HLA-DR is under investigation as a target for monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy of malignancies. Here we describe a humanized IgG4 form of the anti-HLA-DR mAb L243, hL243gamma4P (IMMU-114), generated to provide an agent with selectivity toward neoplastic cells that can kill without complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) or antibody-dependent cellular-cytotoxicity (ADCC), so as to reduce reliance on intact immunologic systems in the patient and effector mechanism-related toxicity. In vitro studies show that replacing the Fc region of hL243gamma1, a humanized IgG1 anti-HLA-DR mAb, with the IgG4 isotype abrogates the effector cell functions of the antibody (ADCC and CDC) while retaining its antigen-binding properties, antiproliferative capacity (in vitro and in vivo), and the ability to induce apoptosis concurrent with activation of the AKT survival pathway. Growth inhibition was evaluated compared with and in combination with the anti-CD20 mAb rituximab, with the combination being more effective than rituximab alone in inhibiting proliferation. Thus, hL243gamma4P is indistinguishable from hL243gamma1 and the parental murine mAb in assays dependent on antigen recognition. The abrogation of ADCC and CDC, which are believed to play a major role in side effects of mAb therapy, may make this antibody an attractive clinical agent. In addition, combination of hL243gamma4P with rituximab offers the prospect for improved patient outcome.
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