A principal goal of active immunotherapy is to mobilize the immune response against cancer. The ability of host immunity to recognize and destroy tumor cells is well established. However, attempts to activate host anti-tumor immune responses have been only partially successful. Frequently CD8+ T cells are expanded and even infiltrate tumor beds, but tumor evasion mechanisms block their ability to destroy growing cancers. The immune modulatory antibody, B7-DC XAb, was isolated from a Mayo Clinic patient with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. This antibody activates both mouse and human dendritic cells in a manner distinct from other known immune activators, rapidly reprogramming T regulatory cells into effectors and potentiating T cell cytotoxic responses that can recognize and kill tumor cells. Treatment of animals with the immune modulator prevented the outgrowth of melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer, demonstrating the potential application of this reagent to the treatment of a wide variety of cancers. Remarkably, when B7-DC XAb was given to animals in conjunction with a partially effective vaccine, animals prone to the development of spontaneous and aggressive breast tumors remained cancer free. Experiments using mouse models are proposed (1) to determine the origin of CTL precursors that are licensed as killer cells by B7-DC XAb-activated dendritic cells, (2) to characterize the mechanisms governing DC activation and mobilization of T cell immunity by the immune modulator B7-DC XAb, and (3) to evaluate how B7-DC XAb treatment functions in established breast and ovarian carcinoma. These studies are highly relevant to the development of an immunotherapy strategy for the treatment of human cancers because the immune potentiator being studied is a human antibody that binds to and stimulates human dendritic cells by activating similar signaling pathways to those originally defined in the mouse. Furthermore, human dendritic cells activated by B7-DC XAb-treatment display similar functional properties to those seen in the mouse, including enhanced antigen uptake, the patterns in cytokine release, and an enhanced ability to activate tumor specific cytotoxic T cells.

Public Health Relevance

A new immune modulatory antibody, called B7-DC XAb, activates both mouse and human immunity in a manner distinct from other known immune activators and rapidly potentiates cellular responses that can recognize and kill cancers. Treatment of cancer bearing animals with the immune modulating antibody prevented the outgrowth of melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer. Experiments are proposed using animal models and human ovarian cancer to determine how this new treatment works and to define how best to use it in settings that closely mimic the spontaneous development of human cancers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy Study Section (CII)
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Howcroft, Thomas K
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Mayo Clinic, Rochester
United States
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