Targeting of cytokines into the tumor microenvironment using antibody-cytokine fusion proteins, called immunocytokines, represents a novel approach in cancer immunotherapy. This article summarizes therapeutic efficacy and immune mechanisms involved in targeting interleukin-2 (IL-2) to neuroectodermal, tumors using ganglioside GD2-specific antibody-IL-2 fusion protein (ch14.18-IL-2). Treatment of established melanoma metastases with ch14.18-IL-2 resulted in eradication of disease followed by a vaccination effect protecting mice from lethal challenges, with wild-type tumor calls. In a syngeneic neuroblastoma model, targeted IL-2 was effective in the amplification of a weak memory immune response previously induced by IL-12 gene therapy using an engineered linear version of this heterodimeric cytokine. These findings show that targeted IL-2 may provide an effective tool in cancer immunotherapy and establish the missing link between T cell-mediated, vaccination and objective clinical responses.
Key WordsNeuroblastoma Melanoma Immunotherapy Immunocytokines Interleukin-2 T cell memory
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