Tumor-targeted IL-2 amplifies T cell-mediated immune response induced by gene therapy with single-chain IL-12

Academic Article


  • Induction, maintenance, and amplification of tumor-protective immunity after cytokine gene therapy is essential for the clinical success of immunotherapeutic approaches. We investigated whether this could be achieved by single-chain IL-12 (scIL-12) gene therapy followed by tumor-targeted IL-2 using a fusion protein containing a tumor-specific recombinant anti- ganglioside GD2 antibody and IL-2 (ch14.18-IL-2) in a poorly immunogenic murine neuroblastoma model. Herein, we demonstrate the absence of liver and bone marrow metastases after a lethal challenge with NXS2 wild-type cells only in mice (five of six animals) vaccinated with scIL-12-producing NXS2 cells and given a booster injection of low-dose ch14.18-IL-2 fusion protein. This tumor-protective immunity was effective 3 months after initial vaccination, in contrast to control animals treated with a non-specific fusion protein or an equivalent mixture of antibody and IL-2. Only vaccinated mice receiving the tumor-specific ch14.18-IL-2 fusion protein revealed a reactivation of CD8+ T cells and subsequent MHC class I-restricted tumor target cell lysis in vitro. The sequential increase in the usage of TCR chains Vβ11 and -13 in mouse CD8+ T cells after vaccination and amplification with ch14.18-IL-2 suggests that the initial polyclonal CD8+ T cell response is effectively boosted by targeted IL-2. In conclusion, we demonstrate that a successful boost of a partially protective memory T cell immune response that is induced by scIL-12 gene therapy could be generated by tumor-specific targeting of IL-2 with a ch14.18-IL-2 fusion protein. This approach could increase success rates of clinical cancer vaccine trials.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lode HN; Xiang R; Duncan SR; Theofilopoulos AN; Gillies SD; Reisfeld RA
  • Start Page

  • 8591
  • End Page

  • 8596
  • Volume

  • 96
  • Issue

  • 15