TEM8 Tri-specific Killer Engager binds both tumor and tumor stroma to specifically engage natural killer cell anti-tumor activity

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Abstract

Background The tumor microenvironment contains stromal cells, including endothelial cells and fibroblasts, that aid tumor growth and impair immune cell function. Many solid tumors remain difficult to cure because of tumor-promoting stromal cells, but current therapies targeting tumor stromal cells are constrained by modest efficacy and toxicities. TEM8 is a surface antigen selectively upregulated on tumor and tumor stromal cells, endothelial cells and fibroblasts that may be targeted with specific natural killer (NK) cell engagement. Methods A Tri-specific Killer Engager (TriKE) against TEM8 - € cam1615TEM8' - was generated using a mammalian expression system. Its function on NK cells was assessed by evaluation of degranulation, inflammatory cytokine production, and killing against tumor and stroma cell lines in standard co-culture and spheroid assays. cam1615TEM8-mediated proliferation and STAT5 phosphorylation in NK cells was tested and compared with T cells by flow cytometry. NK cell proliferation, tumor infiltration, and tumor and tumor-endothelium killing by cam1615TEM8 and interleukin-15 (IL-15) were assessed in NOD scid gamma (NSG) mice. Results cam1615TEM8 selectively stimulates NK cell degranulation and inflammatory cytokine production against TEM8-expressing tumor and stromal cell lines. The increased activation translated to superior NK cell killing of TEM8-expressing tumor spheroids. cam1615TEM8 selectively stimulated NK cell but not T cell proliferation in vitro and enhanced NK cell proliferation, survival, and tumor infiltration in vivo. Finally, cam1615TEM8 stimulated NK cell killing of tumor and tumor endothelial cells in vivo. Conclusions Our findings indicate that the cam1615TEM8 TriKE is a novel anti-tumor, anti-stroma, and anti-angiogenic cancer therapy for patients with solid tumors. This multifunctional molecule works by selectively targeting and activating NK cells by costimulation with IL-15, and then targeting that activity to TEM8+ tumor cells and TEM8+ tumor stroma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere004725
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 26 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH/NCI grants P01-CA111412 and R35 CA197292.

Funding Information:
This research received immunohistochemistry assistance from the University of Minnesota’s Biorepository and Laboratory Services program and was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
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Keywords

  • Immunotherapy
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Tumor Microenvironment

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