, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 35-53
Date: 21 Dec 2012

Bispecific Antibodies and Trispecific Immunocytokines for Targeting the Immune System Against Cancer

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Abstract

Monoclonal anti-tumor antibodies (mAbs) that are clinically effective usually recruit, via their constant fragment (Fc) domain, Fc receptor (FcR)-positive accessory cells of the immune system and engage these additionally against the tumor. Since T cells are FcR negative, these important cells are not getting involved. In contrast to mAbs, bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) can be designed in such a way that they involve T cells. bsAbs are artificially designed molecules that bind simultaneously to two different antigens, one on the tumor cell, the other one on an immune effector cell such as CD3 on T cells. Such dual antibody constructs can cross-link tumor cells and T cells. Many such bsAb molecules at the surface of tumor cells can thus build a bridge to T cells and aggregate their CD3 molecules, thereby activating them for cytotoxic activity. BsAbs can also contain a third binding site, for instance a Fc domain or a cytokine that would bind to its respective cytokine receptor. The present review discusses the pros and cons for the use of the Fc fragment during the development of bsAbs using either cell-fusion or recombinant DNA technologies. The recombinant antibody technology allows the generation of very efficient bsAbs containing no Fc domain such as the bi-specific T-cell engager (BiTE). The strong antitumor activity of these molecules makes them very interesting new cancer therapeutics. Over the last decade, we have developed another concept, namely to combine bsAbs and multivalent immunocytokines with a tumor cell vaccine. The latter are patient-derived tumor cells modified by infection with a virus. The virus—Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV)—introduces, at the surface of the tumor cells, viral molecules that can serve as general anchors for the bsAbs. Our strategy aims at redirecting, in an Fc-independent fashion, activities of T cells and accessory cells against autologous tumor antigens. It creates very promising perspectives for a new generation of efficient and safe cancer therapeutics that should confer long-lasting anti-tumor immunity.