Publications by authors named "Giulio Fracasso"

45 Publications

High activity and low toxicity of a novel CD71-targeting nanotherapeutic named The-0504 on preclinical models of several human aggressive tumors.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2021 Feb 10;40(1):63. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

CNR - National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, Rome, Italy.

Background: Ferritin receptor (CD71) is an example of a very attractive cancer target, since it is highly expressed in virtually all tumor types, including metastatic loci. However, this target can be considered to be inaccessible to conventional target therapies, due to its presence in many healthy tissues. Here, we describe the preclinical evaluation of a tumor proteases-activatable human ferritin (HFt)-based drug carrier (The-0504) that is able to selectively deliver the wide-spectrum topoisomerase I inhibitor Genz-644282 to CD71-expressing tumors, preventing the limiting toxic effects associated with CD71-targeting therapies.

Methods: CD71 expression was evaluated using flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry techniques. The-0504 antiproliferative activity towards several cancer cell lines was assessed in vitro. The-0504 antitumor efficacy and survival benefit were evaluated in different human tumors, which had been grown either as xenografts or patient-derived xenografts in mice. The-0504 toxicology profile was investigated in multiple-cycle repeat-dose study in rodents.

Results: In vitro studies indicate that The-0504 is highly specific for CD71 expressing cells, and that there is a relationship between CD71 levels and The-0504 anticancer activity. In vivo treatments with The-0504 showed a remarkable efficacy, eradicating several human tumors of very diverse and aggressive histotypes, such as pancreas, liver and colorectal carcinomas, and triple-negative breast cancer.

Conclusions: Durable disease-free survival, persistent antitumor responses after discontinuation of treatment and favorable toxicology profile make The-0504 an ideal candidate for clinical development as a novel, CD71-targeted, low-toxicity alternative to chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-021-01851-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7877078PMC
February 2021

Simple and Rapid Non-Enzymatic Procedure Allows the Isolation of Structurally Preserved Connective Tissue Micro-Fragments Enriched with SVF.

Cells 2020 Dec 29;10(1). Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Department of Neuroscience, Biomedicine and Movement, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, University of Verona, 37135 Verona, Italy.

The stromal vascular fraction (SVF) consists of a heterogeneous population of stem and stromal cells, generally obtained from adipose tissue by enzymatic digestion. For human cell-based therapies, mechanical process methods to obtain SVF represent an advantageous approach because they have fewer regulatory restrictions for their clinical use. The aim of this study was to characterize a novel commercial system for obtaining SVF from adipose tissue by a mechanical approach without substantial manipulations. Lipoaspirate samples collected from 27 informed patients were processed by a simple and fast mechanical system (by means of Hy-Tissue SVF). The Hy-Tissue SVF product contained a free cell fraction and micro-fragments of stromal connective tissue. The enzymatic digestion of the micro-fragments increased the yield of free cells (3.2 times) and CFU-F (2.4 times). Additionally, 10% of free cells from SVF were positive for CD34+, suggesting the presence of endothelial cells, pericytes, and potential adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC). Moreover, the SVF cells were able to proliferate and differentiate in vitro toward adipocytes, osteocytes, and chondrocytes. The immunophenotypic analysis of expanded cells showed positivity for typical mesenchymal stem cell markers. The Hy-Tissue SVF system allows the isolation of stromal vascular fraction, making this product of potential interest in regenerative medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells10010036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824313PMC
December 2020

Engineered Human Nanoferritin Bearing the Drug Genz-644282 for Cancer Therapy.

Pharmaceutics 2020 Oct 20;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 20.

CNR-National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, 00185 Rome, Italy.

Gastrointestinal tumors, including pancreatic and colorectal cancers, represent one of the greatest public health issues worldwide, leading to a million global deaths. Recent research demonstrated that the human heavy chain ferritin (HFt) can encapsulate different types of drugs in its cavity and can bind to its receptor, CD71, in several solid and hematological tumors, thus highlighting the potential use of ferritin for tumor-targeting therapies. Here, we describe the development and characterization of a novel nanomedicine based on the HFt that is named The-0504. In particular, this novel system is a nano-assembly comprising an engineered version of HFt that entraps about 80 molecules of a potent, wide-spectrum, non-camptothecin topoisomerase I inhibitor (Genz-644282). The-0504 can be produced by a standardized pre-industrial process as a pure and homogeneously formulated product with favourable lyophilization properties. The preliminary anticancer activity was evaluated in cultured cancer cells and in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Overall results reported here make The-0504 a candidate for further preclinical development against CD-71 expressing deadly tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics12100992DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589674PMC
October 2020

SERRS multiplexing with multivalent nanostructures for the identification and enumeration of epithelial and mesenchymal cells.

Sci Rep 2020 09 25;10(1):15805. Epub 2020 Sep 25.

Department of Chemical Science, University of Padova, via Marzolo 1, 35131, Padua, Italy.

Liquid biopsy represents a new frontier of cancer diagnosis and prognosis, which allows the isolation of tumor cells released in the blood stream. The extremely low abundance of these cells needs appropriate methodologies for their identification and enumeration. Herein we present a new protocol based on surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) gold multivalent nanostructures to identify and enumerate tumor cells with epithelial and mesenchimal markers. The validation of the protocol is obtained with spiked samples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Gold nanostructures are functionalized with SERRS labels and with antibodies to link the tumor cells. Three types of such nanosystems were simultaneously used and the protocol allows obtaining the identification of all individual tumor cells with the help of a Random Forest ensemble learning method.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72911-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7519640PMC
September 2020

Design and Evaluation of Ra-Labeled and Anti-PSMA Targeted NaA Nanozeolites for Prostate Cancer Therapy-Part I.

Materials (Basel) 2020 Sep 2;13(17). Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Centre for Radiobiology and Biological Dosimetry, Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Dorodna 16, 03-195 Warsaw, Poland.

Prostate cancer is the second most frequent malignancy in men worldwide. Unfortunately, current therapies often lead to the onset of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), causing significant mortality. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new and targeted therapies that are advantageous over the current ones. Recently, the PSMA-targeted radioligand therapy of mCRPC has shown very promising results. In line with this, we described the synthesis of a new radioimmunoconjugate, RaA-silane-PEG-D2B, for targeted mCRPC therapy. The new compound consists of a NaA zeolite nanocarrier loaded with the α-particle emitting Ra-223 radionuclide, functionalized with the anti-PSMA D2B antibody. Physicochemical properties of the synthesized compound were characterized by standard methods (HR-SEM, TEM, XRD, FTIR, EDS, NTA, DLS, BET, TGA). The targeting selectivity, the extent of internalization, and cytotoxicity were determined in LNCaP C4-2 (PSMA+) and DU-145 (PSMA-) cells. Our results supported the RaA-silane-PEG-D2B synthesis and revealed that the final product had a diameter ca. 120 nm and specific activity 0.65 MBq/1mg. The product was characterized by a high yield of stability (>95% up to 12 days). The conjugation reaction resulted in approximately 50 antibodies/nanoparticle. The obtained radioimmunoconjugate bound specifically and internalized into PSMA-expressing LNCaP C4-2 cells, but not into PSMA-negative DU-145 cells. RaA-silane-PEG-D2B demonstrated also potent cytotoxicity in LNCaP C4-2 cells. These promising results require further in vivo evaluation of RaA-silane-PEG-D2B with regard to its toxicity and therapeutic efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma13173875DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7504699PMC
September 2020

Development of Lu-scFvD2B as a Potential Immunotheranostic Agent for Tumors Overexpressing the Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen.

Sci Rep 2020 06 9;10(1):9313. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Istituto Oncologico Veneto IOV-IRCCS, Padua, Italy.

The clinical translation of theranostic Lu-radiopharmaceuticals based on inhibitors of the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) has demonstrated positive clinical responses in patients with advanced prostate cancer (PCa). However, challenges still remain, particularly regarding their pharmacokinetic and dosimetric properties. We developed a potential PSMA-immunotheranostic agent by conjugation of a single-chain variable fragment of the IgGD2B antibody (scFvD2B) to DOTA, to obtain a Lu-labelled agent with a better pharmacokinetic profile than those previously reported. The labelled conjugated Lu-scFvD2B was obtained in high yield and stability. In vitro, Lu-scFvD2B disclosed a higher binding and internalization in LNCaP (PSMA-positive) compared to PC3 (negative control) human PCa cells. In vivo studies in healthy nude mice revealed that Lu-scFvD2B present a favorable biokinetic profile, characterized by a rapid clearance from non-target tissues and minimal liver accumulation, but a slow wash-out from kidneys. Micro-SPECT/CT imaging of mice bearing pulmonary microtumors evidenced a slow uptake by LNCaP tumors, which steadily rose up to a maximum value of 3.6 SUV at 192 h. This high and prolonged tumor uptake suggests that Lu-scFvD2B has great potential in delivering ablative radiation doses to PSMA-expressing tumors, and warrants further studies to evaluate its preclinical therapeutic efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66285-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7283306PMC
June 2020

Anti-PSMA CAR-engineered NK-92 Cells: An Off-the-shelf Cell Therapy for Prostate Cancer.

Cells 2020 06 2;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 2.

Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV-IRCCS, 35128 Padua, Italy.

Prostate cancer (PCa) has become the most common cancer among males in Europe and the USA. Adoptive immunotherapy appears a promising strategy to control the advanced stages of the disease by specifically targeting the tumor, in particular through chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy. Despite the advancements of CAR-T technology in the treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors still represent a challenge. To overcome current limits, other cellular effectors than T lymphocytes are under study as possible candidates for CAR-engineered cancer immunotherapy. A novel approach involves the NK-92 cell line, which mediates strong cytotoxic responses against a variety of tumor cells but has no effect on non-malignant healthy counterparts. Here, we report a novel therapeutic approach against PCa based on engineering of NK-92 cells with a CAR recognizing the human prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is overexpressed in prostatic neoplastic cells. More importantly, the potential utility of NK-92/CAR cells to treat PCa has not yet been explored. Upon CAR transduction, NK-92/CAR cells acquired high and specific lytic activity against PSMA-expressing prostate cancer cells in vitro, and also underwent degranulation and produced high levels of IFN-γ in response to antigen recognition. Lethal irradiation of the effectors, a safety measure requested for the clinical application of retargeted NK-92 cells, fully abrogated replication but did not impact on phenotype and short-term functionality. PSMA-specific recognition and antitumor activity were retained in vivo, as adoptive transfer of irradiated NK-92/CAR cells in prostate cancer-bearing mice restrained tumor growth and improved survival. Anti-PSMA CAR-modified NK-92 cells represent a universal, off-the-shelf, renewable, and cost-effective product endowed with relevant potentialities as a therapeutic approach for PCa immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9061382DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349573PMC
June 2020

Development and characterization of a theranostic multimodal anti-PSMA targeting agent for imaging, surgical guidance, and targeted photodynamic therapy of PSMA-expressing tumors.

Theranostics 2019 4;9(10):2924-2938. Epub 2019 May 4.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Prostate cancer (PCa) recurrences after surgery frequently occur. To improve the outcome after surgical resection of the tumor, the theranostic multimodal anti-PSMA targeting agent In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye700DX was developed and characterized for both pre- and intra-operative tumor localization and eradication of (residual) tumor tissue by PSMA-targeted photodynamic therapy (tPDT), which is a highly selective cancer treatment based on targeting molecules conjugated to photosensitizers that can induce cell destruction upon exposure to near-infrared (NIR) light. The anti-PSMA monoclonal antibody D2B was conjugated with IRDye700DX and DTPA and subsequently radiolabeled with In. To determine the optimal dose and time point for tPDT, BALB/c nude mice with PSMA-expressing (PSMA) s.c. LS174T-PSMA xenografts received the conjugate (24-240 µg/mouse) intravenously (8 MBq/mouse) followed by µSPECT/CT, near-infrared fluorescence imaging, and ex vivo biodistribution at 24, 48, 72 and 168 h p.i. Tumor growth of LS174T-PSMA xenografts and overall survival of mice treated with 1-3 times of NIR light irradiation (50, 100, 150 J/cm) 24 h after injection of 80 µg of DTPA-D2B-IRDye700DX was compared to control conditions. Highest specific tumor uptake was observed at conjugate doses of 80 µg/mouse. Biodistribution revealed no significant difference in tumor uptake in mice at 24, 48, 72 and 168 h p.i. PSMA tumors were clearly visualized with both µSPECT/CT and NIR fluorescence imaging. Overall survival in mice treated with 80 µg of DTPA-D2B-IRDye700DX and 1x 150 J/cm of NIR light at 24 h p.i. was significantly improved compared to the control group receiving neither conjugate nor NIR light (73 days vs. 16 days, respectively, p=0.0453). Treatment with 3x 150 J/cm resulted in significantly prolonged survival compared to treatment with 3x 100 J/cm (p = 0.0067) and 3x 50 J/cm (p = 0.0338). In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye700DX can be used for pre- and intra-operative detection of PSMA tumors with radionuclide and NIR fluorescence imaging and PSMA-targeted PDT. PSMA-tPDT using this multimodal agent resulted in significant prolongation of survival and shows great potential for treatment of (metastasized) prostate cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/thno.35274DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6568177PMC
May 2020

Induction of immunosuppressive functions and NF-κB by FLIP in monocytes.

Nat Commun 2018 12 5;9(1):5193. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Department of Medicine, Section of Immunology, University of Verona, Verona, 37134, Italy.

Immunosuppression is a hallmark of tumor progression, and treatments that inhibit or deplete monocytic myeloid-derived suppressive cells could promote anti-tumor immunity. c-FLIP is a central regulator of caspase-8-mediated apoptosis and necroptosis. Here we show that low-dose cytotoxic chemotherapy agents cause apoptosis linked to c-FLIP down-regulation selectively in monocytes. Enforced expression of c-FLIP or viral FLIP rescues monocytes from cytotoxicity and concurrently induces potent immunosuppressive activity, in T cell cultures and in vivo models of tumor progression and immunotherapy. FLIP-transduced human blood monocytes can suppress graft versus host disease. Neither expression of FLIP in granulocytes nor expression of other anti-apoptotic genes in monocytes conferred immunosuppression, suggesting that FLIP effects on immunosuppression are specific to monocytic lineage and distinct from death inhibition. Mechanistically, FLIP controls a broad transcriptional program, partially by NF-κB activation. Therefore, modulation of FLIP in monocytes offers a means to elicit or block immunosuppressive myeloid cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07654-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6281604PMC
December 2018

Acute Sarcomeric M-Line Disease Associated With ATP Synthase Subunit α Autoantibodies in Ankylosing Spondylitis.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2018 11;77(11):987-992

Section of Clinical Neurology, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences.

M-line is the narrow transverse band located in the center of the sarcomeric A-band that is mainly responsible for the stabilization of myosin thick filaments. A 27-year-old male patient with a positive medical history for ankylosing spondylitis presented with one month of proximal upper limb muscle weakness associated with pain on both acromioclavicular joints. A biopsy of deltoid muscle documented the disappearance of M-line, the misalignment of myofilaments, and the loss of the distinction between the A and I bands. Complete resolution of muscle weakness occurred after one year of treatment with antiTNFα agent Etanercept. Because of the acute onset of symptoms and the recovery after immunosuppressive treatment we hypothesized that an immune-mediated mechanism was responsible for the muscle disorder. The serum IgG-mediated autoreactivity to skeletal muscle antigens resolved by bidimensional electrophoresis was assessed in the described patient and compared with that of control subjects. The comparative analysis of the immunoreactive spots revealed that ATP synthase subunit α is specifically recognized by patient's serum, suggesting that the protein might represent a putative antigenic target in the disease. This study reports an acute reversible myopathy pathologically characterized by M-line involvement and associated with serological antibodies to the subunit α of ATP synthase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nly079DOI Listing
November 2018

Nanoaggregates of iron poly-oxo-clusters obtained by laser ablation in aqueous solution of phosphonates.

J Colloid Interface Sci 2018 Jul 20;522:208-216. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. Electronic address:

Laser ablation in liquid (LAL) emerged as a versatile technique for the synthesis of nanoparticles with various structures and compositions, although the control over products remains challenging in most cases. For instance, it is still difficult to drive the size of metal oxide crystalline domains down to the level of few atom clusters with LAL. Here we demonstrate that laser ablation of a bulk iron target in aqueous solution of phosphonates gives phosphonate-grafted iron oxo-clusters polymerized into nanoaggregates with Fe:ligand ratio of 2:1, instead of the usual nanocrystalline iron oxides. We attribute this result to the strong ability of phosphonate groups to bind iron oxide clusters and prevent their further growth into crystalline iron oxide. These laser generated poly-oxo-clusters are biocompatible and trackable by magnetic resonance imaging, providing interesting features for use in biological environments, such as nano-vehicles for iron administration. Besides, this method is promising for the generation of atom-scale metal-oxide clusters, which are ubiquitary in chemistry and of interest in biochemistry, catalysis, molecular magnetism and materials science.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2018.03.065DOI Listing
July 2018

The presence of glutamate residues on the PAS sequence of the stimuli-sensitive nano-ferritin improves in vivo biodistribution and mitoxantrone encapsulation homogeneity.

J Control Release 2018 04 20;275:177-185. Epub 2018 Feb 20.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, CNR - National Research Council of Italy, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

A genetically engineered human ferritin heavy chain (HFt)-based construct has been recently shown by our group to efficiently entrap and deliver doxorubicin to cancer cells. This construct, named HFt-MP-PAS, contained a tumor-selective sequence (MP) responsive to proteolytic cleavage by tumor proteases (MMPs), located between each HFt subunit and an outer shielding polypeptide sequence rich in proline (P), serine (S) and alanine (A) residues (PAS). HFt-MP-PAS displayed excellent therapeutic efficacy in xenogenic pancreatic and head and neck cancer models in vivo, leading to a significant increase in overall animal survivals. Here we report a new construct obtained by the genetic insertion of two glutamate residues in the PAS sequence of HFt-MP-PAS. Such new construct, named HFt-MP-PASE, is characterized by improved performances as drug biodistribution in a xenogenic pancreatic cancer model in vivo. Moreover, HFt-MP-PASE efficiently encapsulates the anti-cancer drug mitoxantrone (MIT), and the resulting MIT-loaded nanoparticles proved to be more soluble and monodispersed than the HFt-MP-PAS counterparts. Importantly, in vitro MIT-loaded HFt-MP-PASE kills several cancer cell lines of different origin (colon, breast, sarcoma and pancreas) at least as efficiently as the free drug. Finally, our MIT loaded protein nanocages allowed in vivo an impressive incrementing of the drug accumulation in the tumor with respect to the free drug.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.02.025DOI Listing
April 2018

A SERRS/MRI multimodal contrast agent based on naked Au nanoparticles functionalized with a Gd(iii) loaded PEG polymer for tumor imaging and localized hyperthermia.

Nanoscale 2018 Jan;10(3):1272-1278

Department of Chemical Science, University of Padova, via Marzolo 1, 35131, Padova, Italy.

Multimodal contrast agents offer new interesting diagnostic possibilities, summing the benefits of multiple imaging techniques. Magnetic resonance and optical imaging are complementary techniques. The first allows total body screening, even though it suffers from low spatial resolution and needs high loadings, whereas the second shows lower penetration, but bright signals, and a higher spatial resolution and needs lower loadings. We present a plasmonic nanosystem as a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and SERRS (surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering) multimodal contrast agent. Naked gold nanoparticles, obtained by laser ablation synthesis in solution, are organized as a highly efficient SERRS substrate with a naphthalocyanine reporter and functionalized with a MRI contrast agent with a newly synthesized 3DOTA-PEG polymer, with a high Gd loading. As a proof of concept, in vivo and ex vivo MRI and SERRS experiments are also performed. The plasmonic property of the nanosystem is then exploited to show its usefulness for localized hyperthermia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c7nr07398dDOI Listing
January 2018

Targeted killing of prostate cancer cells using antibody-drug conjugated carbon nanohorns.

J Mater Chem B 2017 Nov 1;5(44):8821-8832. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Departamento de Química Orgánica, Inorgánica y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias y Tecnologías Químicas, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Universitario, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.

The ability of carbon nanohorns (CNHs) to cross biological barriers makes them potential carriers for delivery purposes. In this work, we report the design of a new selective antibody-drug nanosystem based on CNHs for the treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). In particular, cisplatin in a prodrug form and the monoclonal antibody (Ab) D2B, selective for PSMA cancer cells, have been attached to CNHs due to the current application of this antigen in PCa therapy. The hybrids Ab-CNHs, cisplatin-CNHs and functionalised-CNHs have also been synthesized to be used as control systems. The efficacy and specificity of the D2B-cisplatin-CNH conjugate to selectively target and kill PSMA prostate cancer cells have been demonstrated in comparison with other derivatives. The developed strategy to functionalise CNHs is fascinating because it can allow the fine tuning of both drug and Ab molecules attached to the nanostructure in order to modulate the activity of the nanosystem. Finally, the herein described methodology can be used for the incorporation of almost any drugs or Abs in the platforms in order to create new targeted drugs for the treatment of different diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c7tb02464aDOI Listing
November 2017

Characterization of Site-Specifically Conjugated Monomethyl Auristatin E- and Duocarmycin-Based Anti-PSMA Antibody-Drug Conjugates for Treatment of PSMA-Expressing Tumors.

J Nucl Med 2018 03 16;59(3):494-501. Epub 2017 Nov 16.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer in men worldwide. In general, PCa responds poorly to chemotherapy. Therefore, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have been developed to specifically deliver highly cytotoxic drugs to the tumor. Because the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is overexpressed in PCa, it represents a promising target for ADC-based therapies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of site-specifically conjugated duocarmycin- and monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE)-based anti-PSMA ADCs with drug-to-antibody ratios (DARs) of 2 and 4. The glycan group of the anti-PSMA antibody D2B was chemoenzymatically conjugated with duocarmycin or MMAE. Preservation of the immunoreactivity of the antibody on site-specific conjugation was investigated in vitro. Biodistribution and small-animal SPECT/CT imaging (18.5 ± 2.6 MBq) with 25 μg of In-labeled ADCs were performed on BALB/c nude mice with subcutaneous PSMA-positive LS174T-PSMA xenografts. Finally, the therapeutic efficacy of the 4 different ADCs was assessed in mice with LS174T-PSMA tumors. The immunoreactivity of the anti-PSMA antibody was preserved on site-specific conjugation. Biodistribution revealed high tumor uptake of all agents. The highest tumor uptake was observed in mice administered with In-D2B-DAR2-MMAE, reaching 119.7 ± 37.4 percentage injected dose per gram at 3 d after injection. Tumors of mice injected with In-D2B, In-D2B-DAR2-duocarmycin, In-D2B-DAR4-duocarmycin, In-D2B-DAR2-MMAE, and In-D2B-DAR4-MMAE could clearly be visualized with small-animal SPECT/CT. In contrast to unconjugated D2B or vehicle, treatment with either of the MMAE-based ADCs, but not with a duocarmycin-based ADC, significantly impaired tumor growth and prolonged median survival from 13 d (phosphate-buffered saline) to 20 and 29 d for DAR2 and DAR4 ADC, respectively. Tumor-doubling time increased from 3.5 ± 0.5 d to 5.2 ± 1.8 and 9.2 ± 2.1 d after treatment with D2B-DAR2-MMAE and D2B-DAR4-MMAE, respectively. The site-specifically conjugated anti-PSMA ADCs D2B-DAR2-MMAE and D2B-DAR4-MMAE efficiently targeted PSMA-expressing xenografts, effectively inhibited tumor growth of PSMA-expressing tumors, and significantly prolonged survival of mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.117.196279DOI Listing
March 2018

Therapeutic Efficacy of the Novel Stimuli-Sensitive Nano-Ferritins Containing Doxorubicin in a Head and Neck Cancer Model.

Int J Mol Sci 2017 Jul 18;18(7). Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Rome 00185, Italy.

Doxorubicin is employed alone or in combination for the treatment of several hematological and solid malignancies; despite its efficacy, there are associated cardiotoxicity limits both in its application in patients with heart disease risk factors and also in its long-term use. HFt-MP-PAS40 is a genetically engineered human ferritin heavy chain (HFt)-based construct able to efficiently entrap and deliver doxorubicin to cancer cells. HF-MP-PAS contains a short motif sequence (defined as MP) responsive to proteolytic cleavage by tumor matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), located between each HFt subunit and a masking polypeptide sequence rich in proline (P), alanine (A), and serine (S) residues (PAS). This carrier displayed excellent therapeutic efficacy in a xenogenic pancreatic cancer model in vivo, leading to a significant increase in overall animal survival in treated mice. Herein, we describe the HFt-MP-PAS40-Dox efficacy against squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC) with the goal of validating the application of our nano-drug for the treatment of different solid tumors. In addition, a tolerability study in healthy mice was also performed. The results indicate that HFt-MP-PAS40-Dox produced increased anti-tumor effects both in vitro and in vivo in comparison to the free drug in several HNSCC cell lines. In the acute toxicity studies, the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of HFt-MP-PAS40-Dox was about 3.5 higher than the free drug: 25 mg/kg versus 7 mg/kg doxorubicin equivalents. Importantly, evaluation of heart tissues provided evidence that doxorubicin is less cardio-toxic when encapsulated inside the ferritin carrier. In conclusion, HFt-MP-PAS40-Dox may be administered safely at higher doses compared with the free drug, resulting in superior efficacy to control HNSCC malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms18071555DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5536043PMC
July 2017

Liposomes derivatized with multimeric copies of KCCYSL peptide as targeting agents for HER-2-overexpressing tumor cells.

Int J Nanomedicine 2017 13;12:501-514. Epub 2017 Jan 13.

Department of Pharmacy and Interuniversity Research Centre on Bioactive Peptides (CIRPeB), University of Naples "Federico II", Napoli.

Mixed liposomes, obtained by coaggregation of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and of the synthetic monomer containing a gadolinium complex ([C18]DTPA[Gd]) have been prepared. Liposomes externally decorated with KCCYSL (P6.1 peptide) sequence in its monomeric, dimeric, and tetrameric forms are studied as target-selective delivery systems toward cancer cells overexpressing human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2) receptors. Derivatization of liposomal surface with targeting peptides is achieved using the postmodification method: the alkyne-peptide derivative Pra-KCCYSL reacts, through click chemistry procedures, with a synthetic surfactant modified with 1, 2, or 4 azido moieties previously inserted in liposome formulation. Preliminary in vitro data on MDA-MB-231 and BT-474 cells indicated that liposomes functionalized with P6.1 peptide in its tetrameric form had better binding to and uptake into BT-474 cells compared to liposomes decorated with monomeric or dimeric versions of the P6.1 peptide. BT-474 cells treated with liposomes functionalized with the tetrameric form of P6.1 showed high degree of liposome uptake, which was comparable with the uptake of anti-HER-2 antibodies such as Herceptin. Moreover, magnetic MRI experiments have demonstrated the potential of liposomes to act as MRI contrast agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S113607DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5245980PMC
March 2017

Full preclinical validation of the 123I-labeled anti-PSMA antibody fragment ScFvD2B for prostate cancer imaging.

Oncotarget 2017 Feb;8(7):10919-10930

Department of Experimental Oncology and Molecular Medicine, S.S. Molecular Therapies, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: In the context of prostate cancer (PCa) imaging, the aim of this study was to optimize (in vitro) the specificity and assess preclinically (in vivo) the tumor targeting properties of the 123I-scFvD2B antibody specific for prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA).

Experimental Design: The 123I-labeling conditions of the antibody fragment scFvD2B, produced in an eukaryotic system under GMP-compliant conditions, were optimized and assessed for purity and immunoreactivity. The specificity and potency of tumor uptake were tested in three preclinical in vivo models of subcutaneously xenografted human tumors expressing different levels of PSMA (LNCaP, naturally expressing PSMA; PC3-PIP and LS174T-PSMA, transfected with PSMA) or PC3 and LS174T, as negative controls, to assess the clearance, biodistribution and imaging potential of 123I-scFvD2B.

Results: The set conditions of production and radiolabeling yielded a reagent suitable for human delivery thanks to the purity of the formulation and the high immunoreactivity. In all preclinical models 123I-scFvD2B showed specific targeting only to PSMA-positive tumors with the final specific activity ranging up to 1500 MBq/mg. Despite different levels of PSMA expression, biodistribution analyses and SPECT/CT imaging demonstrated similar results and maximal signal-to-background ratios 24 hours after injection.

Conclusions: Due to its in vitro and in vivo properties, 123I-scFvD2B could be a promising tool for the early diagnosis of PCa, and may represent a molecular imaging option to monitor disease progression and assist in the clinical management of PCa patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14229DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5355234PMC
February 2017

Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) assembles a macromolecular complex regulating growth and survival of prostate cancer cells "in vitro" and correlating with progression "in vivo".

Oncotarget 2016 Nov;7(45):74189-74202

Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata, Verona, Italy.

The expression of Prostate Specific-Membrane Antigen (PSMA) increases in high-grade prostate carcinoma envisaging a role in growth and progression. We show here that clustering PSMA at LNCaP or PC3-PSMA cell membrane activates AKT and MAPK pathways thus promoting proliferation and survival. PSMA activity was dependent on the assembly of a macromolecular complex including filamin A, beta1 integrin, p130CAS, c-Src and EGFR. Within this complex beta1 integrin became activated thereby inducing a c-Src-dependent EGFR phosphorylation at Y1086 and Y1173 EGF-independent residues. Silencing or blocking experiments with drugs demonstrated that all the complex components were required for full PSMA-dependent promotion of cell growth and/or survival in 3D culture, but that p130CAS and EGFR exerted a major role. All PSMA complex components were found assembled in multiple samples of two high-grade prostate carcinomas and associated with EGFR phosphorylation at Y1086. The expression of p130CAS and pEGFRY1086 was thus analysed by tissue micro array in 16 castration-resistant prostate carcinomas selected from 309 carcinomas and stratified from GS 3+4 to GS 5+5. Patients with Gleason Score ≤5 resulted negative whereas those with GS≥5 expressed p130CAS and pEGFRY1086 in 75% and 60% of the cases, respectively.Collectively, our results demonstrate for the first time that PSMA recruits a functionally active complex which is present in high-grade patients. In addition, two components of this complex, p130CAS and the novel pEGFRY1086, correlate with progression in castration-resistant patients and could be therefore useful in therapeutic or surveillance strategies of these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12404DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5342045PMC
November 2016

Selective delivery of doxorubicin by novel stimuli-sensitive nano-ferritins overcomes tumor refractoriness.

J Control Release 2016 10 12;239:10-8. Epub 2016 Aug 12.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, CNR - National Research Council of Italy, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Human ferritin heavy chain (HFt) has been demonstrated to possess considerable potential for targeted delivery of drugs and diagnostic agents to cancer cells. Here, we report the development of a novel HFt-based genetic construct (HFt-MP-PAS) containing a short peptide linker (MP) between each HFt subunit and an outer shielding polypeptide sequence rich in proline (P), serine (S) and alanine (A) residues (PAS). The peptide linker contains a matrix-metalloproteinases (MMPs) cleavage site that permits the protective PAS shield to be removed by tumor-driven proteolytic cleavage within the tumor microenvironment. For the first time HFt-MP-PAS ability to deliver doxorubicin to cancer cells, subcellular localization, and therapeutic efficacy on a xenogeneic mouse model of a highly refractory to conventional chemotherapeutics type of cancer were evaluated. HFt-MP-PAS-DOXO performance was compared with the novel albumin-based drug delivery system INNO-206, currently in phase III clinical trials. The results of this work provide solid evidence indicating that the stimuli-sensitive, long-circulating HFt-MP-PAS nanocarriers described herein have the potential to be exploited in cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.08.010DOI Listing
October 2016

Feasibility of Telomerase-Specific Adoptive T-cell Therapy for B-cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Solid Malignancies.

Cancer Res 2016 05;76(9):2540-51

Department of Medicine, Section of Immunology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Telomerase (TERT) is overexpressed in 80% to 90% of primary tumors and contributes to sustaining the transformed phenotype. The identification of several TERT epitopes in tumor cells has elevated the status of TERT as a potential universal target for selective and broad adoptive immunotherapy. TERT-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) have been detected in the peripheral blood of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) patients, but display low functional avidity, which limits their clinical utility in adoptive cell transfer approaches. To overcome this key obstacle hindering effective immunotherapy, we isolated an HLA-A2-restricted T-cell receptor (TCR) with high avidity for human TERT from vaccinated HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice. Using several relevant humanized mouse models, we demonstrate that TCR-transduced T cells were able to control human B-CLL progression in vivo and limited tumor growth in several human, solid transplantable cancers. TERT-based adoptive immunotherapy selectively eliminated tumor cells, failed to trigger a self-MHC-restricted fratricide of T cells, and was associated with toxicity against mature granulocytes, but not toward human hematopoietic progenitors in humanized immune reconstituted mice. These data support the feasibility of TERT-based adoptive immunotherapy in clinical oncology, highlighting, for the first time, the possibility of utilizing a high-avidity TCR specific for human TERT. Cancer Res; 76(9); 2540-51. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-2318DOI Listing
May 2016

In vivo imaging of prostate cancer using an anti-PSMA scFv fragment as a probe.

Sci Rep 2016 Mar 21;6:23314. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

Univ. Bordeaux, Imagerie Moléculaire et Thérapies Innovantes en Oncologie (IMOTION), 146 rue Léo Saignat, F33076 Bordeaux.

We aimed to evaluate a fluorescent-labeled single chain variable fragment (scFv) of the anti-PSMA antibody as a specific probe for the detection of prostate cancer by in vivo fluorescence imaging. An orthotopic model of prostate cancer was generated by injecting LNCaP cells into the prostate lobe. ScFvD2B, a high affinity anti-PSMA antibody fragment, was labeled using a near-infrared fluorophore to generate a specific imaging probe (X770-scFvD2B). PSMA-unrelated scFv-X770 was used as a control. Probes were injected intravenously into mice with prostate tumors and fluorescence was monitored in vivo by fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT). In vitro assays showed that X770-scFvD2B specifically bound to PSMA and was internalized in PSMA-expressing LNCaP cells. After intravenous injection, X770-scFvD2B was detected in vivo by FMT in the prostate region. On excised prostates the scFv probe co-localized with the cancer cells and was found in PSMA-expressing cells. The PSMA-unrelated scFv used as a control did not label the prostate cancer cells. Our data demonstrate that scFvD2B is a high affinity contrast agent for in vivo detection of PSMA-expressing cells in the prostate. NIR-labeled scFvD2B could thus be further developed as a clinical probe for imaging-guided targeted biopsies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep23314DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4800420PMC
March 2016

Improved Doxorubicin Encapsulation and Pharmacokinetics of Ferritin-Fusion Protein Nanocarriers Bearing Proline, Serine, and Alanine Elements.

Biomacromolecules 2016 Feb 30;17(2):514-22. Epub 2015 Dec 30.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology CNR, National Research Council of Italy , 00185 Rome, Italy.

A novel human ferritin-based nanocarrier, composed of 24 modified monomers able to auto-assemble into a modified protein cage, was produced and used as selective carrier of anti-tumor payloads. Each modified monomer derives from the genetic fusion of two distinct modules, namely the heavy chain of human ferritin (HFt) and a stabilizing/protective PAS polypeptide sequence rich in proline (P), serine (S), and alanine (A) residues. Two genetically fused protein constructs containing PAS polymers with 40- and 75-residue lengths, respectively, were compared. They were produced and purified as recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli at high yields. Both preparations were highly soluble and stable in vitro as well as in mouse plasma. Size-exclusion chromatography, dynamic light scattering, and transmission electron microscopy results indicated that PASylated ferritins are fully assembled and highly monodispersed. In addition, yields and stability of encapsulated doxorubicin were significantly better for both HFt-PAS proteins than for wild-type HFt. Importantly, PAS sequences considerably prolonged the half-life of HFt in the mouse bloodstream. Finally, our doxorubicin-loaded nanocages preserved the pharmacological activity of the drug. Taken together, these results indicate that both of the developed HFt-PAS fusion proteins are promising nanocarriers for future applications in cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.5b01446DOI Listing
February 2016

Effect of radiochemical modification on biodistribution of scFvD2B antibody fragment recognising prostate specific membrane antigen.

Immunol Lett 2015 Nov 25;168(1):105-10. Epub 2015 Sep 25.

Unit of Molecular Therapies, Department of Experimental Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Antibody-based reagents represent a promising strategy as clinical diagnostic tools. Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second-leading cause of death in males in the Western population. There is a presently unmet need for accurate diagnostic tool to localize and define the extent of both primary PCa and occult recurrent disease. One of the most suitable targets for PCa is the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) recognised by the monoclonal antibody D2B that we re-shaped into the single chain Fv (scFv format). Aim of this study was to evaluate in preclinical in vivo models the target specificity of scFvD2B after labelling with different radionuclides. (111)In radiolabelling was performed via the chelator Bz-NOTA, and (131)I radioiodination was performed using iodogen. The potential for molecular imaging and the biological behaviour of the radiolabelled scFvD2B were evaluated in mice bearing two subcutaneous PCa isogenic cell lines that differed only in PSMA expression. Biodistribution studies were performed at 3, 9, 15 and 24h after injection to determine the optimal imaging time point. A significant kidney accumulation, as percentage of injected dose of tissue (%ID/g), was observed for (111)In-scFvD2B at 3h after injection (45%ID/g) and it was maintained up to 24h (26%ID/g). By contrast, kidney accumulation of (131)I-scFvD2B was only marginally (0.3%ID/g at 24h). At the optimal time point defined between 15h and 24h, regardless of the radionuclide used, the scFvD2B was able to localize significantly better in the PSMA expressing tumours compared to the negative control; with (131)I-scFvD2B yielding a significantly better target/background ratio compared to (111)In-scFvD2B. These data suggest that, besides antigen specificity, chemical modification may affect antibody fragment biodistribution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.imlet.2015.09.012DOI Listing
November 2015

An electrochemiluminescence-supramolecular approach to sarcosine detection for early diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Faraday Discuss 2015 ;185:299-309

Department of Chemistry "G. Ciamician", University of Bologna, Via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

Monitoring Prostate Cancer (PCa) biomarkers is an efficient way to diagnosis this disease early, since it improves the therapeutic success rate and suppresses PCa patient mortality: for this reason a powerful analytical technique such as electrochemiluminescence (ECL) is already used for this application, but its widespread usability is still hampered by the high cost of commercial ECL equipment. We describe an innovative approach for the selective and sensitive detection of the PCa biomarker sarcosine, obtained by a synergistic ECL-supramolecular approach, in which the free base form of sarcosine acts as co-reagent in a Ru(bpy)3(2+)-ECL process. We used magnetic micro-beads decorated with a supramolecular tetraphosphonate cavitand (Tiiii) for the selective capture of sarcosine hydrochloride in a complex matrix like urine. Sarcosine determination was then obtained with ECL measurements thanks to the complexation properties of Tiiii, with a protocol involving simple pH changes - to drive the capture-release process of sarcosine from the receptor - and magnetic micro-bead technology. With this approach we were able to measure sarcosine in the μM to mM window, a concentration range that encompasses the diagnostic urinary value of sarcosine in healthy subjects and PCa patients, respectively. These results indicate how this ECL-supramolecular approach is extremely promising for the detection of sarcosine and for PCa diagnosis and monitoring, and for the development of portable and more affordable devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5fd00096cDOI Listing
August 2016

Laser generated gold nanocorals with broadband plasmon absorption for photothermal applications.

Nanoscale 2015 Aug 29;7(32):13702-14. Epub 2015 Jul 29.

Department of Chemical Sciences, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy.

Gold nanoparticles with efficient plasmon absorption in the visible and near infrared (NIR) regions, biocompatibility and easy surface functionalization are of interest for photothermal applications. Herein we describe the synthesis and photothermal properties of gold "nanocorals" (AuNC) obtained by laser irradiation of Au nanospheres (AuNS) dispersed in liquid solution. AuNC are formed in two stages: by photofragmentation of AuNS, followed by spontaneous unidirectional assembly of gold nanocrystals. The whole procedure is performed without chemicals or templating compounds, hence the AuNC can be coated with thiolated molecules in one step. We show that AuNC coated with thiolated polymers are easily dispersed in an aqueous environment or in organic solvents and can be included in polymeric matrixes to yield a plasmonic nanocomposite. AuNC dispersions exhibit flat broadband plasmon absorption ranging from the visible to the NIR and unitary light-to-heat conversion. Besides, in vitro biocompatibility experiments assessed the absence of cytotoxic effects even at a dose as high as 100 μg mL(-1). These safe-by-designed AuNC are promising for use in various applications such as photothermal cancer therapy, light-triggered drug release, antimicrobial substrates, optical tomography, obscurant materials and optical coatings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5nr03442fDOI Listing
August 2015

Parallel optical read-out of micromechanical pillars applied to prostate specific membrane antigen detection.

Biosens Bioelectron 2015 Oct 18;72:393-9. Epub 2015 May 18.

CNR-IOM, Area Science Park, Basovizza S.S. 14Km 163.5, 34149 Trieste, Italy.

Micro and nanomechanical resonators represent a promising platform for proteins label-free detection because of their extreme sensitivity, fast response and low cost. Micro-pillars are columnar resonators that can be easily arranged in dense arrays of several thousand sensors in a squared mm. To exploit such a large density, however, a method for tracking independently micropillars resonance frequency is required. Here we present a detection method based on CCD imaging and software image analysis, which can measure the resonance frequency of tens of pillars in parallel. Acquiring simultaneously the frequency shift of up to 40 sensors and applying a proper statistical analysis, we were able to overcome the variability of the single measures improving the device sensitivity at low analyte concentration range. As a proof of concept, this method has been tested for the detection of a tumor marker, the Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA). Pillars have been functionalized with an antibody against PSMA. The tumor marker (PSMA) has been detected in a range of concentrations between 300 pM and 100 nM, in buffer and in diluted bovine serum. The sensitivity of our method was limited only by the affinity constant of the antigen-antibody recognition. Moreover, this detection technique demonstrated to be effective in the 1-6 nM range, which is the window of PSMA concentration of clinical interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2015.05.026DOI Listing
October 2015

PSMA-specific CAR-engineered T cells eradicate disseminated prostate cancer in preclinical models.

PLoS One 2014 3;9(10):e109427. Epub 2014 Oct 3.

Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV - IRCCS, Padua, Italy; Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Immunology-based interventions have been proposed as a promising curative chance to effectively attack postoperative minimal residual disease and distant metastatic localizations of prostate tumors. We developed a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) construct targeting the human prostate-specific membrane antigen (hPSMA), based on a novel and high affinity specific mAb. As a transfer method, we employed last-generation lentiviral vectors (LV) carrying a synthetic bidirectional promoter capable of robust and coordinated expression of the CAR molecule, and a bioluminescent reporter gene to allow the tracking of transgenic T cells after in vivo adoptive transfer. Overall, we demonstrated that CAR-expressing LV efficiently transduced short-term activated PBMC, which in turn were readily stimulated to produce cytokines and to exert a relevant cytotoxic activity by engagement with PSMA+ prostate tumor cells. Upon in vivo transfer in tumor-bearing mice, CAR-transduced T cells were capable to completely eradicate a disseminated neoplasia in the majority of treated animals, thus supporting the translation of such approach in the clinical setting.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0109427PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4184866PMC
January 2016

Targeting human prostate cancer with 111In-labeled D2B IgG, F(ab')2 and Fab fragments in nude mice with PSMA-expressing xenografts.

Contrast Media Mol Imaging 2015 Jan-Feb;10(1):28-36. Epub 2014 Apr 25.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

D2B is a new monoclonal antibody directed against an extracellular domain of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is overexpressed in prostate cancer. The potential of D2B IgG, and F(ab')2 and Fab fragments of this antibody for targeting prostate cancer was determined in mice bearing subcutaneous prostate cancer xenografts. The optimal time point for imaging was determined in biodistribution and microSPECT imaging studies with (111)In-D2B IgG, (111)In-capromab pendetide, (111)In-D2B F(ab')2 and (111)In-D2B Fab fragments in mice with PSMA-expressing LNCaP and PSMA-negative PC3 tumors at several time points after injection. All (111)In-labeled antibody formats specifically accumulated in the LNCaP tumors, with highest uptake of (111)In-D2B IgG and (111)In-capromab pendetide at 168 h p.i. (94.8 ± 19.2% injected dose per gram (ID/g) and 16.7 ± 2.2% ID/g, respectively), whereas uptake of (111)In-D2B F(ab')2 and (111)In-D2B Fab fragments peaked at 24 h p.i. (12.1 ± 3.0% ID/g and 15.1 ± 2.9% ID/g, respectively). Maximum LNCaP tumor-to-blood ratios were 13.0 ± 2.3 (168 h p.i.), 6.2 ± 0.7 (24 h p.i.), 23.0 ± 4.0 (24 h p.i.) and 4.5 ± 0.6 (168 h p.i.) for (111)In-D2B IgG, (111)In-F(ab')2, (111)In-Fab and (111)In-capromab pendetide, respectively. LNCaP tumors were clearly visualized with microSPECT with all antibody formats. This study demonstrates the feasibility of D2B IgG, F(ab')2 and Fab fragments for targeting PSMA-expressing prostate cancer xenografts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cmmi.1596DOI Listing
November 2015

Dual-Modality Image-Guided Surgery of Prostate Cancer with a Radiolabeled Fluorescent Anti-PSMA Monoclonal Antibody.

J Nucl Med 2014 Jun 3;55(6):995-1001. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Unlabelled: Both radionuclide imaging and near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) imaging have a high sensitivity to detect tumors in vivo. The combination of these modalities using dual-labeled antibodies may allow both preoperative and intraoperative tumor localization and may be used in image-guided surgery to ensure complete resection of tumor tissue. Here, we evaluated the potential of dual-modality imaging of prostate cancer with the monoclonal antibody D2B, directed against an extracellular domain of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). For these studies, D2B was labeled both with (111)In and with the NIRF dye IRDye800CW.

Methods: D2B was conjugated with N-hydroxysuccinimide-IRDye800CW and p-isothiocyanatobenzyl-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (ITC-DTPA) and subsequently radiolabeled with (111)In. For biodistribution and NIRF imaging, (111)In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye800CW (2 μg, 0.55 MBq/mouse) was injected intravenously into BALB/c nude mice with subcutaneous PSMA-expressing LNCaP tumors (right flank) and PSMA-negative PC3 tumors (left flank). The biodistribution was determined at 1, 2, 3, and 7 d after injection. In addition, micro-SPECT/CT and NIRF imaging with (111)In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye800CW (3 μg, 8.5 MBq/mouse) was performed on mice with intraperitoneally growing LS174T-PSMA tumors.

Results: (111)In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye800CW specifically accumulated in subcutaneous PSMA-positive LNCaP tumors (45.8 ± 8.0 percentage injected dose per gram at 168 h after injection), whereas uptake in subcutaneous PSMA-negative PC3 tumors was significantly lower (6.6 ± 1.3 percentage injected dose per gram at 168 h after injection). Intraperitoneal LS174T-PSMA tumors could be visualized specifically with both micro-SPECT/CT and NIRF imaging at 2 d after injection, and the feasibility of image-guided resection of intraperitoneal tumors was demonstrated in this model.

Conclusion: Dual-labeled (111)In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye800CW enables specific and sensitive detection of prostate cancer lesions in vivo with micro-SPECT/CT and NIRF imaging. In addition to preoperative micro-SPECT/CT imaging to detect tumors, NIRF imaging enables image-guided surgical resection. These preclinical findings warrant clinical studies with (111)In-DTPA-D2B-IRDye800CW to improve tumor detection and resection in prostate cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.114.138180DOI Listing
June 2014