The discovery of chemoresistant cancer stem cells (CSCs) in carcinomas has created the need for therapies that specifically target these subpopulations of cells. Here, we characterized a bispecific targeted toxin that is composed of two antibody fragments and a catalytic protein toxin allowing it to bind two CSC markers on the same cell killing this resistant subpopulation. CD133 is a well-known CSC marker and has been successfully targeted and caused regression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in vivo. To enable it to bind a broader range of CSCs, an anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) scFv was added to create dEpCAMCD133KDEL, a deimmunized bispecific targeted toxin on a single amino acid chain. This bispecific potently inhibited protein translation and proliferation in vitro in three different types of carcinoma. Furthermore, in a CSC spheroid model dEpCAMCD133KDEL eliminated Mary-X spheroids, an inflammatory breast carcinoma. Finally, this bispecific also caused tumor regression in an in vivo model of HNSCC. This represents the first bispecific CSC-targeted toxin and warrants further development as a possible therapy for carcinoma.
- Cancer stem cells
- Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Targeted toxins