Biochimica et Biophysica Acta vol:1096 issue:4 pages:345-354
The construction, synthesis and secretion of a genetically engineered antibody-cytokine fusion molecule is described. To target tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to tumor cells, recombinant antibody techniques were used to produce a Fab-like antibody-TNF conjugate. At the gene level, the heavy chain gene of an antitransferrin receptor antibody was linked to a synthetic TNF gene encoding human TNF. Transfection of the heavy chain-TNF gene into a myeloma derived cell line which was producing the light chain of the same antibody, allowed the isolation of a cell line secreting a fusion protein of the expected molecular weight and composition. The culture supernatant of the cell line contained TNF cytotoxic activity towards murine L929 cells and human MCF-7 cells. Cytotoxicity towards the human cancer cells was inhibited by an excess of the original antitransferrin receptor antibody, indicating that the antibody-TNF molecules are targeted to the transferrin receptor rich tumor cells. Since the antibody genes used are chimeric (i.e. composed of mouse variable and human constant regions) and since DNA encoding human TNF was used, the hybrid protein is an example of a humanized immunotoxin-like molecule. These results illustrate the possibilities of antibody engineering technology to create and produce improved agents for cancer therapy. Furthermore, they demonstrate for the first time the ability of myeloma cells to secrete an antibody-cytokine chimeric molecule.