Dual B- and T-cell de-immunization of recombinant immunotoxin targeting mesothelin with high cytotoxic activity

Oncotarget 2016 May 4 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Mazor R, Onda M, Park D, Addissie S, Xiang L, Zhang J, Hassan R, Pastan I.


Recombinant immunotoxins (RITs) are genetically engineered proteins being developed to treat cancer. They are composed of an Fv that targets a cancer antigen and a portion of a protein toxin. Their clinical success is limited by their immunogenicity. Our goal is to produce a new RIT that targets mesothelin and is non-immunogenic by combining mutations that decrease B- and T-cell epitopes. Starting with an immunotoxin that has B-cell epitopes suppressed, we added mutations step-wise that suppress T-cell epitopes. The final protein (LMB-T14) has greatly reduced antigenicity as assessed by binding to human anti-sera and a greatly decreased ability to activate helper T-cells evaluated in a T-cell activation assay. It is very cytotoxic to mesothelioma cells from patients, and to cancer cell lines. LMB-T14 produces complete remissions of a mesothelin expressing cancer (A431/H9) xenograft. The approach used here can be used to de-immunize other therapeutic foreign proteins.