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Title:
TANDEM REPEAT CANCER-TARGETING PEPTIDES FOR MOLECULAR CONJUGATION OR ENGINEERING AND USES THEREOF IN CANCER THERANOSTICS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/163097
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An isolated cancer-targeting peptide that includes at least two copies of the amino acid sequence PFLP (SEQ ID NO: 1) or PELF (SEQ ID NO: 2). Also disclosed is a pharmaceutical composition for treating cancer. The composition contains the isolated cancer-targeting peptide and an anti-cancer agent. Further disclosed is a bispecific anti-cancer antibody that includes the isolated cancer targeting peptide and an antigen-binding peptide that stimulates T cell activity. Methods are provided for treating cancer by administering the pharmaceutical composition or the bispecific anti-cancer antibody. Further provided is a method for diagnosing cancer by administering a radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide to an individual and imaging a location of the radionuclide.

Inventors:
YU JOHN (US)
YU ALICE (US)
WANG SHENG-HUNG (TW)
Application Number:
PCT/US2021/017331
Publication Date:
August 19, 2021
Filing Date:
February 10, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CHANG GUNG MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (TW)
YU JOHN (US)
YU ALICE (US)
International Classes:
C07K7/08; A61K9/127; A61K31/704; A61K38/10; A61K45/06
Domestic Patent References:
WO2019086627A12019-05-09
WO2000056755A12000-09-28
Foreign References:
US20130142867A12013-06-06
US20140371079A12014-12-18
US7504490B12009-03-17
US20110167514A12011-07-07
Other References:
CHUNG, JE ET AL.: "Self-assembled micellar nanocomplexes comprising green tea catechin derivatives and protein drugs for cancer therapy", NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY, vol. 9, no. 11, November 2014 (2014-11-01), pages 907 - 912, XP055416641, DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2014.208
BANERJEE, SR ET AL.: "Clinical Applications of Gallium-68", APPLIED RADIATION AND ISOTOPES, vol. 76, June 2013 (2013-06-01), pages 2 - 13, XP055595274, DOI: 10.1016/j.apradiso. 2013.01.03 9
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WIDOM, Russell, L. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. 1. An isolated cancer-targeting peptide, comprising at least two copies of the amino acid sequence PFLP (SEQ ID NO: 1) or PELF (SEQ ID NO: 2).

2. The isolated cancer-targeting peptide of claim 1 , wherein the peptide includes two overlapping copies of SEQ ID NO: 1.

3. The isolated cancer-targeting peptide of claim 2, having the amino acid sequence RPFLPFLPY (SEQ ID NO: 5) or RPFLPFLPYRPFLPFLPY (SEQ ID NO: 6).

4. The isolated cancer-targeting peptide of claim 1 , wherein the peptide includes at least two copies of SEQ ID NO: 2.

5. The isolated cancer-targeting peptide of claim 4, having the amino acid sequence of RPFLFPFLFY (SEQ ID NO: 7) or RPFLFPFLFYRPFLFPFLFY (SEQ ID NO: 8).

6. A pharmaceutical composition for treating cancer, comprising the isolated cancer-targeting peptide of claim 1 and an anti-cancer agent.

7. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 6, further comprising a micellar nanocomplex having a core encapsulating the anti-cancer agent and a shell that includes the isolated cancer-targeting peptide.

8. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 7, wherein the isolated cancer targeting peptide is conjugated to polyethylene glycol.

9. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 8, wherein the anti-cancer agent is a therapeutic monoclonal antibody selected from anti-HER2/neu, anti-PD-1, anti-PD- Ll, and anti-CTLA4.

10. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 9, further comprising epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate, wherein the anti-cancer agent is an anti-HER2/neu monoclonal antibody.

11. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 8, wherein the anti-cancer agent is doxorubicin, vincristine, vinorelbine, paclitaxel, or irinotecan.

12. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 6, wherein the anti-cancer agent includes a radioisotope.

13. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 12, wherein the radioisotope is 90Y, 125I, 68Ga, 188Re, inIn, or 131I.

14. A bispecific anti-cancer antibody, comprising the isolated cancer-targeting peptide of claim 1 and an antigen-binding peptide that stimulates T cell activity.

15. The bispecific anti-cancer antibody of claim 14, wherein the antigen is selected from the group consisting of CD3, PD-1, CTLA-4, LAG-3, TIM-3, TIGIT, VISTA, B7-H3, 0X40, GITR, ICOS, and 41BB.

16. The bispecific anti-cancer antibody of claim 15, wherein the bispecific anti cancer antibody is a heterodimer consisting of SEQ ID NO: 12 and SEQ ID NO: 14.

17. A method for treating cancer, comprising administering the pharmaceutical composition of claim 6 to a subject in need thereof.

18. A method for treating cancer, comprising administering the pharmaceutical composition of claim 10 to a subject in need thereof.

19. A method for treating cancer, comprising administering the pharmaceutical composition of claim 13 to a subject in need thereof.

20. A method for treating cancer, comprising administering the bispecific antibody of claim 14 to a subject in need thereof.

21. A method for diagnosing cancer in an individual, the method comprising: administering to the individual a radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide that contains at least two copies of the amino acid sequence PFLP (SEQ ID NO: 1) or PELF (SEQ ID NO: 2); and subjecting the individual to an imaging technique to determine a location and an amount of the radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide in the individual, wherein the individual is diagnosed with cancer when the amount of the radionuclide- labeled cancer-targeting peptide localized to an area of a tissue is above a background level in a neighboring area of the tissue.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the radionuclide is 68Ga, the cancer targeting peptide has the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 6, and the imaging technique is positron enhanced tomography.

Description:
TANDEM REPEAT CANCER-TARGETING PEPTIDES FOR MOLECULAR CONJUGATION OR ENGINEERING AND USES THEREOF IN CANCER THERANOSTICS

BACKGROUND

Recurrence of cancer is a major clinical challenge. Cancer stem cells, which exist as a subpopulation in a tumor, are particularly resistant to chemotherapy drugs and radiation. See Lee et al., 2015, FASEB J. 29:Supplement 629.18. After conventional chemotherapy, an elevated proportion of cancer stem cells in tumors is an important predictive factor for cancer recurrence. See Lee et al.

It has been reported that Glucose regulated protein of 78 kDa (GRP78), a member of the HSP70 protein family, is found on the surface of a variety of cancer cells but not on normal cells. See Wang et al., 2016, Biomaterials 94:31-44 and Liu et al. 2013, Clin. Cancer Res. 19:6802-11. GRP78 has also been implicated in both cancer cell drug resistance and stem-like cell behaviors, and has further been shown to be a targetable cell surface receptor. See Bachelder, 2018. GRP78 is thus an attractive target for anti-cancer therapies that should reduce damage to normal cells and reduce recurrence.

Cancer-targeting peptides (CTPs) that bind specifically to GRP78 have been previously identified. See Wang et al. The CTPs were found to interact with a peptide-binding domain (PBD) of GRP78 in a linear-peptide conformation. These CTPs, when conjugated to the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin, have been shown to enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of this drug, and also target both cancer cells and cancer-stem cells, thereby reducing the recurrence rates of cancer. See Liu et al.

There is a need to develop CTPs having higher affinity for cancer stem cells and to develop anti-cancer treatment modalities based on the CTPs.

SUMMARY

To meet this need, an isolated cancer-targeting peptide is disclosed that includes at least two copies of the amino acid sequence PFLP (SEQ ID NO: 1) or PFLF (SEQ ID NO: 2).

Also disclosed herein is a pharmaceutical composition for treating cancer.

The composition contains the isolated cancer-targeting peptide and an anti-cancer agent. Further, a bispecific anti-cancer antibody is disclosed. This antibody includes the isolated cancer-targeting peptide and an antigen-binding peptide that stimulates T cell activity.

Moreover, methods for treating cancer by administering the pharmaceutical composition or the bispecific anti-cancer antibody are both within the scope of the invention.

Another method is disclosed for diagnosing cancer. The method is carried out by administering an individual a radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide that contains at least two copies of the amino acid sequence PFLP (SEQ ID NO: 1) or PFLF (SEQ ID NO: 2) and subjecting the individual to an imaging technique to determine a location and an amount of the radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide.

The details of several embodiments of the present invention are set forth in both the description and the drawings below. All features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and the drawings, as well as from the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The description below refers to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Fig. 1 is a bar graph showing, for each of the four indicated radio-labelled peptides, the percent injected dose per g (%ID/g) determined by positron emission tomography (PET) analysis after injection into tumor-bearing mice. Peptide sequences are shown in Table 1 below.

Fig. 2 is a bar graph showing relative signal ratio in tumor tissue sections of tumor-bearing mice injected with radiolabeled peptides P6, F4P6, PI 3 or F4P13.

Fig. 3 is a diagram of a bispecific anti-cancer antibody construct of the invention. a-CD3 = anti-CD3 scFv, Fc(K) = heavy chain with knob dimerization sequence, Fc(H) = heavy chain with hole dimerization sequence, F4P6-TR-CTP = F4P6 tandem repeat cancer-targeting peptide that binds to GRP-78.

Fig. 4A is a bar graph showing percent lysis (Lysis %) of TOV21G ovarian cancer cells after 40 h incubation with PBMC effector cells in the absence (PBMC) or presence (Ctrl-BsAb and (F4P6-BsAb) of bispecific antibodies at the indicated concentration. Fig. 4B is a bar graph showing percent lysis (Lysis %) of NCI-N87 gastric cancer cells after 90 h incubation with PBMC effector cells in the absence (PBMC) or presence (Ctrl-BsAb and (F4P6-BsAb) of bispecific antibodies at the indicated concentration. Fig. 5 schematically depicts anti-cancer micellar nanocomplexes (MNC).

EGCG = epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate; oEGCG = oligomerized epigallocatechin-3-O- gallate; PEG = poly(ethylene glycol); TR-CTP = tandem repeat cancer-targeting peptide.

Fig. 6 is a bar graph showing percent survival of BT474 human breast carcinoma cells incubated with vehicle, Herceptin, MNC-Herceptin, or F4P6-MNC- Herceptin as indicated.

Fig. 7 is a plot of tumor volume versus days after injection into mice of N87 tumor cells. Mice were injected once weekly for 4 weeks with the indicated treatment. * p = 0.041.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As summarized above, an isolated cancer-targeting peptide is provided that includes at least two copies of the amino acid sequence PFLP (SEQ ID NO: 1).

The two copies of PFLP in the cancer-targeting peptide can overlap with each other. For example, the cancer-targeting peptide can be RPFLPFLPY (SEQ ID NO: 5) and RPFLPFLPYRPFLPFLPY (SEQ ID NO: 6).

Another isolated cancer-targeting peptide includes at least two copies of PFLF (SEQ ID NO: 2). Examples of this peptide include RPFLFPFLFY (SEQ ID NO: 7) and RPFLFPFLFYRPFLFPFLFY (SEQ ID NO: 8). The above-described cancer-targeting peptides can specifically bind to

GRP-78 on cancer cells. In other words, no additional amino acids are required. As such, encompassed by the invention are any of the above cancer-targeting peptides that are free of the sequence RLLDT (SEQ ID NO: 15).

Also within the scope of the invention is a cancer-treating pharmaceutical composition that includes any of the above-described isolated cancer-targeting peptides and an anti-cancer agent.

In certain compositions, the anti-cancer agent is a monoclonal antibody, e.g., anti-HER2/neu, anti-PD-1, anti-PD-Ll, or anti-CTLA4. In other compositions the anti-cancer agent is a chemotherapy agent, e.g., doxorubicin, vincristine, vinorelbine, paclitaxel, or irinotecan.

Further, the anti-cancer agent in the pharmaceutical composition can include a radioisotope, e.g., 90 Y, 125 I, 188 Re, 68 Ga, in In, or 131 I. In a specific example, the radioisotope is chelated by a chelating agent that is conjugated to the cancer- targeting peptide.

Referring back to the cancer-treating pharmaceutical composition, a particular example includes a micellar nanocomplex (MNC) having a core encapsulating the anti-cancer agent and a shell that includes the isolated cancer-targeting peptide.

The core can be, e.g., a monoclonal antibody complexed with oligomeric epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG). In a specific composition, the monoclonal antibody is an anti-HER2/neu antibody, e.g., trastuzumab.

The shell can be formed of a conjugate of EGCG and polyethylene glycol (PEG) to which the cancer-targeting peptide is attached, e.g., to the PEG. The shell can further include a PEG/EGCG conjugate that is free of the cancer-targeting peptide.

Alternatively, the shell can be a liposome formed of distearoylphosphatidyl- choline, cholesterol, and PEG-distearoylphosphoethanolamine. Polymers such as poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) and polyvinylchloride can also be used as a component of the shell.

The scope of the invention also encompasses a bispecific anti-cancer antibody that includes any of the isolated cancer-targeting peptides described above and an antigen-binding peptide that stimulates T cell activity. Exemplary antigen-binding peptides specifically bind to CD3, PD-1, CTLA-4, LAG-3, TIM-3, TIGIT, VISTA, B7-H3, 0X40, GITR, ICOS, or 41BB. The antigen-binding peptides can be, e.g., a single chain Fv (scFv) or a single-domain antibody. In an exemplary bispecific anti cancer antibody, the antigen-binding peptide is an anti-CD3 scFv. A specific example of the bispecific anti-cancer antibody is a heterodimer consisting of SEQ ID NO: 12 and SEQ ID NO: 14.

Methods for treating cancer are provided that take advantage of the cancer targeting properties of the pharmaceutical compositions and bispecific anti-cancer antibodies set forth supra.

For example, one method for treating cancer is carried out by administering to a cancer patient the pharmaceutical composition described above that includes a cancer-targeting peptide and an anti-cancer agent. In a specific method, cancer is treated by administering a MNC having a core of oligomeric EGCG complexed with trastuzumab and a shell that contains (i) the cancer-targeting peptide attached to a PEG-EGCG conjugate and (ii) a PEG-EGCG conjugate lacking the peptide.

A distinct method for treating cancer is accomplished by administering the bispecific anti-cancer antibody described above to a cancer patient. In one example, the bispecific anti-cancer antibody is a heterodimer consisting of SEQ ID NO: 12 and SEQ ID NO: 14.

The cancers that can be treated by the above methods include, but are not limited to, breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, kidney cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, melanoma, embryonal carcinoma, leukemia, and osteosarcoma.

Mentioned above is a method for diagnosing cancer using a radionuclide- labeled cancer-targeting peptide that contains at least two copies of the amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO: 1 or SEQ ID NO: 2. The radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide can have the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NOs: 5, 6, 7, or 8.

To accomplish the method, the radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide is administered to, e.g., injected into, an individual suspected of having cancer. The individual is then subjected to an imaging technique, such as positron emission tomography, to quantify the amount of the radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide that accumulated in various body tissues. Cancer is diagnosed if the quantity of the radionuclide-labeled cancer-targeting peptide accumulated in a localized area of a tissue is greater than the background level in neighboring areas of the tissue.

In a specific method, a cancer-targeting peptide having the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 6 is labeled with radionuclide 68 Ga and administered to the individual.

Without further elaboration, it is believed that one skilled in the art can, based on the disclosure herein, utilize the present disclosure to its fullest extent.

The following specific examples are, therefore, to be construed as merely descriptive, and not limitative of the remainder of the disclosure in any way whatsoever. All publications and patent documents cited herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. EXAMPLES

Example 1: Tandem-repeat cancer targeting peptides (TR-CTPs)

TR-CTPs were designed that included at least one tandem repeat of a binding motif, i.e., PFLXi (where XI is P or F) found in CTPs previously described in US Patent 8846623. The peptide sequences are shown in Table 1 below, with the repeat sequences underlined and bolded. Note that in F4P6-TR-CTP and F5P6-TR-CTP, the repeat sequences overlap by one amino acid.

Not to be bound by theory, it is believed that the increased length of TR-CTP as compared to CTPs will prevent steric hindrance when incorporated into a bi specific antibody. Further, repeats of binding motifs should increase binding affinity. Moreover, the novel TR-CTPs described herein with repeats should be suitable for conjugation at either its N-terminus or its C-terminus.

Table 1. Amino acid sequences of TR-CTPs and CTPs

Example 2: Binding affinities of N-terminal extended TR-CTPs

Biotin-labeled TR-CTPs and CTPs were synthesized (Biotools Co., Ftd, Taiwan) to evaluate kinetics of binding to GRP78 by surface plasmon resonance. TR-CTPs and CTPs were extended by five amino acids (GGGGS; SEQ ID NO: 9) at their N-termini. The N-termini were labeled with a single biotin molecule per TR-CTP/CTP through an aminohexanoic acid linkage.

Also biotin labeled were two negative control peptides, in which the L-Eeu residues within the sequences of F4P6-TR-CTP and F4P13-TR-CTP were replaced with D-Eeu residues (dF4P6 and dF4P13, respectively). Streptavidin was immobilized to a sensor chip (CM5; GE Healthcare) having a matrix of carboxymethylated dextran covalently attached to a gold surface using a standard amine-coupling method according to established procedures (GE Healthcare). The biotin-labeled TR-CTPs were immobilized on the chip by flowing them over the chip at a flow rate of 5 pl/min using HBS-P+ (GE Healthcare) as the running buffer.

The binding affinities of various concentrations (-0.1-15 mM) of the peptide- binding domain of GRP78 (GRP78-PBD, amino acids 421-639) to the chip-bound TR-CTPs and CTPs were then analyzed using a BIACORE™ T200 instrument (GE Healthcare). Sensor chips were regenerated by washing the chip surface for 30 s with glycine buffer (10 mM; pH 11.5). Chips were reused after two chip regeneration cycles followed by a 120 s wash with running buffer. The results are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Binding affinity of GRP78-PBD for N-conjugated CTPs and TR-CTPs a = No binding signal detected

The dissociation constants (KD) for P6 series peptides (repeat sequence PFLP) P6-CTP (one copy), F4P6-TR-CTP (two copies), and F5P6-TR-CTP (four copies) were 1.9xlO 6 M, 1.2xlO 6 M, and 1.0xl0 6 M, respectively. The increase in binding affinities, i.e. decrease in KD, correlated with an increase in the number of copies of the binding sequence present in the TR-CTP peptide.

Similar results were found for the P13 series peptides (repeat sequence PFLF). The KD values for P13-CTP (one copy), F4P13-TR-CTP (two copies), and F5P13- TR-CTP (four copies) were 2.7xlO 6 M, 2.1xlO 6 M, and 6.1xl0 7 M. Among all peptides tested, the F5P13-TR-CTP demonstrated the highest binding affinity for the peptide binding domain of GRP78. The dissociation rate (K 0ff ) reflects the binding stability of TR-CTP/GRP78- PBD complexes. The smaller the K 0ff value the slower the dissociation rate, i.e., the greater the stability of the complex. As shown in Table 2, the K 0ff values for P6-CTP, F4P6-TR-CTP, and F5P6-TR-CTP were 3.0xl0 3 S 1 , 2.8xl0 3 S 1 , and 9.1xl0 4 S 1 , respectively. The K off values for P13-CTP, F4P13-TR-CTP, and F5P13-TR-CTP were 3.4xl0 3 S 1 , 1.7xl0 3 S 1 , and 1.2xl0 3 S 1 , respectively. A general correlation was seen between the number of repeat sequences in the TR-CTP and the dissociation rates.

As expected, the two D-Leu-substituted negative control peptides, i.e., dF4P6 and dF4P13, showed negligible binding to GRP78-PBD; their K D values could not be determined. See Table 2, last two rows.

Example 3 : Binding affinities of C-terminal extended TR-CTPs

The P13-series peptides described above in Example 1 were also biotin labeled after extending them at their C-termini with the sequence GGGGSK (SEQ ID NO: 10). Biotin was conjugated to the C-terminal lysine residue using standard techniques. Binding affinities of GRP78-PBD for the sensor chip-bound peptides were determined as described above in Example 2. The results are shown in Table 3 below. Table 3. Kinetics of GRP78-PBD binding to C-conjugated CTPs and TR-CTPs.

The binding affinities of GRP78-PBD to the C-terminal biotinylated peptides were similar to the affinities to their N-terminally labeled counterparts. Further, the binding affinities (K D ) and dissociation rates (K 0ff ) of F4P 13 -TR-CTP with C-terminal biotin and MF4P13-TR-CTP-cBiotin, both having 2 copies of PFLF, were all better than that of P13-CTP-cBiotin, having only one copy. Peptide MF4P13-TR-CTP has the same amino acid sequence as F4P13-TR-CTP with the addition of methionine at its N-terminus. Example 4. In vivo tumor targeting by TR-CTPs

The ability of TR-CTPs to target tumor cells in vivo was tested in N87 tumor bearing mice, a HER2-positive gastric cancer xenograft model. N87 tumors were established in NOD SCID gamma (NSG) mice using standard protocols. In brief, tumors were established by injecting the NSG mice subcutaneously with 3xl0 6 N87 cells per animal. Tumors were allowed to grow to a volume of 100-200 mm 3 prior to performing the treatments described below.

Four peptides, i.e., F4P13-TR-CTP, P13-CTP, F4P6-TR-CTP, and P6-CTP were labeled with 68 Ga using standard techniques. In brief, dodecane tetraacetic acid polyethylene glycol (DOTA-PEG3350) was conjugated to each peptide to form DOT A-CTP-PEG3350 (Mission Biotech, Taipei, Taiwan). Each DOTA-CTP- PEG3350 was mixed with 68 GaCb (itG, Germany) in 0.1 M sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.5) and incubated at 95 °C for 10 minutes. The 68 Ga-DOTA-CTP-PEG3350 were used directly without further purification.

More specifically, a 250 pCi dose of each of the four 68 Ga-labeled peptides mentioned above was separately injected intravenously into four NSG mice. Fifteen minutes post-injection, each mouse was scanned for 15 min. using a nanoScan PET/CT (Mediso Pacific) and static microPET images of tumors were obtained. Quantification of the images can be seen in Fig. 1. The results showed that the percent injected dose per gram (%ID/g) in the tumors after administration of F4P13- TR-CTP and F4P6-TR-CTP was significantly higher, as compared to P13-CTP and P6-CTP, respectively. Clearly, the presence of tandem repeats of the binding sequences, i.e., PFLF and PFLP, improved tumor targeting of the CTPs.

The PET studies were confirmed by autoradiographic studies of cryo- sectioned tumor tissue excised from the injected mice. The distribution pattern of all four 68 Ga-conjugated peptides was uneven throughout the tumors. Quantification of radiographic signals in tumor sections is shown in Fig 2. Radiographic signals in 68 Ga-F4P6-TR-CTP and 68 Ga-F4P13-TR-CTP-injected mice were higher relative to those of 68 Ga-P6-CTP and 68 Ga-P13-CTP-injected mice, respectively, in tumor tissue, indicating that the tandem repeat peptides, i.e., TR-CTPs, can better target cancer, as compared to CTPs. In particular, relative to the radiographic signal from 68 Ga-P6- CTP, set at 1, the radiographic signal of 68 Ga-P13-CTP, 68 Ga-F4P6-TR-CTP, and 68 Ga-F4P13-TR-CTP was 1.8, 2.3, and 11, respectively. Example 5. Bispecific antibodies

A bispecific antibody-like protein was engineered to evaluate the suitability of TR-CTPs for immunotherapy, taking advantage of the so-called “knob-and-hole” technology for high efficiency formation of heterodimers. See, e.g., US Patent 8961971. Briefly, an F4P6-TR-CTP was fused separately to the C-terminus of an

Fc-hole peptide and to the C-terminus of an Fc-knob peptide. An anti-CD3 scFv was fused to the N-terminus of the Fc-hole peptide. The bispecific antibody-like construct, designated as F4P6-BsAb, is shown schematically in Fig. 3. In this example, the F4P6-TR-CTP Fc-hole fusion has the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 12 and the F4P6-TR-CTP Fc-knob fusion has the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 14. A control antibody, i.e., Ctrl-BsAb, lacked the F4P6-TR-CTP sequence.

Following expression and purification of F4P6-BsAb, the kinetics of GRP78- PDB binding to it was evaluated by surface plasmon resonance as described in Example 1 above, differing in that the F4P6-BsAb was directly coupled to the CM5 sensor chip by amine-coupling. The results showed that GRP78-PBD had a KD value of l.lxlO 6 M and a K 0ff value of 9.4xl0 4 S _1 for F4P6-BsAb, values close to those of GRP78-PBD for the isolated peptide F4P6-TR-CTP (see Table 2).

Example 6. Killing of cancer cells induced by F4P6-BsAb The ability of bispecific antibody-like construct F4P6-BsAb to induce cell killing by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was tested on TOV21G ovarian cancer target cells and N87 gastric cancer target cells.

Target cells were seeded at 2xl0 4 cells per well of a 96-well electronic microtiter plate (“E-plate”; ACEA Biosciences, Inc.) and allowed to adhere for 2 h. PBMC effector cells, PBMC effector cells plus F4P6-BsAb, and PBMC effector cells plus Ctrl-BsAb that lacks the P4P6-TC-CTP sequence were added to reach a final effector-to-target ratio of 10:1. The concentration of F4P6-BsAb and Ctrl-BsAb was 12.5 nM. Data was gathered and quantified using an xCEFFigence Real-Time Cell Analysis system (“RTCA”; ACEA Biosciences, Inc.) as directed by the manufacturer. The results are shown in Figs. 4A and 4B.

In the presence of F4P6-BsAb, PBMC mediated lysis of 22% and 15% of TOV21G cells (Fig. 4A) and N87 cells (Fig. 4B), respectively, while cell lysis in the absence of F4P6-BsAb or in the presence of Ctrl-BsAb was not detectable. Example 7. TR-CTP micellar nanocomplexes

It is known that micellar nanocomplexes (MNC) having (i) a core formed of the anti-cancer monoclonal antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin®; anti-HER-2/neu mAh) and oligomerized epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (oEGCG), and (ii) a shell formed of poly(ethylene glycol)-EGCG (PEG-EGCG) has better tumor selectivity, greater cancer cell growth inhibitory activity, and a longer blood half-life, as compared to free Herceptin. See, e.g., Chung et al., Nat. Nano-technol. 9:907-12.

An MNC was prepared to test the ability of a TR-CTP to improve MNC effectiveness. F4P6-TR-CTP was conjugated to PEG-EGCG to yield F4P6-TR-CTP- PEG-EGCG as follows. F4P6-TR-CTP was PEGylated using CHO-PEG-NHS with addition of N,N-Diisopropylethylamine in dimethylformamide. F4P6-TR-CTP-PEG- EGCG was synthesized by the Baeyer reaction between the aldehyde (CHO) group of the PEGylated F4P6-TR-CTP and the nucleophilic ring of EGCG. The resulting product were dialyzed (MWCO = 3500) and lyophilized to give F4P6-TR-CTP-PEG- EGCG. See Chung et al.

A Herceptin/oEGCG core was prepared as described previously. See Chung et al. MNC were prepared by mixing together the Herceptin/oEGCG core with either PEG-EGCG to form MNC-Herceptin or F4P6-TR-CTP- PEG-EGCG to form F4P6- MNC-Herceptin. The MNC are shown diagrammatically in Fig. 5.

Example 8. Cancer cell killing in vitro by TR-CTP-MNC

The ability of F4P6-TR-CTP-MNC-Herceptin to kill cancer cells was compared to that of MNC-Herceptin in HER-2/neu. Briefly, BT-474 human breast carcinoma cells, which overexpress HER2/neu, were seeded at lxlO 4 cells per well in a 96- well E-plate and cultured for one day. Wells were treated with vehicle, Herceptin alone, MNC-Herceptin, or F4P6-TR-CTP-MNC-Herceptin in amounts corresponding to 0.5 mg/ml and 1.25 mg/ml Herceptin. Cell viability was assessed after 3 days using RTCA as described in Example 6, supra. The results, expressed as percent survival, are shown in Fig. 6.

At the concentrations tested, Herceptin alone did not inhibit survival of BT- 474 cells, as compared to vehicle control. MNC-Herceptin reduced cell survival to 30-40% at both tested concentrations, as compared to 100% survival for vehicle treated cells. F4P6-MNC-Herceptin was more effective at killing BT-474 breast cancer cells compared to either Herceptin alone or MNC-Herceptin. Indeed, treatment of cells with F4P6-MNC-Herceptin at a concentration corresponding to 1.25 mg/ml Herceptin unexpectedly reduced their survival to only 1% of vehicle control. Clearly, TR-CTP enhanced the in vitro cell killing activity of MNC-Herceptin.

Example 9. Cancer cell killing in vivo by TR-CTP-MNC

As Herceptin inhibits tumor growth, we sought to determine whether TR- CTP-MNC-Herceptin enhances the anti-cancer activity of Herceptin in vivo. N87 tumors were established as described above in Example 4. Mice bearing 100-200 mm 3 sized tumors were injected intravenously with 125 pg of either free Herceptin, MNC-Herceptin, or F4P6-MNC-Herceptin weekly for four weeks. The results are shown in Fig. 7.

F4P6-MNC-Herceptin inhibited tumor growth to a greater extent as compared to free Herceptin. Indeed, the tumor sizes in F4P6-MNC-Herceptin treated mice were significantly smaller than those in the Herceptin treated group 61 days after injection of tumor cells. See Fig. 7. Tumor growth inhibition mediated by F4P6-MNC- Herceptin was slightly greater than that mediated by MNC-Herceptin.

OTHER EMBODIMENTS

All of the features disclosed in this specification may be combined in any combination. Each feature disclosed in this specification may be replaced by an alternative feature serving the same, equivalent, or similar purpose. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is only an example of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

From the above description, one skilled in the art can easily ascertain the essential characteristics of the present invention, and without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, can make various changes and modifications of the invention to adapt it to various usages and conditions. Thus, other embodiments are also within the scope of the following claims.