Antibody-Redirected T-Cell Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors

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Sampson, John H

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The most common primary malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma, is uniformly fatal. Current therapy provides only incremental benefits in survival and is often incapacitating owing to limits defined by nonspecific toxicity. By contrast, immunotherapy offers a particularly promising approach, and has the theoretical potential to target and eliminate malignant cells with unprecedented specificity. The goal of this dissertation is to apply recombinant technologies to develop a new immune-based therapy for patients with malignant glioma. This work will span the design, production, and preclinical testing of a novel bispecific antibody designed to redirect T cells against a tumor-specific mutant of the epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFRvIII.

Chapters 1 and 2 will provide an overview of broad topics in antitumor immunotherapy and immune biology, with special focus on concepts as they relate to tumors of the central nervous system. In addition, the history and current state of bispecific antibodies, particularly those of the bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) subclass, as well as their potential role in the treatment of malignant disease, will be considered in detail. Data presented in Chapter 3 will describe our approach to generating novel bispecific tandem single-chain antibody reagents, while experiments in Chapter 4 will demonstrate the capacity of one of these molecules, an EGFRvIII-specific BiTE, to achieve antitumor efficacy both in vitro and in vivo using murine models of glioma. Addressing a major barrier to the translation of immune therapies for cancer, chapter 5 will establish a potential role for BiTEs in overcoming cell-mediated immune suppression associated with malignant disease. Lastly, Chapter 6 and 7 will report on emerging areas of study, including the use of syngeneic, transgenic murine systems, and strategies by which BiTEs may be propelled rapidly into early phase clinical trials.

In summary, separating BiTEs from other available immunotherapeutic approaches, our work in this field suggests that BiTEs are (1) highly-specific molecules that greatly reduce the risk of toxicity, (2) have the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in intracerebral tumors, and (3) may potentially overcome multiple mechanisms of immunosuppression present in patients with glioblastoma. Together, these studies have the potential to improve the clinical management of patients with glioblastoma through the generation of a novel therapeutic.






Choi, Bryan Daehahn (2014). Antibody-Redirected T-Cell Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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