, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 155-161

Monoclonal antibodies targeting the VEGF receptor-2 (Flk1/KDR) as an anti-angiogenic therapeutic strategy

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Biological evidence suggests that interference with the function of the angiogenic growth factor receptor VEGFR2 (flk1/KDR) is a particularly promising strategy to inhibit tumor-induced angiogenesis. Proof of concept was established by developing a monoclonal rat anti-mouse VEGFR2 antibody (DC101) and showing that it potently blocked the binding of VEGF to its receptor, inhibited VEGF-induced signaling, and strongly blocked tumor growth in mice through an anti-angiogenic mechanism. Since DC101 does not cross-react with the human VEGFR2 KDR, anti-KDR monoclonal antibodies were generated by standard hybridoma technology and by using phage display library. High affinity antibodies (Kd = 4.9 × 101010 − 1.1 × 1010 9 M) were found with both approaches. The anti-KDR antibodies compete on an equimolar basis with VEGF for binding to KDR and inhibit with similar potency the VEGF-induced signaling and mitogenesis in human endothelial cells. Although these antibodies cannot be tested for in vivo efficacy in standard murine tumor models because of lack of species cross-reactivity, the similarity of their in vitro properties with those of DC101 suggests that they may be effective in blocking KDR function in vivo.