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Bioconjug Chem. 1998 Jul-Aug;9(4):482-9.

Recombinant immunocytokines targeting the mouse transferrin receptor: construction and biological activities.

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Department of Immunology and Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Localized cytokine therapies with recombinant monoclonal antibody-cytokine fusion proteins, designated immunocytokines, have become of increasing interest for tumor immunotherapy, since they direct immunomodulatory cytokines into the tumor microenvironment. To investigate their mechanisms of action in a variety of syngeneic tumor models, recombinant mouse cytokines IL2 and GM-CSF were engineered as fusion proteins to the carboxyl terminus of a chimeric rat/mouse antitransferrin receptor antibody, ch17217 and expressed in stable-transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells. The recombinant immunocytokines were readily purified by affinity chromatography and their binding characteristics were identical to those shown for the ch17217 antibody. The IL2 immunocytokine had an activity similar to recombinant mouse IL2, whereas the GM-CSF immunocytokine had enhanced cytokine activity relative to recombinant mouse GM-CSF. The clearance rates of ch17217 and the GM-CSF and IL2 immunocytokines were relatively similar with elimination phases (t1/2alpha) of 1.8 h and distribution phases (t1/2beta) of 83, 88, and 91 h, respectively. Both immunocytokines demonstrated effective antitumor activity by suppressing the growth of hepatic metastases of mouse neuroblastoma and pulmonary metastases of mouse colon carcinoma in syngeneic A/J and BALB/c mice, respectively. These results indicate that biologically effective IL2 and GM-CSF immunocytokines combine the targeting ability of an antitransferrin receptor monoclonal antibody with the immunomodulatory functions of each cytokine. Because of the universal expression of the transferrin receptor on mouse tumor cell lines, these constructs should prove useful to determine their efficacy in a wide variety of syngeneic mouse tumor models and to perform detailed studies of their modes of action.

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