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Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Mar;20(3):264-9.

Enhancement of the antitumor activity of interleukin-12 by targeted delivery to neovasculature.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a heterodimeric cytokine with potent immunostimulatory activity and anti-angiogenic properties. Its clinical applications are limited, however, by severe side-effects. Here we report that an IL-12 fusion protein, consisting of IL-12 fused to a human antibody fragment specific to the oncofetal ED-B domain of fibronectin, markedly enhances the antitumor activity of this cytokine, as demonstrated in a mouse lung-metastasis model and in two models of mice bearing different aggressive murine tumors. The residual small tumor masses seen in the treated mice were infiltrated with lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells and had elevated interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). These results are of therapeutic relevance as the ED-B domain of fibronectin, a naturally occurring marker of angiogenesis identical in mouse and man, is expressed in the majority of aggressive solid tumors but is not detectable in normal vessels and tissues.

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