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Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Feb;6(2):562-9.

Target-specific cytotoxic activity of recombinant immunotoxin scFv(MUC1)-ETA on breast carcinoma cells and primary breast tumors.

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Protein Engineering and Biotherapy, Advanced Centre for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer, Tata Memorial Centre, Navi Mumbai-410 208, India.


MUC1 is a mucin family protein, overexpressed in more than 90% of breast cancers in an underglycosylated form, exposing the core peptides of the extracellular domain that act as a potential target for antibody-mediated therapy. We have developed an anti-MUC1 scFv antibody from a phage library of mice immunized with synthetic peptide MUC1-variable number of tandem repeats. MUC1 binding phages were affinity selected through biopanning using a biotin-streptavidin pull-down method. The selected phage clones showed target-specific binding to MUC1-expressing cells. Fusion of truncated Pseudomonas aeruginosa exotoxin A (ETA) to a high binder, phage-derived scFv clone and bacterial expression and purification of recombinant scFv(MUC1)-ETA immunotoxin were done with good yield and purity. In vitro target-specific cytotoxic activity and target-specific binding of immunotoxin were shown on MUC1-expressing cells and primary breast tumor samples. A truncated ETA fusion protein expressed from the same vector but lacking scFv did not show cytotoxic effects, confirming target specificity. Our results suggest that the scFv(MUC1)-ETA immunotoxin has therapeutic potential and deserves further development and characterization for MUC1-specific breast cancers treatment.

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