cells efficiently lysed chronic B-lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) cells. Next, we made a mutated SEA-protein A (SEAm-PA) fusion protein with more than 1,000-fold reduced binding affinity for MHC class II compared with native SEA. The fusion protein was successfully used to direct T cells to B-CLL cells coated with different B lineage-directed monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs). In this communication, we constructed a recombinant anti-CD19-Fab-SEAm fusion protein. The MHC class II binding capacity of the SEA part was drastically reduced by a D227A point mutation, whereas the T-cell activation properties were retained. The Fab part of the fusion protein displayed a binding affinity for CD19+ cells in the nanomolar range. The anti-CD19-Fab-SEAm molecule mediated effective, specific, rapid, and perforin-like T-cell lysis of B-CLL cells at low effector to target cell ratios. Normal CD19+ B cells were sensitive to lysis, whereas CD34+ progenitor cells and monocytes/macrophages were resistant. A panel of CD19+ B-cell lines representing different B-cell developmental stages were efficiently lysed, and the sensitivity correlated with surface ICAM-1 expression. The anti-CD19-Fab-SEAm fusion protein mediated highly effective killing of tumor biopsy cells representing several types of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL). Humanized severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) mice carrying Daudi lymphoma cells were used as an in vivo therapy model for evaluation of the anti-CD19-Fab-SEAm fusion protein. Greater than 90% reduction in tumor weight was recorded in anti-CD19-Fab-SEAm-treated animals compared with control animals receiving an irrelevant Fab-SEAm fusion protein. The present results indicate that MoAb-targeted superantigens (SAgs) may represent a promising approach for T-cell-based therapy of CD19+ B-cell malignancies.

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