Tumor-targeting bacteria offer a number of advantages over other cancer drug delivery systems, including targeting of multiple tumors from a distant inoculation site, selective intratumoral replication, a high degree of attenuation and safety, and the ability to express anti-cancer proteins directly within the tumor. Remarkably, attenuated Salmonella localize within solid tumors at levels at least 1000 times greater than other tissues. Human clinical studies have validated the safety of intravenously administered attenuated Salmonella mutant VNP20009, established tolerated multiple doses, and have shown that tumor targeting occurs in some patients. However, no anti-tumor activity was observed, even in patients in whom the Salmonella were verified to have colonized their tumors. We hypothesize that the lack of antitumor efficacy in the human clinical trials can be overcome by engineering antitumor apoptosis (programmed cell death) -inducing cytotoxic proteins that are able to selectively kill tumor cells, and that the ability of these proteins to kill cancer cells can be enhanced by blocking their degradation by tumor proteases through co-expression of protease inhibitors.
The specific aims are designed to test the tumor-selective toxin generated during the initial SC3 funding period in murine models of cancer.
The specific aims are also directed toward generation and analysis of individual protease inhibitor combinations expressed by VNP20009 in order to prevent proteolytic degradation of the therapeutic protein and develop tumor-targeted Salmonella vectors with enhanced antitumor activity. VNP20009 expressing a tumor-cell targeted toxin will be analyzed alone and in combination with one or more protease inhibitors using optical imaging of the bacterial interaction with murine tumor models of highly aggressive breast cancer. The results are expected to indicate the effectiveness of the targeted toxin and the effect(s) of the protease inhibitors alone and in combination with the toxin. These results have the potential to improve VNP20009 without increasing its toxicity, and therefore could lead to translational studies in humans. .

Public Health Relevance

PROJECT NARATIVE (RELEVANCE) Certain bacterial species such as pathogenic Salmonella have the natural ability to seek out cancerous tumors and grow within them. The project involves harnessing the potential of this natural ability by eliminating the bacteria?s facility to cause disease and replacing it with the ability to selectively kill tumor cells. This exchange process makes the bacteria safe and gives them an enhanced ability to act as therapeutic agents against tumors, and may be useful for the treatment of cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Continuance Award (SC3)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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Krasnewich, Donna M
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California State University Northridge
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Quintero, David; Carrafa, Jamie; Vincent, Lena et al. (2016) EGFR-targeted Chimeras of Pseudomonas ToxA released into the extracellular milieu by attenuated Salmonella selectively kill tumor cells. Biotechnol Bioeng 113:2698-2711
Morales, Magali; Attai, Hedieh; Troy, Kimberly et al. (2015) Accumulation of single-stranded DNA in Escherichia coli carrying the colicin plasmid pColE3-CA38. Plasmid 77:7-16
Quintero, David; Bermudes, David (2014) A culture-based method for determining the production of secreted protease inhibitors. J Microbiol Methods 100:105-10