June 22, 2020 / Stephan Eisler

Joint research paper on targeted nanobody-scTRAIL fusion protein published in Frontiers in Pharmacology

A Novel Anti-Kv10.1 Nanobody Fused to Single-Chain TRAIL Enhances Apoptosis Induction in Cancer Cells

F. Hartung, T. Krüwel, X. Shi, K. Pfizenmaier, R. Kontermann, P. Chames, F. Alves, and L. Pardo. Front Pharmacol



Antibody-based therapies hold promise for a safe and efficient treatment of cancer. The identification of target tumor cells through a specific antigen enriched on their surface and the subsequent delivery of the therapeutic agent only to those cells requires, besides the efficacy of the therapeutic agent itself, the identification of an antigen enriched on the surface of tumor cells, the generation of high affinity antibodies against that antigen. We have generated single-domain antibodies (nanobodies) against the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv10.1, which outside of the brain is detectable almost exclusively in tumor cells. The nanobody with highest affinity was fused to an improved form of the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand TRAIL, to target this cytokine to the surface of tumor cells. The resulting construct, VHH-D9-scTRAIL, shows rapid and strong apoptosis induction in different tumor models in cell culture. The construct combines two sources of specificity, the expression of the antigen restricted to tumor cells and the tumor selectivity of TRAIL. Such specificity combined with the high affinity obtained through nanobodies make the novel agent a promising concept for cancer therapy.

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