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Lund K.,Affitech AS | Lund K.,University of Oslo | Bostad M.,University of Oslo | Skarpen E.,University of Oslo | And 9 more authors.
mAbs | Year: 2014

The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is expressed by a wide range of human carcinomas, making it an attractive diagnostic and therapeutic target in oncology. Its recent identification on cancer stem cells has raised further interest in its use for tumor targeting and therapy. Here, we present the characterization and therapeutic potential of 3-17I, a novel human EpCAM-targeting monoclonal antibody. Strong reaction of 3-17I was observed in all lung, colon, and breast human tumor biopsies evaluated. By flow cytometry and confocal fluorescence microscopy, we demonstrate that 3-17I specifically targets EpCAM-positive cell lines. We also show evidence for mAb-sequestration in endo-/lysosomes, suggesting internalization of 3-17I by receptor-mediated endocytosis. The ribosomal-inactivating toxin saporin was linked to 3-17I, creating the per se non-toxic immunotoxin 3-17I-saporin, a promising candidate for the drug delivery technology photochemical internalization (PCI). PCI is based on a light-controlled destruction of endolysosomal membranes and subsequent cytosolic release of the sequestered payload upon light exposure. EpCAM-positive human cancer cell lines MCF7 (breast), BxPC-3 (pancreas), WiDr (colon), and the EpCAM-negative COLO320DM (colon), were treated with 3-17I-saporin in combination with the clinically relevant photosensitizer TPCS2a (Amphinex), followed by exposure to light. No cytotoxicity was observed after treatment with 3-17I-saporin without light exposure. However, cell viability, proliferation and colony-forming capacity was strongly reduced in a light-dependent manner after PCI of 3-17I. Our results show that 3-17I is an excellent candidate for diagnosis of EpCAM-positive tumors and for development of clinically relevant antibody-drug conjugates, using PCI for the treatment of localized tumors. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

Nalwoga H.,University of Bergen | Ahmed L.,University of Bergen | Ahmed L.,BerGenBio | Arnes J.B.,University of Bergen | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Purpose Inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) and Axl receptor tyrosine kinase is being evaluated for targeted therapy in solid tumors. Both HIF-1α and Axl influence tumor growth and metastatic potential, and they have been linked to treatment failure in many cancers. However, there is a lack of reports on HIF-1α expression in African breast cancer, which has a poor prognosis, and novel treatment targets must therefore be established. Here, we aimed to evaluate HIF-1α in relation to Axl expression, angiogenesis markers, and other tumor characteristics in a series of African breast cancer. Methods Using immunohistochemistry, we examined 261 invasive breast cancers on tissue microarrays for HIF-1α and Axl as well as several other markers, and a subset of 185 cases had information on VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) expression, microvessel density (MVD), proliferating microvessel density (pMVD) and vascular proliferation index (VPI) for important comparisons. Results Strong HIF-1α expression was associated with increased Axl (p = 0.007), VEGF (p<0.0005), and p53 (p = 0.032) expression, as well as high tumor cell proliferation by Ki-67 (p = 0.006), and high tumor grade (p = 0.003). Tumors with strong HIF-1α expression had significantly higher MVD (p = 0.019) and higher pMVD (p = 0.027) than tumors with weak expression. © 2016 Nalwoga et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Evensen L.,University of Bergen | Micklem D.R.,University of Bergen | Micklem D.R.,BerGenBio | Link W.,University of Bergen | Lorens J.B.,University of Bergen
Cytometry Part A | Year: 2010

The successful progression to the clinic of angiogenesis inhibitors for cancer treatment has spurred interest in developing new classes of anti-angiogenic compounds. The resulting surge in available candidate therapeutics highlights the need for robust, high-throughput angiogenesis screening systems that adequately capture the complexity of new vessel formation while providing quantitative evaluation of the potency of these agents. Available in vitro angiogenesis assays are either cumbersome, impeding adaptation to high-throughput screening formats, or inadequately model the complex multistep process of new vessel formation. We therefore developed an organotypic endothelial-mural cell co-culture assay system that reflects several facets of angiogenesis while remaining compatible with high-throughput/high- content image screening. Co-culture of primary human endothelial cells (EC) and vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMC) results in assembly of a network of tubular endothelial structures enveloped with vascular basement membrane proteins, thus, comprising the three main components of blood vessels. Initially, EC are dependent on vSMC-derived VEGF and sensitive to clinical anti-angiogenic therapeutics. A subsequent phenotypic VEGFswitch renders EC networks resistant to anti-VEGF therapeutics, demarcating a mature vascular phenotype. Conversely, mature EC networks remain sensitive to vascular disrupting agents. Therefore, candidate anti-angiogenic compounds can be interrogated for their relative potency on immature and mature networks and classified as either vascular normalizing or vascular disrupting agents. Here, we demonstrate that the EC-vSMC co-culture assay represents a robust high-content imaging high-throughput screening system for identification of novel anti-angiogenic agents. A pilot highthroughput screening campaign was used to define informative imaging parameters and develop a follow-up dose-response scheme for hit characterization. High-throughput screening using the EC-vSMC co-culture assay establishes a new platform to screen for novel anti-angiogenic compounds for cancer therapy. © 2009 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.

Reusch U.,Affimed Therapeutics | Burkhardt C.,Affimed Therapeutics | Fucek I.,Affimed Therapeutics | Le Gall F.,Affimed Therapeutics | And 10 more authors.
mAbs | Year: 2014

To improve recruitment and activation of natural killer (NK) cells to lyse tumor cells, we isolated a human anti-CD16A antibody with similar affinity for the CD16A 158F/V allotypes, but no binding to the CD16B isoform. Using CD16A-targeting Fv domains, we constructed a tetravalent bispecific CD30/CD16A tandem diabody (TandAb®) consisting solely of Fv domains. This TandAb has two binding sites for CD16A and two for CD30, the antigen identifying Hodgkin lymphoma cells. The binding and cytotoxicity of the TandAb were compared with antibodies with identical anti-CD30 domains: (1) a native IgG, (2) an IgG optimized for binding to Fc receptors, and (3) a bivalent bispecific CD30/CD16A diabody. Due to its CD16A-bivalency and reduced koff, the TandAb was retained longer on the surface of NK cells than the IgGs or the diabody. This contributed to the higher potency and efficacy of the TandAb relative to those of the other anti-CD30 antibodies. TandAb cytotoxicity was independent of the CD16A allotype, whereas the anti-CD30 IgGs were substantially less cytotoxic when NK cells with low affinity CD16A allotype were employed. TandAb activation of NK cells was strictly dependent on the presence of CD30+ target cells. Therefore, the CD30/CD16A TandAb may represent a promising therapeutic for the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma; further, anti-CD16A TandAbs may function as potent immunotherapeutics that specifically recruit NK cells to destroy cancer cells. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

Kirane A.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Ludwig K.F.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Sorrelle N.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Haaland G.,University of Bergen | And 9 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2015

Repurposing "old" drugs can facilitate rapid clinical translation but necessitates novel mechanistic insight. Warfarin, a vitamin K "antagonist" used clinically for the prevention of thrombosis for more than 50 years, has been shown to have anticancer effects. We hypothesized that the molecular mechanism underlying its antitumor activity is unrelated to its effect on coagulation, but is due to inhibition of the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase on tumor cells. Activation of Axl by its ligand Gas6, a vitamin K-dependent protein, is inhibited at doses of warfarin that do not affect coagulation. Here, we show that inhibiting Gas6-dependent Axl activation with low-dose warfarin, or with other tumor-specific Axl-targeting agents, blocks the progression and spread of pancreatic cancer. Warfarin also inhibited Axl-dependent tumor cell migration, invasiveness, and proliferation while increasing apoptosis and sensitivity to chemotherapy. We conclude that Gas6-induced Axl signaling is a critical driver of pancreatic cancer progression and its inhibition with low-dose warfarin or other Axl-targeting agents may improve outcome in patients with Axl-expressing tumors. © 2015 AACR.

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