Current Role at Stanford

Senior Scientist

Honors & Awards

  • Extended Senior Research Fellowship, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India (1998)
  • Research Associate Fellowship, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India (2001)
  • Young Professional Award, Basic Science Research, Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting, San Diego, California (2006)
  • Plasma Mass Spectrometry Award, UC Davis Interdisciplinary Center (2007, 2008)
  • Clinical and Translational Science Center - pilot grant award, UC Davis (2007)
  • Best Paper Presentation Award, International Medicinal Chemistry Conference, India, Bangalore, (2008)
  • First Poster Award, Fourteenth Annual Cancer Research Symposium, UC Davis Cancer Center, Sacramento, California (2008)

Education & Certifications

  • Ph.D, Alagappa University, Karaikudi, India, Industrial Chemistry (2000)
  • MS, Institution of Chemists (India), India, Bio and Pharmaceutical chemistry (1991)
  • B.Sc, University of Madras, India, Chemistry (1982)


All Publications

  • A Novel Engineered Small Protein for Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Human Programmed Death Ligand-1 : Validation in Mouse Models and Human Cancer Tissues Clinical Cancer Res Natarajan, A., Patel, C. B., Ramakrishnan, S., Panesar, P. S., Long, S. R., Gambhir, S. S. 2018
  • Development of Novel ImmunoPET Tracers to Image Human PD-1 Checkpoint Expression on Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in a Humanized Mouse Model. Molecular imaging and biology Natarajan, A., Mayer, A. T., Reeves, R. E., Nagamine, C. M., Gambhir, S. S. 2017


    It is well known that cancers exploit immune checkpoints (programmed death 1 receptor (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1)) to evade anti-tumor immune responses. Although immune checkpoint (IC) blockade is a promising approach, not all patients respond. Hence, imaging of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) is of high specific interest, as they are known to express PD-1 during activation and subsequent exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment and are thought to be potentially predictive of therapeutic responses to IC blockade.We developed immune-tracers for positron emission tomography (PET) to image hPD-1 status of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMCs) adoptively transferred to NOD-scid IL-2Rγ(null) (NSG) mice (hNSG) bearing A375 human skin melanoma tumors. The anti-PD-1 human antibody (IgG; keytruda) was labeled with either Zr-89 or Cu-64 radiometals to image PD-1-expressing human TILs in vivo.[(89)Zr] Keytruda (groups = 2; NSG-ctl (control) and hNSG-nblk (non-blocking), n = 3-5, 3.2 ± 0.4 MBq/15-16 μg/200 μl) and [(64)Cu] Keytruda (groups = 3; NSG-ctl, NSG-blk (blocking), and hNSG-nblk; n = 4, 7.4 ± 0.4 MBq /20-25 μg/200 μl) were administered in mice. PET-CT scans were performed over 1-144 h ([(89)Zr] Keytruda) and 1-48 h ([(64)Cu] Keytruda) on mice. hNSG mice exhibited a high tracer uptake in the spleen, lymphoid organs and tumors. At 24 h, human TILs homing into melanoma of hNSG-nblk mice exhibited high signal (mean %ID/g ± SD) of 3.8 ± 0.4 ([(89)Zr] Keytruda), and 6.4 ± 0.7 ([(64)Cu] Keytruda), which was 1.5- and 3-fold higher uptake compared to NSG-ctl mice (p = 0.01), respectively. Biodistribution measurements of hNSG-nblk mice performed at 144 h ([(89)Zr] Keytruda) and 48 h ([(64)Cu] Keytruda) p.i. revealed tumor to muscle ratios as high as 45- and 12-fold, respectively.Our immunoPET study clearly demonstrates specific imaging of human PD-1-expressing TILs within the tumor and lymphoid tissues. This suggests these anti-human-PD-1 tracers could be clinically translatable to monitor cancer treatment response to IC blockade therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11307-017-1060-3

    View details for PubMedID 28247187

  • Multiscale Framework for Imaging Radio labeled Therapeutics MOLECULAR PHARMACEUTICS Natarajan, A., Tuerkcan, S., Gambhir, S. S., Pratx, G. 2015; 12 (12): 4554-4560
  • Engineering high-affinity PD-1 variants for optimized immunotherapy and immuno-PET imaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Maute, R. L., Gordon, S. R., Mayer, A. T., McCracken, M. N., Natarajan, A., Ring, N. G., Kimura, R., Tsai, J. M., Manglik, A., Kruse, A. C., Gambhir, S. S., Weissman, I. L., Ring, A. M. 2015; 112 (47): E6506-14


    Signaling through the immune checkpoint programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) enables tumor progression by dampening antitumor immune responses. Therapeutic blockade of the signaling axis between PD-1 and its ligand programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) with monoclonal antibodies has shown remarkable clinical success in the treatment of cancer. However, antibodies have inherent limitations that can curtail their efficacy in this setting, including poor tissue/tumor penetrance and detrimental Fc-effector functions that deplete immune cells. To determine if PD-1:PD-L1-directed immunotherapy could be improved with smaller, nonantibody therapeutics, we used directed evolution by yeast-surface display to engineer the PD-1 ectodomain as a high-affinity (110 pM) competitive antagonist of PD-L1. In contrast to anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies, high-affinity PD-1 demonstrated superior tumor penetration without inducing depletion of peripheral effector T cells. Consistent with these advantages, in syngeneic CT26 tumor models, high-affinity PD-1 was effective in treating both small (50 mm(3)) and large tumors (150 mm(3)), whereas the activity of anti-PD-L1 antibodies was completely abrogated against large tumors. Furthermore, we found that high-affinity PD-1 could be radiolabeled and applied as a PET imaging tracer to efficiently distinguish between PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative tumors in living mice, providing an alternative to invasive biopsy and histological analysis. These results thus highlight the favorable pharmacology of small, nonantibody therapeutics for enhanced cancer immunotherapy and immune diagnostics.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1519623112

    View details for PubMedID 26604307

  • Novel Radiotracer for ImmunoPET Imaging of PD-1 Checkpoint Expression on Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes. Bioconjugate chemistry Natarajan, A., Mayer, A. T., Xu, L., Reeves, R. E., Gano, J., Gambhir, S. S. 2015; 26 (10): 2062-2069


    Immune checkpoint signaling through the programmed death 1 (PD-1) axis to its ligand (PD-L1) significantly dampens anti-tumor immune responses. Cancer patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors that block this suppressive signaling have exhibited objective response rates of 20-40% for advanced solid tumors, lymphomas, and malignant melanomas. This represents a tremendous advance in cancer treatment. Unfortunately, all patients do not respond to immune checkpoint blockade. Recent findings suggest that patients with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) expressing PD-1 may be most likely to respond to αPD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors. There is a compelling need for diagnostic and prognostic imaging tools to assess the PD-1 status of TILs in vivo. Here we have developed a novel immunoPET tracer to image PD-1 expressing TILs in a transgenic mouse model bearing melanoma. A (64)Cu labeled anti-mouse antibody (IgG) PD-1 immuno positron emission tomography (PET) tracer was developed to detect PD-1 expressing murine TILs. Quality control of the tracer showed >95% purity by HPLC and >70% immunoreactivity in an in vitro cell binding assay. ImmunoPET scans were performed over 1-48 h on Foxp3+.LuciDTR4 mice bearing B16-F10 melanoma tumors. Mice receiving anti-PD-1 tracer (200 ± 10 μCi/10-12 μg/200 μL) revealed high tracer uptake in lymphoid organs and tumors. BLI images of FoxP3(+) CD4(+) Tregs known to express PD-1 confirmed lymphocyte infiltration of tumors at the time of PET imaging. Biodistribution measurements performed at 48 h revealed a high (11×) tumor to muscle uptake ratio of the PET tracer (p < 0.05). PD-1 tumors exhibited 7.4 ± 0.7%ID/g tracer uptake and showed a 2× fold signal decrease when binding was blocked by unlabeled antibody. To the best of our knowledge this data is the first report to image PD-1 expression in living subjects with PET. This radiotracer has the potential to assess the prognostic value of PD-1 in preclinical models of immunotherapy and may ultimately aid in predicting response to therapies targeting immune checkpoints.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.5b00318

    View details for PubMedID 26307602

  • Radiation Dosimetry Study of [(89)Zr]rituximab Tracer for Clinical Translation of B cell NHL Imaging using Positron Emission Tomography. Molecular imaging and biology Natarajan, A., Gambhir, S. S. 2015; 17 (4): 539-547


    We evaluated the dosimetry of [(89)Zr]rituximab, an anti-CD20 immunoPET tracer to image B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) using a humanized transgenic mouse model that expresses human CD20 transgenic mice (huCD20TM).Rituximab was conjugated to desferrioxamine (Df) for radiolabeling of Zirconium-89. [(89)Zr]rituximab (2.8 ± 0.2 MBq) was tail vein-injected into huCD20T mice. Positron emission tomography (PET)/CT imaging was performed on the two groups of mice (blocking = 2 mg/kg pre-dose of rituximab and non-blocking; n = 5) at eight time points (1, 4, 24, 48, 72, 96, 120, and 168 h) post injection.The novel [(89)Zr]rituximab PET tracer had good immunoreactivity, was stable in human serum, and was able to specifically target human CD20 in mice. The human equivalents of highest dose (mean ± SD) organs with and without pre-dose are liver (345 ± 284 μSv/MBq) and spleen (1165 ± 149 μSv/MBq), respectively.Dosimetry of the human patient whole-body dose was found to be 145 MBq per annum, and the patient dose-limiting organ will be the liver (with rituximab pre-dose blocking) and spleen for non-blocking. The [(89)Zr]rituximab (t½ = 78.4 h) imaging of B cell NHL patients could permit the observation of targeting lesions in NHL patients over an extended period due to longer half-life as compared to the [(64)Cu] rituximab (t½ = 12.7 h).

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11307-014-0810-8

    View details for PubMedID 25500766

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4465424

  • Imaging of hepatocellular carcinoma patient-derived xenografts using Zr-89-labeled anti-glypican-3 monoclonal antibody BIOMATERIALS Yang, X., Liu, H., Sun, C. K., Natarajan, A., Hu, X., Wang, X., Allegretta, M., Guttmann, R. D., Gambhir, S. S., Chua, M., Cheng, Z., So, S. K. 2014; 35 (25): 6964-6971


    Imaging probes for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are highly desired to overcome current diagnostic limitations which lead to poor prognosis. The membrane protein glypican-3 (GPC3) is a potential molecular target for early HCC detection as it is over-expressed in >50% of HCCs, and is associated with early hepatocarcinogenesis. We synthesized the positron emission tomography (PET) probe (89)Zr-DFO-1G12 by bioconjugating and radiolabeling the anti-GPC3 monoclonal antibody (clone 1G12) with (89)Zr, and evaluated its tumor-targeting capacity. In vitro, (89)Zr-DFO-1G12 was specifically taken up into GPC3-positive HCC cells only, but not in the GPC3-negative prostate cancer cell line (PC3). In vivo, (89)Zr-DFO-1G12 specifically accumulated in subcutaneous GPC3-positive HCC xenografts only, but not in PC3 xenografts. Importantly, (89)Zr-DFO-1G12 delineated orthotopic HCC xenografts from surrounding normal liver, with tumor/liver (T/L) ratios of 6.65 ± 1.33 for HepG2, and 4.29 ± 0.52 for Hep3B xenografts. It also delineated orthotopic xenografts derived from three GPC3-positive HCC patient specimens, with T/L ratios of 4.21 ± 0.64, 2.78 ± 0.26, and 2.31 ± 0.38 at 168 h p.i. Thus, (89)Zr-DFO-1G12 is a highly translatable probe for the specific and high contrast imaging of GPC3-positive HCCs, which may aid early detection of HCC to allow timely intervention.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.089

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338386800028

  • A Novel Engineered Anti-CD20 Tracer Enables Early Time PET Imaging in a Humanized Transgenic Mouse Model of B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH Natarajan, A., Hackel, B. J., Gambhir, S. S. 2013; 19 (24): 6820-6829


    The aim of this article was to evaluate the use of a novel engineered anti-CD20 protein based on the 10 kDa human fibronectin type 3 domain (FN3) and subsequently compare with (64)Cu-rituximab for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of CD20.The engineered FN3(CD20) and FN3(WT) were produced in Escherichia coli cells at 2 to 5 mg/L, conjugated to DOTA, labeled with (64)Cu, and used for PET imaging of huCD20 expression in B cells. Humanized transgenic mice and subcutaneously xenografted mice each received intravenous (64)Cu-FN3(CD20) or FN3(WT) (3.7 MBq/4 μg Do-FN3 in 200 μL PBS). Control group received a blocking dose (50-fold excess) of unconjugated FN3(CD20) two hours before radiotracer injection. PET imaging was carried out at 1 to 24 hours postinjections.In vitro assay demonstrated FN3 binds CD20 with 20 nmol/L affinity on CD20-expressing cells. (64)Cu-FN3(CD20) showed clear, high-contrast visualization of huCD20-expressing B cells in the spleen of transgenic mice as early as 1 hour postinjection [38 ± 3% injected dose (ID)/g] and exhibited a spleen-to-blood ratio of 13 by 4 hours. This is higher uptake (P = 0.04) and 10-fold greater signal-to-background (P = 0.04) than the (64)Cu-rituximab antibody radiotracer. Tumor uptake (16.8 ± 1.6 vs. 5.6 ± 1.4%ID/g) and tumor:background ratios were superior for FN3CD20 relative to rituximab in xenograft studies as well.The (64)Cu-Do-FN3(CD20) radiotracer represents a novel small, high-affinity binder for imaging human CD20, which may be well suited for B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma imaging in patients at early time points.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0626

    View details for PubMedID 24097872

  • Evaluation of Zr-89-rituximab Tracer by Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging and Correlation with PET in a Humanized Transgenic Mouse Model to Image NHL MOLECULAR IMAGING AND BIOLOGY Natarajan, A., Habte, F., Liu, H., Sathirachinda, A., Hu, X., Cheng, Z., Nagamine, C. M., Gambhir, S. S. 2013; 15 (4): 468-475


    PURPOSE: This research aimed to study the use of Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI) for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) using (89)Zr-rituximab positron emission tomography (PET) tracer with a humanized transgenic mouse model that expresses human CD20 and the correlation of CLI with PET. PROCEDURES: Zr-rituximab (2.6 MBq) was tail vein-injected into transgenic mice that express the human CD20 on their B cells (huCD20TM). One group (n = 3) received 2 mg/kg pre-dose (blocking) of cold rituximab 2 h prior to tracer; a second group (n = 3) had no pre-dose (non-blocking). CLI was performed using a cooled charge-coupled device optical imager. We also performed PET imaging and ex vivo studies in order to confirm the in vivo CLI results. At each time point (4, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h), two groups of mice were imaged in vivo and ex vivo with CLI and PET, and at 96 h, organs were measured by gamma counter. RESULTS: huCD20 transgenic mice injected with (89)Zr-rituximab demonstrated a high-contrast CLI image compared to mice blocked with a cold dose. At various time points of 4-96 h post-radiotracer injection, the in vivo CLI signal intensity showed specific uptake in the spleen where B cells reside and, hence, the huCD20 biomarker is present at very high levels. The time-activity curve of dose decay-corrected CLI intensity and percent injected dose per gram of tissue of PET uptake in the spleen were increased over the time period (4-96 h). At 96 h, the (89)Zr-rituximab uptake ratio (non-blocking vs blocking) counted (mean ± standard deviation) for the spleen was 1.5 ± 0.6 for CLI and 1.9 ± 0.3 for PET. Furthermore, spleen uptake measurements (non-blocking and blocking of all time points) of CLI vs PET showed good correlation (R (2) = 0.85 and slope = 0.576), which also confirmed the corresponding correlations parameter value (R (2) = 0.834 and slope = 0.47) obtained for ex vivo measurements. CONCLUSIONS: CLI and PET of huCD20 transgenic mice injected with (89)Zr-rituximab demonstrated that the tracer was able to target huCD20-expressing B cells. The in vivo and ex vivo tracer uptake corresponding to the CLI radiance intensity from the spleen is in good agreement with PET. In this report, we have validated the use of CLI with PET for NHL imaging in huCD20TM.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11307-013-0624-0

    View details for PubMedID 23471750

  • Positron Emission Tomography of Cu-64-DOTA-Rituximab in a Transgenic Mouse Model Expressing Human CD20 for Clinical Translation to Image NHL MOLECULAR IMAGING AND BIOLOGY Natarajan, A., Gowrishankar, G., Nielsen, C. H., Wang, S., Iagaru, A., Goris, M. L., Gambhir, S. S. 2012; 14 (5): 608-616


    This study aims to evaluate (64)Cu-DOTA-rituximab (PETRIT) in a preclinical transgenic mouse model expressing human CD20 for potential clinical translation.(64)Cu was chelated to DOTA-rituximab. Multiple radiolabeling, quality assurance, and imaging experiments were performed. The human CD20 antigen was expressed in B cells of transgenic mice (CD20TM). The mice groups studied were: (a) control (nude mice, n = 3) that received 7.4 MBq/dose, (b) with pre-dose (CD20TM, n = 6) received 2 mg/kg pre-dose of cold rituximab prior to PETRIT of 7.4 MBq/dose, and (c) without pre-dose (CD20TM, n = 6) PETRIT alone received 7.4 MBq/dose. Small animal PET was used to image mice at various time points (0, 1, 2, 4, 24, 48, and 72 h). The OLINDA/EXM software was used to determine the human equivalent dose for individual organs.PETRIT was obtained with a specific activity of 545 ± 38.91 MBq/nmole, radiochemical purity >95%, and immunoreactivity >75%. At 24 h, spleenic uptake of PETRIT%ID/g (mean ± STD) with and without pre-dose was 1.76 ± 0.43% and 16.5 ± 0.45%, respectively (P value = 0.01). Liver uptake with and without pre-dose was 0.41 ± 0.51% and 0.52 ± 0.17% (P value = 0.86), respectively. The human equivalents of highest dose organs with and without pre-dose are osteogenic cells at 30.8 ± 0.4 μSv/MBq and the spleen at 99 ± 4 μSv/MBq, respectively.PET imaging with PETRIT in huCD20 transgenic mice provided human dosimetry data for eventual applications in non-Hodgkins lymphoma patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11307-011-0537-8

    View details for PubMedID 22231277

  • Development of a Novel Long-Lived ImmunoPET Tracer for Monitoring Lymphoma Therapy in a Humanized Transgenic Mouse Model BIOCONJUGATE CHEMISTRY Natarajan, A., Habte, F., Gambhir, S. S. 2012; 23 (6): 1221-1229


    Positron emission tomography (PET) is an attractive imaging tool to localize and quantify tracer biodistribution. ImmunoPET with an intact mAb typically requires two to four days to achieve optimized tumor-to-normal ratios. Thus, a positron emitter with a half-life of two to four days such as zirconium-89 [(89)Zr] (t(1/2): 78.4 h) is ideal. We have developed an antibody-based, long-lived immunoPET tracer (89)Zr-Desferrioxamine-p-SCN (Df-Bz-NCS)-rituximab (Zr-iPET) to image tumor for longer durations in a humanized CD20-expressing transgenic mouse model. To optimize the radiolabeling efficiency of (89)Zr with Df-Bz-rituximab, multiple radiolabelings were performed. Radiochemical yield, purity, immunoreactivity, and stability assays were carried out to characterize the Zr-iPET for chemical and biological integrity. This tracer was used to image transgenic mice that express the human CD20 on their B cells (huCD20TM). Each huCD20TM mouse received a 7.4 MBq/dose. One group (n = 3) received a 2 mg/kg predose (blocking) of cold rituximab 2 h prior to (89)Zr-iPET; the other group (n = 3) had no predose (nonblocking). Small animal PET/CT was used to image mice at 1, 4, 24, 48, 72, and 120 h. Quality assurance of the (89)Zr-iPET demonstrated NCS-Bz-Df: antibody ratio (c/a: 1.5 ± 0.31), specific activity (0.44-1.64 TBq/mol), radiochemical yield (>70%), and purity (>98%). The Zr-iPET immunoreactivity was >80%. At 120 h, Zr-iPET uptake (% ID/g) as mean ± STD for blocking and nonblocking groups in spleen was 3.2 ± 0.1% and 83.3 ± 2.0% (p value <0.0013.). Liver uptake was 1.32 ± 0.05% and 0.61 ± 0.001% (p value <0.0128) for blocking and nonblocking, respectively. The small animal PET/CT image shows the spleen specific uptake of Zr-iPET in mice at 120 h after tracer injection. Compared to the liver, the spleen specific uptake of Zr-iPET is very high due to the expression of huCD20. We optimized the radiolabeling efficiency of (89)Zr with Df-Bz-rituximab. These radioimmunoconjugate lots were stable up to 5 days in serum in vitro. The present study showed that (89)Zr is well-suited for mAbs to image cancer over an extended period of time (up to 5 days).

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bc300039r

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305358700015

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3459285

  • A general chemical synthesis platform for crosslinking multivalent single chain variable fragments ORGANIC & BIOMOLECULAR CHEMISTRY Schellinger, J. G., Kudupudi, A., Natarajan, A., Du, W., DeNardo, S. J., Gervay-Hague, J. 2012; 10 (8): 1521-1526


    Multivalent single chain variable fragments (scFv) show increased affinity to tumor-associated antigens compared to monovalent scFv and intact monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Multivalent constructs can be derived from self-associating or covalent scFv with covalent constructs offering improved in vivo and in vitro stability. Covalent attachment of scFv can be achieved using genetically engineered expression vectors that afford scFv with site specific cysteine functionality. Expression vectors for di-scFv-C wherein the cysteine is located in the center of two scFv have also been developed for attaching chemically reactive linkers. In the example illustrated here, the di-scFv-C is derived from a mAb directed against the MUC1 epitope, which is presented on cancer cells. To achieve multivalency, a chemical crosslinking strategy utilizing various azide and multi-alkyne functionalized polyethylene glycol (PEG) linkers was implemented. Conjugation was achieved by attachment of these linkers to the scFv thiol functionality. Chemoselective ligation was employed to covalently link different protein conjugates via copper(I) catalyzed azide alkyne 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction (CuAAC) chemistry. Ligations were achieved in >70% yield using a specific set of linkers as determined by SDS-PAGE and densitometry. ELISA showed increased tumor binding of a tetravalent scFv providing a versatile chemical crosslinking strategy for construction of multivalent and bi-specific immunoconjugates that retain biological activity and have potential application in pre-targeted radioimmunotherapy and imaging.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/c0ob01259a

    View details for PubMedID 22132412

  • Halogenated Benzimidazole Carboxamides Target Integrin alpha(4)beta(1) on T-Cell and B-Cell Lymphomas CANCER RESEARCH Carpenter, R. D., Natarajan, A., Lau, E. Y., Andrei, M., Solano, D. M., Lightstone, F. C., DeNardo, S. J., Lam, K. S., Kurth, M. J. 2010; 70 (13): 5448-5456


    Integrin alpha(4)beta(1) is an attractive but poorly understood target for selective diagnosis and treatment of T-cell and B-cell lymphomas. This report focuses on the rapid microwave preparation, structure-activity relationships, and biological evaluation of medicinally pertinent benzimidazole heterocycles as integrin alpha(4)beta(1) antagonists. We documented tumor uptake of derivatives labeled with (125)I in xenograft murine models of B-cell lymphoma. Molecular homology models of integrin alpha(4)beta(1) predicted that docked halobenzimidazole carboxamides have the halogen atom in a suitable orientation for halogen-hydrogen bonding. The high-affinity halogenated ligands identified offer attractive tools for medicinal and biological use, including fluoro and iodo derivatives with potential radiodiagnostic ((18)F) or radiotherapeutic ((131)I) applications, or chloro and bromo analogues that could provide structural insights into integrin-ligand interactions through photoaffinity, cross-linking/mass spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallographic studies.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3736

    View details for PubMedID 20530664

  • A blood biomarker for monitoring response to anti-EGFR therapy. Cancer biomarkers : section A of Disease markers Hughes, N. P., Xu, L., Nielsen, C. H., Chang, E., Hori, S. S., Natarajan, A., Lee, S., Kjar, A., Kani, K., Wang, S. X., Mallick, P., Gambhir, S. S. 2018


    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: To monitor therapies targeted to epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we investigated Peroxiredoxin 6 (PRDX6) as a biomarker of response to anti-EGFR agents.METHODS: We studied cells that are sensitive (H3255, HCC827) or resistant (H1975, H460) to gefitinib. PRDX6 was examined with either gefitinib or vehicle treatment using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. We created xenograft models from one sensitive (HCC827) and one resistant cell line (H1975) and monitored serum PRDX6 levels during treatment.RESULTS: PRDX6 levels in cell media from sensitive cell lines increased significantly after gefitinib treatment vs. vehicle, whereas there was no significant difference for resistant lines. PRDX6 accumulation over time correlated positively with gefitinib sensitivity. Serum PRDX6 levels in gefitinib-sensitive xenograft models increased markedly during the first 24 hours of treatment and then decreased dramatically during the following 48 hours. Differences in serum PRDX6 levels between vehicle and gefitinib-treated animals could not be explained by differences in tumor burden.CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that changes in serum PRDX6 during the course of gefitinib treatment of xenograft models provide insight into tumor response and such an approach offers several advantages over imaging-based strategies for monitoring response to anti-EGFR agents.

    View details for PubMedID 29689709

  • Tumor Treating Fields Increases Membrane Permeability in Glioblastoma Cells Cell Death Discovery (equal contribution) Chang, E., (equal contribution) Patel, C. B., Pohling, C., Young, C., Song, J., Flores, T., Zeng, Y., Joubert, L. M., Arami, H., Natarajan, A., Sinclair, R., Gambhir, S. S. 2018; 4
  • Quantification of Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging (CLI) Comparable With 3-D PET Standard Measurements. Molecular imaging Habte, F., Natarajan, A., Paik, D. S., Gambhir, S. S. 2018; 17: 1536012118788637


    Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI) is commonly performed using two-dimensional (2-D) conventional optical imaging systems for its cost-effective solution. However, quantification of CLI comparable to conventional three-dimensional positron emission tomography (PET) is challenging using these systems due to both the high attenuation of Cerenkov radiation (CR) on mouse tissue and nonexisting depth resolution of CLI using 2-D imaging systems (2-D CLI). In this study, we developed a model that estimates effective tissue attenuation coefficient and corrects the tissue attenuation of CLI signal intensity independent of tissue depth and size. To evaluate this model, we used several thin slices of ham as a phantom and placed a radionuclide (89Zr and 64Cu) inside the phantom at different tissue depths and sizes (2, 7, and 12 mm). We performed 2-D CLI and MicroPET/CT (Combined small animal PET and Computed Tomography (CT)) imaging of the phantom and in vivo mouse model after administration of 89Zr tracer. Estimates of the effective tissue attenuation coefficient (mueff) for 89Zr and 64Cu were 2.4 and 2.6 cm-1, respectively. The computed unit conversion factor to %ID/g from 2-D CLI signal was 2.74 * 10-3 muCi/radiance estimated from phantom study. After applying tissue attenuation correction and unit conversion to the in vivo animal study, an average quantification difference of 10% for spleen and 35% for liver was obtained compared to PET measurements. The proposed model provides comparable quantification accuracy to standard PET system independent of deep tissue CLI signal attenuation.

    View details for PubMedID 30043654

  • Practical Immuno-PET Radiotracer Design Considerations for Human Immune Checkpoint Imaging JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE Mayer, A. T., Natarajan, A., Gordon, S. R., Maute, R. L., McCracken, M. N., Ring, A. M., Weissman, I. L., Gambhir, S. S. 2017; 58 (4): 538-546


    Immune checkpoint blockade has emerged as a promising cancer treatment paradigm. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of patients and malignancies that do not respond to therapy. A major barrier to validating biomarkers for the prediction and monitoring of responders to clinical checkpoint blockade has been the lack of imaging tools to accurately assess dynamic immune checkpoint expression. Here, we sought to optimize noninvasive immuno-PET imaging of human programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, in a preclinical model, using a small high-affinity engineered protein scaffold (HAC-PD1). Six HAC-PD1 radiotracer variants were developed and used in preclinical imaging and biodistribution studies to assess their ability to detect human PD-L1 expression in vivo. Radiotracer design modifications included chelate, glycosylation, and radiometal. HACA-PD1 was adopted as the naming convention for aglycosylated tracer variants. NOD scid γ-(NSG) mice were inoculated with subcutaneous tumors engineered to either be constitutively positive (CT26 hPD-L1) or be negative (ΔmPD-L1 CT26) for human PD-L1 expression. When the tumors had grown to an average size of 1 cm in diameter, mice were injected with 0.75-2.25 MBq (∼10 μg) of an engineered radiotracer variant and imaged. At 1 h after injection, organs were harvested for biodistribution. Of the practical immuno-PET tracer modifications considered, glycosylation was the most prominent design factor affecting tracer uptake, specificity, and clearance. In imaging studies, aglycosylated (64)Cu-NOTA-HACA-PD1 most accurately visualized human PD-L1 expression in vivo. We reasoned that because of the scaffold's small size (14 kDa), its pharmacokinetics may be suitable for labeling with the short-lived and widely clinically available radiometal (68)Ga. At 1 h after injection, (68)Ga-NOTA-HACA-PD1 and (68)Ga-DOTA-HACA-PD1 exhibited promising target-to-background ratios in ex vivo biodistribution studies (12.3 and 15.2 tumor-to-muscle ratios, respectively). Notably, all HAC-PD1 radiotracer variants enabled much earlier detection of human PD-L1 expression (1 h after injection) than previously reported radiolabeled antibodies (>24 h after injection). This work provides a template for assessing immuno-PET tracer design parameters and supports the translation of small engineered protein radiotracers for imaging human immune checkpoints.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.116.177659

    View details for Web of Science ID 000398249600012

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5373501

  • Imaging B cells in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis using (64)Cu-Rituximab-PET. Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine James, M. L., Hoehne, A., Mayer, A. T., Lechtenberg, K., Moreno, M., Gowrishankar, G., Ilovich, O., Natarajan, A., Johnson, E. M., Nguyen, J., Quach, L., Han, M., Buckwalter, M., Chandra, S., Gambhir, S. S. 2017


    B lymphocytes are a key pathological feature of multiple sclerosis (MS), and are becoming an important therapeutic target for this condition. Currently, there is no approved technique to non-invasively visualize B cells in the central nervous system (CNS) to monitor MS disease progression and response to therapies. Here we evaluated (64)Cu-Rituximab, a radiolabeled antibody specifically targeting the human B cell marker CD20, for its ability to image B cells in a mouse model of MS using positron emission tomography (PET). Methods: To model CNS infiltration by B cells, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) was induced in transgenic mice that express human CD20 on B cells. EAE mice were given subcutaneous injections of Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein fragment1-125 (MOG1-125) emulsified in complete Freund's adjuvant. Control mice received complete Freund's adjuvant alone. PET imaging of EAE and control mice was performed 1, 4, and 19h following (64)Cu-Rituximab administration. Mice were perfused and sacrificed after final PET scan, and radioactivity in dissected tissues was measured with a gamma-counter. CNS tissues from these mice were immunostained to quantify B cells or further analyzed via digital autoradiography. Results: Lumbar spinal cord PET signal was significantly higher in EAE mice compared to controls at all evaluated time points (e.g., 1h post-injection: 5.44 ± 0.37 vs. 3.33 ± 0.20 %ID/g, p<0.05). (64)Cu-Rituximab-PET signal in brain regions ranged between 1.74 ± 0.11 and 2.93 ± 0.15 %ID/g for EAE mice compared to 1.25±0.08 and 2.24±0.11%ID/g for controls, p<0.05 for all regions except striatum and thalamus at 1h post-injection. Similarly, ex vivo biodistribution results revealed notably higher (64)Cu-Rituximab uptake in brain and spinal cord of huCD20tg EAE, and B220 immunostaining verified that increased (64)Cu-Rituximab uptake in CNS tissues corresponded with elevated B cells. Conclusion: B cells can be detected in the CNS of EAE mice using (64)Cu-Rituximab-PET. Results from these studies warrant further investigation of (64)Cu-Rituximab in EAE models and consideration of use in MS patients to evaluate its potential for detecting and monitoring B cells in the progression and treatment of this disease. These results represent an initial step toward generating a platform to evaluate B cell-targeted therapeutics en route to the clinic.

    View details for PubMedID 28687602

  • Practical ImmunoPET radiotracer design considerations for human immune checkpoint imaging. Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine Mayer, A. T., Natarajan, A., Gordon, S., Maute, R., McCracken, M., Ring, A., Weissman, I., Gambhir, S. S. 2016


    Immune checkpoint blockade has emerged as a promising cancer treatment paradigm. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of patients and malignancies that do not respond to therapy. A major barrier to validating biomarkers for the prediction and monitoring of responders to clinical checkpoint blockade has been the lack of imaging tools to accurately assess dynamic immune checkpoint expression. Here, we sought to optimize noninvasive immuno-PET imaging of human programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, in a preclinical model, using a small high-affinity engineered protein scaffold (HAC-PD1). Six HAC-PD1 radiotracer variants were developed and used in preclinical imaging and biodistribution studies to assess their ability to detect human PD-L1 expression in vivo. Radiotracer design modifications included chelate, glycosylation, and radiometal. HACA-PD1 was adopted as the naming convention for aglycosylated tracer variants. NOD scid γ-(NSG) mice were inoculated with subcutaneous tumors engineered to either be constitutively positive (CT26 hPD-L1) or be negative (ΔmPD-L1 CT26) for human PD-L1 expression. When the tumors had grown to an average size of 1 cm in diameter, mice were injected with 0.75-2.25 MBq (∼10 μg) of an engineered radiotracer variant and imaged. At 1 h after injection, organs were harvested for biodistribution. Of the practical immuno-PET tracer modifications considered, glycosylation was the most prominent design factor affecting tracer uptake, specificity, and clearance. In imaging studies, aglycosylated (64)Cu-NOTA-HACA-PD1 most accurately visualized human PD-L1 expression in vivo. We reasoned that because of the scaffold's small size (14 kDa), its pharmacokinetics may be suitable for labeling with the short-lived and widely clinically available radiometal (68)Ga. At 1 h after injection, (68)Ga-NOTA-HACA-PD1 and (68)Ga-DOTA-HACA-PD1 exhibited promising target-to-background ratios in ex vivo biodistribution studies (12.3 and 15.2 tumor-to-muscle ratios, respectively). Notably, all HAC-PD1 radiotracer variants enabled much earlier detection of human PD-L1 expression (1 h after injection) than previously reported radiolabeled antibodies (>24 h after injection). This work provides a template for assessing immuno-PET tracer design parameters and supports the translation of small engineered protein radiotracers for imaging human immune checkpoints.

    View details for PubMedID 27980047

  • AshwaMAX and Withaferin A inhibits gliomas in cellular and murine orthotopic models JOURNAL OF NEURO-ONCOLOGY Chang, E., Pohling, C., Natarajan, A., Witney, T. H., Kaur, J., Xu, L., Gowrishankar, G., D'Souza, A. L., Murty, S., Schick, S., Chen, L., Wu, N., Khaw, P., Mischel, P., Abbasi, T., Usmani, S., Mallick, P., Gambhir, S. S. 2016; 126 (2): 253-264


    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive, malignant cancer Johnson and O'Neill (J Neurooncol 107: 359-364, 2012). An extract from the winter cherry plant (Withania somnifera ), AshwaMAX, is concentrated (4.3 %) for Withaferin A; a steroidal lactone that inhibits cancer cells Vanden Berghe et al. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomark Prev 23: 1985-1996, 2014). We hypothesized that AshwaMAX could treat GBM and that bioluminescence imaging (BLI) could track oral therapy in orthotopic murine models of glioblastoma. Human parietal-cortical glioblastoma cells (GBM2, GBM39) were isolated from primary tumors while U87-MG was obtained commercially. GBM2 was transduced with lentiviral vectors that express Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)/firefly luciferase fusion proteins. Mutational, expression and proliferative status of GBMs were studied. Intracranial xenografts of glioblastomas were grown in the right frontal regions of female, nude mice (n = 3-5 per experiment). Tumor growth was followed through BLI. Neurosphere cultures (U87-MG, GBM2 and GBM39) were inhibited by AshwaMAX at IC50 of 1.4, 0.19 and 0.22 µM equivalent respectively and by Withaferin A with IC50 of 0.31, 0.28 and 0.25 µM respectively. Oral gavage, every other day, of AshwaMAX (40 mg/kg per day) significantly reduced bioluminescence signal (n = 3 mice, p < 0.02, four parameter non-linear regression analysis) in preclinical models. After 30 days of treatment, bioluminescent signal increased suggesting onset of resistance. BLI signal for control, vehicle-treated mice increased and then plateaued. Bioluminescent imaging revealed diffuse growth of GBM2 xenografts. With AshwaMAX, GBM neurospheres collapsed at nanomolar concentrations. Oral treatment studies on murine models confirmed that AshwaMAX is effective against orthotopic GBM. AshwaMAX is thus a promising candidate for future clinical translation in patients with GBM.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11060-015-1972-1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000368728300005

  • Engineering high-affinity PD-1 variants for optimized immunotherapy and immuno-PET imaging PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Maute, R. L., Gordon, S. R., Mayer, A. T., McCracken, M. N., Natarajan, A., Ring, N. G., Kimura, R., Tsai, J. M., Manglik, A., Kruse, A. C., Gambhir, S. S., Weissman, I. L., Ring, A. M. 2015; 112 (47): E6506-E6514

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1519623112

    View details for Web of Science ID 000365173100015

    View details for PubMedID 26604307

  • Development and Validation of an Immuno-PET Tracer as a Companion Diagnostic Agent for Antibody-Drug Conjugate Therapy to Target the CA6 Epitope. Radiology Ilovich, O., Natarajan, A., Hori, S., Sathirachinda, A., Kimura, R., Srinivasan, A., Gebauer, M., Kruip, J., Focken, I., Lange, C., Carrez, C., Sassoon, I., Blanc, V., Sarkar, S. K., Gambhir, S. S. 2015; 276 (1): 191-198


    Purpose To develop and compare three copper 64 ((64)Cu)-labeled antibody fragments derived from a CA6-targeting antibody (huDS6) as immuno-positron emission tomography (immuno-PET)-based companion diagnostic agents for an antibody-drug conjugate by using huDS6. Materials and Methods Three antibody fragments derived from huDS6 were produced, purified, conjugated to 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA), and evaluated in the following ways: (a) the affinity of the fragments and the DOTA conjugates was measured via flow cytometry, (b) the stability of the labeled fragments was determined ex vivo in human serum over 24 hours, and (c) comparison of the in vivo imaging potential of the fragments was evaluated in mice bearing subcutaneous CA6-positive and CA6-negative xenografts by using serial PET imaging and biodistribution. Isotype controls with antilysozyme and anti-DM4 B-Fabs and blocking experiments with an excess of either B-Fab or huDS6 were used to determine the extent of the antibody fragment (64)Cu-DOTA-B-Fab binding specificity. Immunoreactivity and tracer kinetics were evaluated by using cellular uptake and 48-hour imaging experiments, respectively. Statistical analyses were performed by using t tests, one-way analysis of variance, and Wilcoxon and Mann-Whitney tests. Results The antibody fragment (64)Cu-DOTA-B-Fab was more than 95% stable after 24 hours in human serum, had an immunoreactivity of more than 70%, and allowed differentiation between CA6-positive and CA6-negative tumors in vivo as early as 6 hours after injection, with a 1.7-fold uptake ratio between tumors. Isotype and blocking studies experiments showed tracer-specific uptake in antigen-positive tumors, despite some nonspecific uptake in both tumor models. Conclusion Three antibody fragments were produced and examined as potential companion diagnostic agents. (64)Cu-DOTA-B-Fab is a stable and effective immuno-PET tracer for CA6 imaging in vivo. (©) RSNA, 2015 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

    View details for DOI 10.1148/radiol.15140058

    View details for PubMedID 25734548

  • Validation of 64Cu-DOTA-rituximab injection preparation under good manufacturing practices: a PET tracer for imaging of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Molecular imaging Natarajan, A., Arksey, N., Iagaru, A., Chin, F. T., Gambhir, S. S. 2015; 14

    View details for DOI 10.2310/7290.2014.00055

    View details for PubMedID 25762106

  • Validation of 64Cu-DOTA-rituximab injection preparation under good manufacturing practices: a PET tracer for imaging of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Molecular imaging Natarajan, A., Arksey, N., Iagaru, A., Chin, F. T., Gambhir, S. S. 2015; 14


    AbstractManufacturing of 64Cu-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-rituximab injection under good manufacturing practices (GMP) was validated for imaging of patients with CD20+ B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Rituximab was purified by size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and conjugated to DOTA-mono-(N-hydroxysuccinimidyl) ester. 64CuCl2, buffers, reagents, and other raw materials were obtained as high-grade quality. Following a semi-automated synthesis of 64Cu-DOTA-rituximab, a series of quality control tests was performed. The product was further tested in vivo using micro-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) to assess targeting ability towards human CD20 in transgenic mice. Three batches of 64Cu-DOTA-rituximab final product were prepared as per GMP specifications. The radiolabeling yield from these batches was 93.1 ± 5.8%; these provided final product with radiopharmaceutical yield, purity, and specific activity of 59.2 ± 5.1% (0.9 ± 0.1 GBq of 64Cu), > 95% (by HPLC and radio-thin layer chromatography), and 229.4 ± 43.3 GBq/µmol (or 1.5 ± 0.3 MBq/µg), respectively. The doses passed apyrogenicity and human serum stability specifications, were sterile up to 14 days, and retained > 60% immunoreactivity. In vivo micro-PET/CT mouse images at 24 hours postinjection showed that the tracer targeted the intended sites of human CD20 expression. Thus, we have validated the manufacturing of GMP grade 64Cu-DOTA-rituximab for injection in the clinical setting.

    View details for DOI 10.2310/7290.2014.00055

    View details for PubMedID 25762106

  • A simple model for deep tissue attenuation correction and large organ analysis of Cerenkov luminescence imaging Medical Imaging - Physics of Medical Imaging Habte, F., Natarajan, A., Paik, D. S., Gambhir, S. S. SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING. 2014

    View details for DOI 10.1117/12.2043879

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338775800154

  • The Remarkable Stability of Chimeric, Sialic Acid-derived alpha/delta-Peptides in Human Blood Plasma CHEMICAL BIOLOGY & DRUG DESIGN Saludes, J. P., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, S. J., Gervay-Hague, J. 2010; 75 (5): 455-460


    Peptides are labile toward proteolytic enzymes, and structural modifications are often required to prolong their metabolic half-life and increase resistance. One modification is the incorporation of non-alpha-amino acids into the peptide to deter recognition by hydrolytic enzymes. We previously reported the synthesis of chimeric alpha/delta-peptides from glutamic acids (Glu) and the sialic acid derivative Neu2en. Conformational analyses revealed these constructs adopt secondary structures in water and may serve as conformational surrogates of polysialic acid. Polysialic acid is a tumor-associated polysaccharide and is correlated with cancer metastasis. Soluble polysialic acid is rapidly cleared from the blood limiting its potential for vaccine development. One motivation in developing structural surrogates of polysialic acid was to create constructs with increased bioavailability. Here, we report plasma stability profiles of Glu/Neu2en alpha/delta-peptides. DOTA was conjugated at the peptide N-termini by solid phase peptide synthesis, radiolabeled with (111)In, incubated in human blood plasma at 37 degrees C, and their degradation patterns monitored by cellulose acetate electrophoresis and radioactivity counting. Results indicate that these peptides exhibit a long half-life that is two- to three-orders of magnitude higher than natural alpha-peptides. These findings provide a viable platform for the synthesis of plasma stable, sialic acid-derived peptides that may find pharmaceutical application.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1747-0285.2010.00954.x

    View details for PubMedID 20486931

  • Acute liver injury upregulates microRNA-491_5p in mice, and its overexpression sensitizes Hep G2 cells for tumour necrosis factor-alpha-induced apoptosis LIVER INTERNATIONAL Yoon, S., Kim, T., Natarajan, A., Wang, S., Choi, J., Wu, J., Zern, M. A., Venugopal, S. K. 2010; 30 (3): 376-387


    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as novel genetic regulators of cell functions such as proliferation, apoptosis and cancer.The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of a specific miRNA in modulating hepatic cell functions. Methods: C57Bl/6 mice were administered anti-fas receptor antibodies to induce liver cell apoptosis. miRNAs were purified from the liver tissue and evaluated using an miRNA microarray. The role of miRNA-491_5p, which was overexpressed in the model, in modulating hepatic cell functions was evaluated. miRNA-491_5p was overexpressed in Hep G2 cells, followed by the addition of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and induction of apoptosis as well as genes involved in apoptosis pathways were evaluated. The effect of miRNA-491_5p target genes on apoptosis was also analysed by inhibiting their expression by siRNA-induced gene silencing.Upregulation of miRNA-491_5p was found in a high-dose anti-fas receptor antibody group. Overexpression of microRNA-491_5p sensitized Hep G2 cells for TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis, and also caused an inhibition of alpha-fetoprotein, (AFP), heat shock protein-90 (hsp-90) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB). Overexpression of miRNA-491_5p or inhibition of AFP and hsp-90 resulted in an increased apoptosis in TNF-alpha-treated Hep G2 cells.One of the miRNAs that is associated with the acute liver injury mouse model, miRNA-491_5p, sensitizes Hep G2 cells for TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis, at least in part, by inhibiting AFP, hsp-90 and NF-kappaB.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2009.02181.x

    View details for PubMedID 20015148

  • Hexa-arginine enhanced uptake and residualization of selective high affinity ligands by Raji lymphoma cells MOLECULAR CANCER Balhorn, R., Hok, S., DeNardo, S., Natarajan, A., Mirick, G., Corzett, M., DeNardo, G. 2009; 8


    A variety of arginine-rich peptide sequences similar to those found in viral proteins have been conjugated to other molecules to facilitate their transport into the cytoplasm and nucleus of targeted cells. The selective high affinity ligand (SHAL) (DvLPBaPPP)2LLDo, which was developed to bind only to cells expressing HLA-DR10, has been conjugated to one of these peptide transduction domains, hexa-arginine, to assess the impact of the peptide on SHAL uptake and internalization by Raji cells, a B-cell lymphoma.An analog of the SHAL (DvLPBaPPP)2LLDo containing a hexa-arginine peptide was created by adding six D-arginine residues sequentially to a lysine inserted in the SHAL's linker. SHAL binding, internalization and residualization by Raji cells expressing HLA-DR10 were examined using whole cell binding assays and confocal microscopy. Raji cells were observed to bind two fold more 111In-labeled hexa-arginine SHAL analog than Raji cells treated with the parent SHAL. Three fold more hexa-arginine SHAL remained associated with the Raji cells after washing, suggesting that the peptide also enhanced residualization of the 111In transported into cells. Confocal microscopy showed both SHALs localized in the cytoplasm of Raji cells, whereas a fraction of the hexa-arginine SHAL localized in the nucleus.The incorporation of a hexa-D-arginine peptide into the linker of the SHAL (DvLPBaPPP)2LLDo enhanced both the uptake and residualization of the SHAL analog by Raji cells. In contrast to the abundant cell surface binding observed with Lym-1 antibody, the majority of (DvLPBaPPP)2LArg6AcLLDo and the parent SHAL were internalized. Some of the internalized hexa-arginine SHAL analog was also associated with the nucleus. These results demonstrate that several important SHAL properties, including uptake, internalization, retention and possibly intracellular distribution, can be enhanced or modified by conjugating the SHALs to a short polypeptide.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1476-4598-8-25

    View details for Web of Science ID 000266323000001

    View details for PubMedID 19383174

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2680800

  • In-111-LLP2A-DOTA Polyethylene Glycol-Targeting alpha 4 beta 1 Integrin: Comparative Pharmacokinetics for Imaging and Therapy of Lymphoid Malignancies JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE DeNardo, S. J., Liu, R., Albrecht, H., Natarajan, A., Sutcliffe, J. L., Anderson, C., Peng, L., Ferdani, R., Cherry, S. R., Lam, K. S. 2009; 50 (4): 625-634


    N-[[4-[[[(2-ethylphenyl)amino]carbonyl]amino]phenyl]acetyl]-N(epsilon)-6-[(2E)-1-oxo-3-(3-pyridinyl-2-propenyl)]-l-lysyl-l-2-aminohexanedioyl-(1-amino-1-cyclohexane)carboxamide (LLP2A) is a high-affinity, high-specificity peptidomimetic ligand (inhibitory concentration of 50% = 2 pM) that binds the activated alpha4beta1 integrin found on a variety of malignant lymphoid cell lines. To better determine whether this ligand holds promise for imaging and therapy in lymphoid malignancies, 6 LLP2A derivatives, as LLP2A-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid (LLP2A-DOTA) and LLP2A-DOTA-polyethylene glycol (LLP2A-DOTA-PEG), were designed, synthesized, and radiolabeled with (111)In. Comparative pharmacokinetic studies in mice with Raji B-cell lymphoma xenografts were then complemented by small-animal PET of the lead molecular LLP2A format using (64)Cu-LLP2A-11-bis(carboxymethyl)-1,4,8,11-tetraazabicyclo[6.6.2]hexadecane ((64)Cu-LLP2A-CB-TE2A).LLP2A-DOTA and LLP2A-CB-TE2A were prepared using solid-phase synthesis; LLP2A-DOTA-PEG(2,000), LLP2A-DOTA-PEG(5,000), LLP2A-DOTA-PEG(10,000), (LLP2A-DOTA)(2)PEG(10,000), and (LLP2A-DOTA)(4)PEG(10,000) were prepared by PEGylation. (111)In radiolabeling of DOTA and (64)Cu radiolabeling of CB-TE2A conjugates yielded 370-1,850 and 3,700-7,400 kBq/microg (10-50 and 100-200 microCi/microg), respectively. The pharmacokinetics of the six (111)In radioconjugates were studied in vivo using biodistribution data (4 and 24 h) and whole-body autoradiography (24 h) in mice with Raji tumor xenografts. (64)Cu-LLP2A-CB-TE2A was imaged (4 and 24 h) on a small-animal PET scanner in the same mouse model.The highest tumor uptake in pharmacokinetic studies was obtained with LLP2A-DOTA and (LLP2A-DOTA)(4)-PEG(10,000). For (111)In-LLP2A-DOTA (1 nM) at 4 and 24 h after injection, ratios of tumor to blood and tumor to nontumor (normal) organ (T/NT) were 8 to 35:1 for all organs or tissue except the spleen, marrow, and kidney, which were between 2:1 and 1:1. Tetravalent (LLP2A-DOTA)(4)-PEG(10,000) (1.1 nM) had tumor uptake similar to the univalent LLP2A-DOTA but higher liver, marrow, and kidney uptake. The excellent T/NT of LLP2A was also demonstrated by small-animal PET with (64)Cu-LLP2A-CB-TE2A at both 4 and 24 h after injection; obvious spleen targeting was apparent, but little kidney or liver activity was observed.Of the conjugates investigated, the univalent, non-PEGylated ligand (111)In-LLP2A-DOTA exhibited the best T/NT ratios and showed the greatest potential for imaging of alpha4beta1 in human lymphoma. Furthermore, this univalent non-PEGylated LLP2A format, as (64)Cu-LLP2A-CB-TE2A, demonstrated excellent tumor targeting by small-animal PET and warrants further investigation as an agent for the study of alpha4beta1 expression in human lymphoid malignancies.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.108.056903

    View details for PubMedID 19289419

  • Nanomolecular HLA-DR10 Antibody Mimics: A Potent System for Molecular Targeted Therapy and Imaging CANCER BIOTHERAPY AND RADIOPHARMACEUTICALS DeNardo, G. L., Natarajan, A., Hok, S., Mirick, G., DeNardo, S. J., Corzett, M., Sysko, V., Lehmann, J., Beckett, L., Balhorn, R. 2008; 23 (6): 783-795


    To mimic the molecular specificity and cell selectivity of monoclonal antibody (mAb) binding while decreasing size, nanomolecules (selective high-affinity ligands; SHALs), based on in silico modeling, have been created to bind to human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR10), a signaling receptor protein upregulated on the malignant B-lymphocytes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. SHALs were synthesized with a biotin or DOTA chelate (1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid), using a solid-phase lysine-polyethyleneglycol backbone to link sets of ligands shown previously to bind to HLA-DR10. Using cell-binding and death assays and confocal microscopy, SHAL uptake, residualization, and cytocidal activity were evaluated in HLA-DR10 expressing and nonexpressing live, human lymphoma cell lines. All of the SHALs tested were selective for, and accumulated in, expressing cells. Reflecting binding to HLA-DR10 inside the cells, SHALs having the Ct ligand (3-(2-([3-chloro-5-trifluoromethyl)-2-pyridinyl]oxy)-anilino)-3-oxopropanionic acid) residualized in expressing cells greater than 179 times more than accountable by cell-surface membrane HLA-DR10. Confocal microscopy confirmed the intracellular residualization of these SHALs. Importantly, SHALs with a Ct ligand had direct cytocidal activity, similar in potency to that of Lym-1 mAb and rituximab, selectively for HLA-DR10 expressing lymphoma cells and xenografts. The results show that SHALs containing the Ct ligand residualize intracellularly and have cytocidal effects mediated by HLA-DR10. These SHALs have extraordinary potential as novel molecules for the selective targeting of lymphoma and leukemia for molecular therapy and imaging. Further, these SHALs can be used to transport and residualize cytotoxic agents near critical sites inside these malignant cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/cbr.2008.0589

    View details for PubMedID 20443696

  • Development of TNKase specific cleavable peptide linked radioimmunoconjugates for radioimmunotherapy BIOORGANIC & MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS Natarajan, A., Kumaresan, P. R., DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L., Mirick, G., Lam, K. S. 2008; 18 (17): 4802-4805


    Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) is a method for selectively delivering radionuclides to cancer cells while reducing the radiation dose to normal tissues. However, because of slow clearance of MAbs, normal tissues also received radiotoxicity. One of the promising strategies is linking on-demand cleavable (ODC) peptides between radiometal chelates and the tumor targeting agents. We have tested this proof-of-concept by using ODC peptides that are designed to be cleaved only by TNKase and are resistant to cleavage by enzymes present in the plasma and the tumor. TNKase-specific peptide linkers using l- and d-amino acids were screened by OBOC combinatorial peptide libraries. One of the best peptides was linked to radiometal chelate and ChL6-MAb to prepare radioimmunoconjugate (RIC). Optimization and characterization of the linker conjugation to MAb show (a) 1-2 peptides linked to each MAb; (b) immunoreactivity >80%; (c) specific activity of the RIC 0.7-1 microCi/microg; (d) RIC stable over 7 days in human plasma; and (e) radiometal-chelated ODC peptide cleaved from the RIC in plasma by TNKase at clinical dose levels of 10 microg/ml. The percent release of radiochelate from RIC was 50% at 24h and 85% over 7 2h in vitro. This novel ODC-linked RIC could be a potential molecule for RIT.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bmcl.2008.07.097

    View details for PubMedID 18701282

  • In-111-DOTA- and Cu-64-CB-TE2A-LLP2A targeting alpha 4 beta 1 integrin: Development of imaging directed Cu-67 therapy of lymphoid malignancies 12th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates DeNardo, S., Sutcliffe, J., Anderson, C., Natarajan, A., KUKIS, D., Cherry, S., Gagnon, K., Ferdani, R., Albrecht, H., Lam, K. MARY ANN LIEBERT INC. 2008: 515–15
  • Pre-clinical evaluation and efficacy studies of a melanin-binding IgM antibody labeled with Re-188 against experimental human metastatic melanoma in nude mice CANCER BIOLOGY & THERAPY Dadachova, E., Revskaya, E., SESAY, M. A., Damania, H., Boucher, R., Sellers, R. S., Howell, R. C., Burns, L., Thornton, G. B., Natarajan, A., Mirick, G. R., DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L., Casadevall, A. 2008; 7 (7): 1116-1127


    Currently there is no satisfactory treatment for metastatic melanoma. Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) uses the antigen-antibody interaction to deliver lethal radiation to target cells. Recently we established the feasibility of targeting melanin in tumors with 188-Rhenium ((188)Re)-labeled 6D2 mAb to melanin. Here we carried out pre-clinical development of (188)Re-6D2 to accrue information necessary for a Phase I trial in patients with metastatic melanoma.TCEP proved to be effective in generating a sufficient number of -SH groups on 6D2 to ensure high radiolabeling yields with (188)Re and preserved its structural integrity. (188)Re-6D2 was quickly cleared from the blood with the half-life of approximately 5 hrs and from the body--with the half-life of 10 hr. The doses of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 mCi significantly (p < 0.05) slowed down A2058 tumor growth in nude mice, also causing release of melanin into the extracellular space which could provide additional target for repeated treatments. Transient effects of RIT on WBC and platelet counts resolved by Day 14 post-treatment.Tris(2-Carboxyethyl) Phosphine Hydrochloride (TCEP) was evaluated as potential agent for generation of -SH groups on 6D2 mAb. TCEP-treated 6D2 mAb was radiolabeled with (188)Re and its radiochemical purity and stability was measured by ITLC and HPLC and its immunoreactivity--by melanin-binding ELISA. The pharmacokinetics, therapeutic efficacy and acute hematologic toxicity studies were performed in nude mice bearing lightly pigmented A2058 human metastatic melanoma tumors.We have developed radiolabeling and quality control procedures for melanin-binding (188)Re-6D2 mAb which made possible currently an on-going Phase I clinical trial in patients with metastatic melanoma.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000258524300025

    View details for PubMedID 18535406

  • NanoFerrite particle based radioimmunonanoparticles: Binding affinity and in vivo pharmacokinetics BIOCONJUGATE CHEMISTRY Natarajan, A., Gruettner, C., Ivkov, R., DeNardo, G. L., Mirick, G., Yuan, A., Foreman, A., DeNardo, S. J. 2008; 19 (6): 1211-1218


    Dextran and PEG-coated iron oxide nanoparticles (NP), when suitably modified to enable conjugation with molecular targeting agents, provide opportunities to target cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies, scFv, and peptides conjugated to 20 nm NP have been reported to target cancer for imaging and alternating magnetic field (AMF) therapy. The physical characteristics of NPs can affect their in vivo performance. Surface morphology, surface charge density, and particle size are considered important factors that determine pharmacokinetics, toxicity, and biodistribution. New NanoFerrite (NF) particles having improved specific AMF absorption rates and diameters of 30 and 100 nm were studied to evaluate the variation in their in vitro and in vivo characteristics in comparison to the previously studied 20 nm superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) NP. SPIO NP 20 nm and NF NP 30 and 100 nm were conjugated to (111)In-DOTA-ChL6, a radioimmunoconjugate. Radioimmunoconjugates were conjugated to NPs using 25 microg of RIC/mg of NP by carbodiimide chemistry. The radioimmunonanoparticles (RINP) were purified and characterized by PAGE, cellulose acetate electrophoresis (CAE), live cell binding assays, and pharmacokinetics in athymic mice bearing human breast cancer (HBT 3477) xenografts. RINP (2.2 mg) were injected iv and whole body; blood and tissue data were collected at 4, 24, and 48 h. The preparations used for animal study were >90% monomeric by PAGE and CAE. The immunoreactivity of the RINP was 40-60% compared to (111)In-ChL6. Specific activities of the doses were 20-25 microCi/2.2 mg and 6-11 microg of mAb/2.2 mg of NP. Mean tumor uptakes (% ID/g +/- SD) of each SPIO 20 nm, NF 30 nm, and 100 nm RINP at 48 h were 9.00 +/- 0.8 (20 nm), 3.0 +/- 0.3 (30 nm), and 4.5 +/- 0.8 (100 nm), respectively; the ranges of tissue uptakes were liver (16-32 +/- 1-8), kidney (7.0-15 +/- 1), spleen (8-17 +/- 3-8), lymph nodes 5-6 +/- 1-2), and lung (2.0-4 +/- 0.1-2). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that 100 nm NF NP could be conjugated to (111)In-mAb so that the resulting RINP had characteristics suitable for AMF therapy. Although 100 nm RINP targeted tumor less than 20 nm SPIO RINP, their heating capacity is typically 6 times greater, suggesting the 100 nm NF RINP could still deliver better therapy with AMF.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bc800015n

    View details for PubMedID 18517234

  • Short communication: nanoparticle thermotherapy and external beam radiation therapy for human prostate cancer cells. Cancer biotherapy and radiopharmaceuticals Lehmann, J., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, G. L., Ivkov, R., Foreman, A. R., Catapano, C., Mirick, G., Quang, T., Gruettner, C., DeNardo, S. J. 2008; 23 (2): 265-271


    Nanoparticle thermotherapy (NPTT) uses monoclonal antibody-linked iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (bioprobes) for the tumor-specific thermotherapy of cancer by hysteretic heating of the magnetic component of the probes through an externally applied alternating magnetic field (AMF). The present study investigated the effect of NPTT on a human prostate cancer cell line, DU145. The concept of total heat dose (THD) as a measure for NPTT was validated on a cellular level and THD was correlated to cell death in vitro. The study, furthermore, explored the potential enhancement of the NPTT effect through added external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), because both forms of treatment have a different, and potentially complementary, mechanism of causing cell death.Using carbodiimide, (111)In-DOTA-ChL6 was conjugated to dextran iron oxide 20-nm particles with polyethylene glycol COOH groups on the surface and purified as (111)In-bioprobes. NPTT and EBRT were applied alone and combined to cells labeled with the bioprobes. Cell response was monitored by measuring lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), a product of cytolysis, in the medium. This distinct focus on the response to NPTT was possible, since we found in previous studies that the LDH assay was relatively insensitive to the response of cells (without bioprobes) to EBRT in the dose levels given here.NPTT showed a significantly increased cell death at a total calculated heat dose of 14.51 and 29.02 J/g cells (50% and 100% AMF duty, 350 Oe, 136 kHz, 12 cycles, 20 minutes total), compared with AMF exposure in the absence of bioprobes. Adding EBRT to NPTT did not increase cell death, as measured by LDH. However, EBRT given to cells labeled with bioprobes caused significant cell death at radiation doses of 10 Gy and higher.In human prostate cancer cell cultures, NPTT applied as a single modality caused cell death that correlated with THD estimation; complete cell death occurred at 14.51 J/g cells. Consequently, enhancement of the NPTT effect through the addition of EBRT could not be addressed. Interestingly, EBRT induced cell death on bioprobe-labeled cells at EBRT levels that did not show cell death in the absence of bioprobes; this phenomenon is worth investigating further.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/cbr.2007.0411

    View details for PubMedID 18454696

  • Nanoparticle thermotherapy and external beam radiation therapy for human prostate cancer cells CANCER BIOTHERAPY AND RADIOPHARMACEUTICALS Lehmann, J., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, G. L., Ivkov, R., Foreman, A. R., Catapano, C., Mirick, G., Quang, T., Gruettner, C., DeNardo, S. J. 2008; 23 (2): 265-271
  • Development of multivalent radioimmunonanoparticles for cancer imaging and therapy CANCER BIOTHERAPY AND RADIOPHARMACEUTICALS Natarajan, A., Xiong, C., Gruettner, C., DeNardo, G. L., DeNardo, S. J. 2008; 23 (1): 82-91


    Noninvasive, focused hyperthermia can be achieved by using an externally applied alternating magnetic field (AMF) if effective concentrations of nanoparticles can be delivered to the target cancer cells. Targeting agents, for example, monoclonal antibodies or peptides, linked to magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (NP), represent a promising strategy to target cancer cells and hyperthermia.We have developed a new radioconjugate NP ((111)In-DOTA-di-scFv-NP), using recombinantly generated antibody fragments, di-scFv-c, for the imaging and therapy of anti-MUC-1-expressing cancers, because aberrant MUC-1 is abundantly expressed on the majority of human epithelial cancers. Anti-MUC-1 di-scFv-c (50 kDa) were engineered, generated, and selected to link maleimide functionalized nanoparticles (NP-M). DOTA chelate was conjugated with di-scFv-c for radionuclide chelation to trace the radioimmunonanoparticles (RINPs) in vivo.Heat-inducing NP-M were prepared with maleimide density >15 per particle for site-specific thiolation. The specific activity of the RINP was 4-5 microCi (111)In/mg with >10 molecules of di-scFv per NP. We characterized the RINP by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, cellulose acetate electrophoresis, size-exclusion chromatography, and tumor-cell binding. RINP had a >90% di-scFv conjugated to NP and an immunoreactivity >80% relative to unmodified di-scFv-c on HBT 3477 and DU145 tumor cells. Pharmacokinetics and whole-body autoradiography studies demonstrated that a 5% injected dose was targeted in tumor after 24 hours.Further development of this new preparation of RINP may provide uniquely high tumor-targeting NP for AMF-driven tumor hyperthermia with less spleen and kidney accumulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/cbr.2007.0410

    View details for PubMedID 18298332

  • Characteristics of dimeric (bis) bidentate selective high affinity ligands as HLA-DR10 beta antibody mimics targeting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY DeNardo, G. L., Hok, S., Natarajan, A., Cosman, M., DeNardo, S. J., Lightstone, F. C., Mirick, G. R., Yuan, A., Perkins, J., Sysko, V. V., Lehmann, J., Balhorn, R. L. 2007; 31 (4): 729-740


    Despite their large size, antibodies have proven to be suitable radioisotope carriers to deliver systemic radiotherapy, often molecular image-based, for lymphoma and leukemia. To mimic antibody (Ab) targeting behavior while decreasing size by 50-100x, a combination of computational and experimental methods were used to generate molecules that bind to unique sites within the HLA-DR epitopic region of Lym-1, an Ab shown effective in patients. Lym-1 Ab mimics (synthetic high afinity ligands; SHALs) were generated and studied in vitro, using live cell binding assays, and/or pharmacokinetic studies over 24 h in xenografted mice given 1 or 20 microg SHAL doses i.v. Multimilligram amounts of each of the dimeric (bis) SHALs were synthesized at high purity, and labeled with indium-111 at high specific activity and purity. These SHALs were selective for HLA-DR and HLA-DR expressing malignant cells and had functional affinities that ranged from 10(-9) M (nanomolar) to 10(-10) M. Blood clearances ranged from 3.6 to 9.5 h and body clearances ranged from 15.2 to 43.0 h for the 6 bis DOTA-SHALs studied in a mouse model for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). While localization was shown in Raji NHL xenografts, biodistribution was influenced by 'sinks' for individual ligands of the SHALs. Highly pure, dimeric mimics for HLA-DR Ab were synthesized, biotinylated and radiolabeled, and showed selectivity in vitro. Pharmacokinetic behavior in mice was influenced by the ligands and by the linker length of the dimeric SHALs. Nanomolar or better functional affinity was observed when a suitably long linker was used to connect the two bidentate SHALs. The concept and methodology are of interest because applicable for targeting most proteins; the SHAL synthetic platform is highly efficient and adaptive.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249795300006

    View details for PubMedID 17786303

  • Selective high-affinity ligand antibody mimics for cancer diagnosis and therapy: Initial application to Lymphoma/Leukemia 11th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates Balhorn, R., Hok, S., Burke, P. A., Lightstone, F. C., Cosman, M., Zemla, A., Mirick, G., Perkins, J., Natarajan, A., Corzett, M., DeNardo, S., Albrecht, H., Gregg, J. P., DeNardo, G. L. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2007: 5621S–5628S


    More than two decades of research and clinical trials have shown radioimmunotherapy to be a promising approach for treating various forms of cancer. Lym-1 antibody, which binds selectively to HLA-DR10 on malignant B-cell lymphocytes, has proved to be effective in delivering radionuclides to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia. Using a new approach to create small synthetic molecules that mimic the targeting properties of the Lym-1 antibody, a prototype, selective high-affinity ligand (SHAL), has been developed to bind to a unique region located within the Lym-1 epitope on HLA-DR10.Computer docking methods were used to predict two sets of small molecules that bind to neighboring cavities on the beta subunit of HLA-DR10 surrounding a critical amino acid in the epitope, and the ligands were confirmed to bind to the protein by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Pairs of these molecules were then chemically linked together to produce a series of bidentate and bisbidentate SHALs.These SHALs bind with nanomolar to picomolar K(d)'s only to cell lines expressing HLA-DR10. Analyses of biopsy sections obtained from patients also confirmed that SHAL bound to both small and large cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas mimicking the selectivity of Lym-1.These results show that synthetic molecules less than 1/50th the mass of an antibody can be designed to exhibit strong binding to subtle structural features on cell surface proteins similar to those recognized by antibodies. This approach offers great potential for developing small molecule therapeutics that target other types of cancer and disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-1128

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249889900018

    View details for PubMedID 17875798

  • Pharmacokinetic characterization in xenografted mice of a series of first-generation mimics for HLA-DR antibody, Lym-1, as carrier molecules to image and treat lymphoma JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE DeNardo, G. L., Natarajan, A., Hok, S., Perkins, J., Cosman, M., DeNardo, S. J., Lightstone, F. C., Mirick, G. R., Miers, L. A., Balhorn, R. L. 2007; 48 (8): 1338-1347


    Despite their large size, antibodies (Abs) are suitable carriers to deliver systemic radiotherapy, often molecular image-based, for lymphoma and leukemia. Lym-1 Ab has proven to be an effective radioisotope carrier, even in small amounts, for targeting human leukocyte antigen DR (HLA-DR), a surface membrane protein overexpressed on B-cell lymphoma. Pairs of molecules (referred to as ligands), shown by computational and experimental methods to bind to each of 2 sites within the Lym-1 epitopic region, have been linked to generate small (<2 kDa) molecules (referred to as selective high-affinity ligands [SHALs]) to mimic the targeting properties of Lym-1 Ab.A lysine-polyethylene glycol (PEG) backbone was used to synthetically link 2 of the following ligands: deoxycholate, 5-leuenkephalin, triiodothyronine, thyronine, dabsyl-L-valine, and N-benzoyl-L-arginyl-4-amino-benzoic acid to generate a series of 13 bidentate SHALs with a biotin or 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) chelate attached to the linker. These SHALs have been assessed for their selectivity in binding to HLA-DR10-expressing cells and for their pharmacokinetics and tissue biodistribution in mice. Biotinylated versions of these SHALs discriminated cell lines positive for HLA-DR10 expression with near-nanomolar affinity. The DOTA versions of 4 SHALs were labeled with (111)In for pharmacokinetic studies in mice with HLA-DR10-expressing malignant Raji xenografts.The bidentate, biotinylated, and DOTA-SHALs were synthesized in high-purity, multimilligram amounts. Mean radiochemical and product yields and purities were 90%, 75%, and 90% at mean specific activities of 3.9 MBq/microg (105 microCi/microg) for the (111)In-labeled SHALs. As expected, rapid blood clearance and tumor targeting were observed. The pharmacokinetics of the SHALs was influenced by the component ligands. Biliary clearance, kidney localization, and serum receptor binding contributed to less favorable tumor targeting.A series of SHALs was readily synthesized in multimilligram amounts and showed the expected selective binding in vitro. Better selection of the SHAL components should provide second-generation SHALs with improved properties to fulfill the substantial potential of these novel molecular carriers for targeting.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.107.041095

    View details for PubMedID 17631545

  • Synthesis and radiolabeling of selective high-affinity ligands designed to target non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia BIOCONJUGATE CHEMISTRY Hok, S., Natarajan, A., Balhorn, R., DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L., Perkins, J. 2007; 18 (3): 912-921


    Selective high-affinity ligands (SHALs) were synthesized as molecular targeting agents for HLA-DR10, a cell surface receptor upregulated on malignant B-cell lymphocytes in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia. SHALs are designed to mimic the affinity and selectivity of Lym-1, an antibody that binds to the beta-subunit of HLA-DR10. To bind selectively to HLA-DR10, SHALs were constructed to bind to two adjacent pockets on the surface of the beta-subunit of HLA-DR10 located within an epitope recognized by the Lym-1 antibody. A series of multivalent SHALs with molecular masses of 1500-3000 Da were synthesized using solid/polymer-supported synthesis on chlorotrityl chloride resin in 50-80% yield. To enable their use as radionuclide carriers in mouse studies, SHALs were conjugated to DOTA in a solution-phase reaction with 70-100% yield. 57Co/CoCl2 titrations revealed that 50-60% of the DOTA in the DOTA-conjugated SHALs was available for radiometal chelation. These DOTA-SHALs were labeled with 111In and used to carry out pharmacokinetic studies in mice. Radiolabeling reactions of DOTA-SHALs, with exactly one DOTA entity per targeting SHAL molecule, yielded products with greater than 90% radiochemical purity and specific activities ranging from 97 to 150 muCi/mug.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bc060305o

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246485500039

    View details for PubMedID 17373772

  • Thermal dosimetry predictive of efficacy of In-111-ChL6 nanoparticle AMF-induced thermoablative therapy for human breast cancer in mice JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L., Natarajan, A., Miers, L. A., Foreman, A. R., Gruettner, C., Adamson, G. N., Ivkov, R. 2007; 48 (3): 437-444


    Antibody (mAb)-linked iron oxide nanoparticles (bioprobes) provide the opportunity to develop tumor specific thermal therapy (Rx) for metastatic cancer when inductively heated by an externally applied alternating magnetic field (AMF). To evaluate the potential of this Rx, in vivo tumor targeting, efficacy, and predictive radionuclide-based heat dosimetry were studied using (111)In-ChL6 bioprobes (ChL6 is chimeric L6) in a human breast cancer xenograft model.Using carbodiimide, (111)In-DOTA-ChL6 (DOTA is dodecanetetraacetic acid) was conjugated to polyethylene glycol-iron oxide-impregnated dextran 20-nm particles and purified as (111)In-bioprobes. (111)In doses of 740-1,110 kBq (20-30 muCi) (2.2 mg of bioprobes) were injected intravenously into mice bearing HBT3477 human breast cancer xenografts. Pharmacokinetic (PK) data were obtained at 1, 2, 3, and 5 d. AMF was delivered 72 h after bioprobe injection at amplitudes of 1,410 (113 kA/m), 1,300 (104 kA/m), and 700 (56 kA/m) oersteds (Oe) at 30%, 60%, and 90% "on" time (duty), respectively, and at 1,050 Oe (84 kA/m) at 50% and 70% duty over the 20-min treatment. Treated and control mice were monitored for 90 d. Tumor total heat dose (THD) from activated tumor bioprobes was calculated for each Rx group using (111)In-bioprobe tumor concentration and premeasured particle heat response to AMF amplitudes. Tumor growth delay was analyzed by Wilcoxon rank sum comparison of time to double, triple, and quintuple tumor volume in each group, and all groups were compared with the controls.Mean tumor concentration of (111)In-bioprobes at 48 h was 14 +/- 2 percentage injected dose per gram; this concentration 24 h before AMF treatment was used to calculate THD. No particle-related toxicity was observed. Toxicity was observed at the highest AMF amplitude-duty combination of 1,300 Oe and 60% over 20 min; 6 of 10 mice died acutely. Tumor growth delay occurred in all of the other groups, correlated with heat dose and, except for the lowest heat dose group, was statistically significant when compared with the untreated group. Electron microscopy showed (111)In-bioprobes on tumor cells and cell death by necrosis at 24 and 48 h after AMF.mAb-guided bioprobes (iron oxide nanoparticles) effectively targeted human breast cancer xenografts in mice. THD, calculated using empirically observed (111)In-bioprobe tumor concentration and in vitro nanoparticle heat induction by AMF, correlated with tumor growth delay.

    View details for PubMedID 17332622

  • Construction of di-scFv through a trivalent alkyne-azide 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition CHEMICAL COMMUNICATIONS Natarajan, A., Du, W., Xiong, C., DeNardo, G. L., DeNardo, S. J., Gervay-Hague, J. 2007: 695-697


    Heterofunctional azide and alkyne PEG-linkers have been synthesized and site specifically conjugated to scFv via a reactive thiol functionality; two scFv were coupled by copper catalyzed 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition to make divalent scFv (di-scFv) with an inter-scFv distance defined to provide divalent binding; antigen binding was maintained for the di-scFv construct and increased several times compared to that of the parent scFv; the cycloaddition reaction reported herein represents an important ligation strategy to covalently link macromolecular proteins and retain sensitive structural conformations.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/b611636a

    View details for PubMedID 17392953

  • Development of antibody directed nanoparticles for cancer therapy Conference on Thermal Treatment of Tissue - Energy Delivery and Assessment IV Ivkov, R., DeNardo, S. J., Meirs, L. A., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, G. L. SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING. 2007

    View details for DOI 10.1117/12.710712

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246494100014

  • Development of tissue plasminogen activator specific "on demand cleavable" (ODC) linkers for radioimmunotherapy by screening one-bead-one-compound combinatorial peptide libraries BIOCONJUGATE CHEMISTRY Kumaresan, P. R., Natarajan, A., Song, A., Wang, X., Liu, R., DeNardo, G., DeNardo, S., Lam, K. S. 2007; 18 (1): 175-182


    New strategies are needed to protect normal organs from radiation in cancer radioimmunotherapy (RIT). This can be achieved by rapid clearance of radiometal in the circulation after accumulation of radioimmunoconjugates (RIC) in the tumor. Our strategy is to place highly efficient and specific cleavable linkers between radiometal chelates and the tumor targeting agents. Such linkers must be resistant to cleavage by enzymes present in the plasma and the tumor. After radiotargeting agents have accumulated in the tumor, a cleaving agent can be administered "on demand" to cleave a specific linker, resulting in the release of radiometal from the circulating RIC in a form that will have rapid renal clearance. We have selected TNKase, a thrombolytic agent approved for patient use, as our model on-demand cleaving agent. To identify TNKase-specific linkers, we screened fluorescent-quenched random "one-bead-one-compound" (OBOC) combinatorial peptide libraries. d-Amino acid containing peptides that were specific for TNKase but were resistant to cleavage by plasma and tumor-associated proteases were identified. One of these peptide substrates (rqYKYkf) was used to link the DOTA chelate to ChL6, a monoclonal antibody known to target breast cancer. This antibody conjugate was stable in plasma for 7 days while preserving the immunoreactivity to intact tumor cells. The addition of TNKase at clinical achievable plasma level (10 mug/mL) resulted in the release of 28% of the radiometal from the radioimmunoconjugate within 72 h. This lead linker, after further optimization to increase its response to TNKase, may be useful in the development of more effective radioimmunotherapeutic and radioimaging agents.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bc0602681

    View details for PubMedID 17226971

  • Development of tumor targeting anti-MUC-1 multimer: effects of di-scFv unpaired cysteine location on PEGylation and tumor binding PROTEIN ENGINEERING DESIGN & SELECTION Xiong, C., Natarajan, A., Shi, X., DeNardo, G. L., DeNardo, S. J. 2006; 19 (8): 359-367


    MUC1 mucin expressed in epithelial cancer, such as prostate and breast, is aberrantly glycosylated providing unique targets for imaging and therapy. In order to create a broadly applicable construct to target these unique epitopes on metastatic cancer, we selected an antibody fragment (scFv) that binds both synthetic MUC1 core peptide and epithelial cancer cell-expressed MUC1, and developed a recombinant bivalent molecule (di-scFv). Genetically engineered modifications of the di-scFv were constructed to create five molecular versions, each having a free cysteine (di-scFv-c) at different locations for site-specific conjugation. The effects of the engineered cysteine in the varied sites were studied relative to tumor binding and polyethylene glycol-maleimide (PEG-Mal) conjugation (PEGylation). Escherichia coli production as well as binding to MUC1 core peptide, human tumor cell lines and human tumor biopsies, were comparable. However, the location of the engineered cysteine in these di-scFv-c did influence PEGylation efficiency of this free thiol; higher PEGylation efficiency occurred with this cysteine in the inter-scFv linkage. Di-scFv-c PEG, with the cysteine engineered after the fifth amino acid in the linker, was used as an example to demonstrate comparable antigen-binding to non-PEGylated di-scFv-c. In summary, novel anti-MUC1 di-scFv-c molecules can be efficiently produced, purified and conjugated by site-specific PEGylation without loss of immunoreactivity, thus providing flexible multidentate constructs for cancer-targeted imaging and therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/protein/gzl020

    View details for PubMedID 16760193

  • Chemistry and radiochemistry of selective high affinity ligands (SHALs) designed to target non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia 11th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates Hok, S., Natarajan, A., Perkins, J., Balhorn, R. L., DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L. MARY ANN LIEBERT INC. 2006: 392–93
  • Site-specific ligation of antibody scFv through Cu (I) catalyzed 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition 231st National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society Du, W., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, S. J., Gervay-Hague, J. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2006
  • Enhancement of the therapeutic index: From nonmyeloablative and myeloablative toward pretargeted Radioimmunotherapy for metastatic prostate cancer 10th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates DeNardo, S. J., Richman, C. M., Albrecht, H., Burke, P. A., Natarajan, A., Yuan, A., Gregg, J. P., O'Donnel, R. T., DeNardo, G. L. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2005: 7187S–7194S


    New strategies that target selected molecular characteristics and result in an effective therapeutic index are needed for metastatic, hormone-refractory prostate cancer.A series of preclinical and clinical studies were designed to increase the therapeutic index of targeted radiation therapy for prostate cancer. (111)In/90Y-monoclonal antibody (mAb), m170, which targets aberrant sugars on abnormal MUC1, was evaluated in androgen-independent prostate cancer patients to determine the maximum tolerated dose and efficacy of nonmyeloablative radioimmunotherapy and myeloablative combined modality radioimmunotherapy with paclitaxel. To enhance the tumor to liver therapeutic index, a cathepsin degradable mAb linkage ((111)In/90Y-peptide-m170) was used in the myeloablative combined modality radioimmunotherapy protocol. For tumor to marrow therapeutic index improvement in future studies, anti-MUC1 scFvs modules were developed for pretargeted radioimmunotherapy. Anti-MUC1 and anti-DOTA scFvs were conjugated to polyethylene glycol scaffolds tested on DU145 prostate cancer cells and prostate tissue arrays, along with mAbs against MUC1 epitopes.The nonmyeloablative maximum tolerated dose of 90Y-m170 was 0.74 GBq/m2 for patients with not more than 10% axial skeleton involvement. Metastatic prostate cancer was targeted in all 17 patients; mean radiation dose was 10.5 Gy/GBq and pain response occurred in 7 of 13 patients reporting pain. Myeloablative combined modality radioimmunotherapy with 0.4 GBq/m2 of 90Y-peptide-m170 and paclitaxel showed therapeutic effects in 4 of 6 patients and 30% less radiation to the liver per unit of activity. Neutropenia was dose limiting without marrow support and patient eligibility was a major limitation to dose escalation. Hypoglycosylated MUC1 epitopes were shown to be abundant in prostate cancer and to increase with disease grade. Anti-MUC1 scFvs binding to prostate cancer tissue and live cells were developed into di-scFv binding modules.The therapeutic index enhancement for prostate radioimmunotherapy was achieved in clinical studies by the addition of cathepsin cleavable linkers to 90Y-conjugated mAbs and the use of paclitaxel. However, the need for marrow support in myeloablative combined modality radioimmunotherapy restricted eligible patients. Therefore, modular pretargeted radioimmunotherapy, aiming at improving the tumor to marrow therapeutic index, is being developed.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-1004-0013

    View details for PubMedID 16203820

  • Development of tumor targeting bioprobes (In-111-chimeric L6 monoclonal antibody nanoparticles) for alternating magnetic field cancer therapy 10th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L., Miers, L. A., Natarajan, A., Foreman, A. R., Gruettner, C., Adamson, G. N., Ivkov, R. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2005: 7087S–7092S


    (111)In-chimeric L6 (ChL6) monoclonal antibody (mAb)-linked iron oxide nanoparticle (bioprobes) pharmacokinetics, tumor uptake, and the therapeutic effect of inductively heating these bioprobes by externally applied alternating magnetic field (AMF) were studied in athymic mice bearing human breast cancer HBT 3477 xenografts. Tumor cell radioimmunotargeting of the bioprobes and therapeutic and toxic responses were determined.Using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-carbodiimide HCl, (111)In-7,10-tetra-azacyclododecane-N, N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid-ChL6 was conjugated to the carboxylated polyethylene glycol on dextran-coated iron oxide 20 nm particles, one to two mAbs per nanoparticle. After magnetic purification and sterile filtration, pharmacokinetics, histopathology, and AMF/bioprobe therapy were done using (111)In-ChL6 bioprobe doses (20 ng/2.2 mg ChL6/ bioprobe), i.v. with 50 microg ChL6 in athymic mice bearing HBT 3477; a 153 kHz AMF was given 72 hours postinjection for therapy with amplitudes of 1,300, 1,000, or 700 Oe. Weights, blood counts, and tumor size were monitored and compared with control mice receiving nothing, or AMF or bioprobes alone.(111)In-ChL6 bioprobe binding in vitro to HBT 3477 cells was 50% to 70% of that of (111)In-ChL6. At 48 hours, tumor, lung, kidney, and marrow uptakes of the (111)In-ChL6 bioprobes were not different from that observed in prior studies of (111)In-ChL6. Significant therapeutic responses from AMF/bioprobe therapy were shown with up to eight times longer mean time to quintuple tumor volume with therapy compared with no treatment (P = 0.0013). Toxicity was only seen in the 1,300 Oe AMF cohort, with 4 of 12 immediate deaths and skin erythema. Electron micrographs showed bioprobes on the surfaces of the HBT 3477 cells of excised tumors and tumor necrosis 24 hours after AMF/bioprobe therapy.This study shows that mAb-conjugated nanoparticles (bioprobes), when given i.v., escape into the extravascular space and bind to cancer cell membrane antigen, so that bioprobes can be used in concert with externally applied AMF to deliver thermoablative cancer therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-1004-0022

    View details for PubMedID 16203807

  • Does paclitaxel (Taxol) given after In-111-labeled monoclonal antibodies increase tumor-cumulated activity in epithelial cancers? 10th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates Miers, L., Lamborn, K., Yuan, A., Richman, C., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, S., DeNardo, G. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2005: 7158S–7163S


    Paclitaxel synergized radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies, enhancing therapeutic effect in studies in mice with human xenografts. Paclitaxel was also observed to increase tumor uptake in imaging studies of (111)In-DOTA-Gly3Phe-m170 in patients with breast and prostate cancers. Further evaluations of tissue-cumulated activities, therapeutic indices, and pharmacokinetics were done using data for patients with breast and prostate cancer and for mice with human breast cancer xenografts.In radioimmunotherapy trials, 12 patients with breast or prostate cancer were given two imaging doses (5 mCi each) of (111)In-DOTA-Gly3Phe-m170 1 week apart. Five of these patients were given a single dose of paclitaxel i.v. (75 mg/m2) 2 days after the second dose of (111)In. In a subsequent study, athymic mice with human breast cancer xenografts were given (111)In-DOTA-Gly3Phe-ChL6 alone, or in combination with daily paclitaxel i.p. (300 microg) one or more times. Pharmacokinetics were studied for at least 6 days in patients and 5 days in mice. Cumulated activities were determined for tumors and normal tissues.Tumor-cumulated activity for every patient in the paclitaxel-treated group increased for the second dose of (111)In-DOTA-Gly3Phe-m170. The median ratio of cumulated activities in tumors for imaging dose 2 to those for dose 1 was 1.0 (0.8-1.3) in patients that were not given paclitaxel and 1.3 (1.2-1.4) in patients given paclitaxel. Normal tissue-cumulated activities were not different for the two doses. Mice given paclitaxel 1 day after (111)In-DOTA-Gly3Phe-ChL6 also showed an increase in tumor-cumulated activity, 22.9 (+/- 1.3) versus 19.4 (+/- 3.3) microCi h/g/microCi (P = 0.05). Cumulated activities of normal tissues were similar for all groups of mice.Paclitaxel given 1 to 2 days after (111)In-DOTA-Gly3Phe-monoclonal antibody increased the tumor-cumulated activity in patients and in mice with epithelial cancers and did not alter cumulated activities in normal tissues.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-1004-0012

    View details for PubMedID 16203816

  • Synthetic high affinity ligands: Molecular targeting agents 230th National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society Hok, S., Balhorn, R. L., Colvin, M. E., Corzett, M. H., Cosman, M., DeNardo, G. L., DeNardo, S. J., Dolan, C. E., Hanna, L. M., Lau, E. Y., Lightstone, F. C., Natarajan, A., Perkins, J. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2005: U2752–U2752
  • High-dose radioimmunotherapy combined with fixed, low-dose paclitaxel in metastatic prostate and breast cancer by using a MUC-1 monoclonal antibody, m170, linked to indium-111/yttrium-90 via a cathepsin cleavable linker with cyclosporine to prevent human anti-mouse antibody CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH Richman, C. M., DeNardo, S. J., O'Donnell, R. T., Yuan, A., Shen, S., Goldstein, D. S., Tuscano, J. M., Wun, T., Chew, H. K., Lara, P. N., Kukis, D. L., Natarajan, A., Meares, C. F., Lamborn, K. R., DeNardo, G. L. 2005; 11 (16): 5920-5927


    Although radioimmunotherapy alone is effective in lymphoma, its application to solid tumors will likely require a combined modality approach. In these phase I studies, paclitaxel was combined with radioimmunotherapy in patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer or advanced breast cancer.Patients were imaged with indium-111 (111In)-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid-peptide-m170. One week later, yttrium-90 (90Y)-m170 was infused (12 mCi/m2 for prostate cancer and 22 mCi/m2 for breast cancer). Initial cohorts received radioimmunotherapy alone. Subsequent cohorts received radioimmunotherapy followed 48 hours later by paclitaxel (75 mg/m2). Cyclosporine was given to prevent development of human anti-mouse antibody.Bone and soft tissue metastases were targeted by 111In-m170 in 15 of the 16 patients imaged. Three prostate cancer patients treated with radioimmunotherapy alone had no grade 3 or 4 toxicity. With radioimmunotherapy and paclitaxel, two of three prostate cancer patients developed transient grade 4 neutropenia. Four breast cancer patients treated with radioimmunotherapy alone had grade 3 or 4 myelosuppression. With radioimmunotherapy and paclitaxel, both breast cancer patients developed grade 4 neutropenia. Three breast cancer patients required infusion of previously harvested peripheral blood stem cells because of neutropenic fever or bleeding. One patient in this trial developed human anti-mouse antibody in contrast to 12 of 17 patients in a prior trial using m170-radioimmunotherapy without cyclosporine.111In/90Y-m170 targets prostate and breast cancer and can be combined with paclitaxel with toxicity limited to marrow suppression at the dose levels above. The maximum tolerated dose of radioimmunotherapy and fixed-dose paclitaxel with peripheral blood stem cell support has not been reached. Cyclosporine is effective in preventing human anti-mouse antibody, suggesting the feasibility of multidose, "fractionated" therapy that could enhance clinical response.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-05-0211

    View details for PubMedID 16115934

  • Characterization of site-specific ScFv PEGylation for tumor-targeting pharmaceuticals BIOCONJUGATE CHEMISTRY Natarajan, A., Xiong, C. Y., Albrecht, H., DeNardo, G. L., DeNardo, S. J. 2005; 16 (1): 113-121


    New radiopharmaceuticals are possible using site-specific conjugation of small tumor binding proteins and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) scaffolds to provide modular multivalent, homo- or heterofunctional cancer-targeting molecules having preferred molecular size, valence, and functionality. Residence time in plasma can be optimized by modification of the size, number, and charge of the protein units. However, random PEG conjugation (PEGylation) of these small molecules via amine groups has led to variations of structural conformation and binding affinity. To optimize PEGylation, scFvs have been recombinantly produced in a vector that adds an unpaired cysteine (c) near the scFv carboxy terminus (scFv-c), thus providing a specific site for thiol conjugation. To evaluate the general applicability of this unpaired cysteine for PEGylation of scFv-c, conjugation efficiency was determined for four different scFvs and several PEG molecules having thiol reactive groups. The effect of the PEG molecular format on scFv-c PEG malignant cell binding was also addressed. ScFvs produced as scFv-c and purified by anti E-TAG affinity chromatography were conjugated using PEG molecules with maleimide (Mal) or o-pyridyl disulfide (OPSS). Conjugations were performed at pH 7.0, with 2 molar excess TCEP/scFv and PEG-(Mal) or PEG-OPSS, using 5:1 (PEG/scFv). PEG-Mal conjugation efficiency was also evaluated with 1:5 (PEG/scFv). PEGylation efficiency was determined for each reaction by quantitation of the products on SDS-PAGE. ScFv-c conjugation with unifunctional maleimide PEGs resulted in PEG conjugates incorporating 30-80% of the scFv-c, but usually above 50%. Efficiency of scFv-c conjugation to both functional groups of the bifunctional PEG-(Mal)2 varied between the PEG and scFv-c molecules studied. A maximum of 45% of scFv-c protein was conjugated as PEG- (scFv-c)2 using the smallest PEG-(Mal)2 (2 kDa). No significant increase in scFv-c conjugation was observed by the use of greater than a 5 molar excess of PEG/scFv-c. Under the same conjugation conditions, PEG as OPSS yielded less than 10% PEG-scFv-c. PEG-(scFv)2 conjugates had increased binding in ELISA using malignant cell membranes, when compared with unmodified scFv-c. PEGylated-scFv binding was comparable with unmodified scFv-c. In summary, scFv-c can be PEGylated in a site-specific manner using uni- or bivalent PEG-Mal, either linear or branched. ScFv-c was most efficiently conjugated to smaller PEG-Mal molecules, with the smallest, 2 kDa PEG-Mal, usually PEGylating 60-90% of the scFv-c. ScFv-c conjugation to form PEG-(scFv-c)2 reached greatest efficiency at 45%, and its purified form demonstrated greater binding than the corresponding scFv-c.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bc0498121

    View details for PubMedID 15656582

  • Delivery of focused hyperthermia to human xenografts in mice using alternating magnetic frequency and bioprobes 10th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates DeNardo, S., DeNardo, G., Miers, L., Natarajan, A., Foreman, A., Gruettner, C., Ivkov, R. MARY ANN LIEBERT INC. 2004: 535–36
  • Nonmyeloablative, myeloablative and pretargeted radioimmunotherapy for metastatic prostate cancer, using combined modalities including indium-111/yttrium-90 labeled M170 MAb or SCFVS reactive with MUC-1 10th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates DeNardo, S., Richman, C., O'Donnell, R., Natarajan, A., Yuan, A., Lara, P., Albrecht, H., Meyers, F., DeNardo, G. MARY ANN LIEBERT INC. 2004: 529–29
  • Does paclitaxel given after 111in labeled mab increase tumor-cumulated activity in epithelial cancers? 10th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates Miers, L., Lamborn, K., Yuan, A., Richman, C., Natarajan, A., DeNardo, S., DeNardo, G. MARY ANN LIEBERT INC. 2004: 516–16
  • Combined modality radioimmunotherapy (RIT) in metastatic prostate (PC) and breast cancer (BC) using paclitaxel (PT) and a MUC-1 monoclonal antibody, m170, linked to yttrium-90 (Y-90): A phase I trial. 40th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Clinical-Oncology Richman, C. M., DeNardo, S. J., O'Donnell, R. T., Yuan, A., Natarajan, A., Wun, T., Tuscano, J. M., Chew, H. L., Lara, P. N., DeNardo, G. L. AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY. 2004: 176S–176S
  • Production of soluble ScFvs with C-terminal-free thiol for site-specific conjugation or stable dimeric ScFvs on demand BIOCONJUGATE CHEMISTRY Albrecht, H., Burke, P. A., Natarajan, A., Xiong, C. Y., Kalicinsky, M., DeNardo, G. L., DeNardo, S. J. 2004; 15 (1): 16-26


    ScFv recombinant antibody fragments can provide specific tumor binding modules for targeting drugs. In the process of building multimeric tumor targeting pharmaceuticals, a prerequisite is the conservation of functional scFv antigen binding domains, thereby excluding scFv random conjugation to a carrier molecule or to another scFv. The pCANTAB 5E phage display/expression vector was genetically engineered to express any scFv gene as scFv with an additional C-terminal cysteine (scFv-Cys) such that the specific conjugation site is removed from the binding domain. Selected scFvs derived from an anti-MUC-1 scFv phage library were expressed in pCANTAB 5E and its modified version pCANTAB 5E Cys vectors, and compared for key characteristics. Production yields of scFv and scFv-Cys in shaker flask and biofermentor were compared. In the absence of a reducing agent, stable dimers (covalent scFv homodimers (scFv-Cys)2) were the major form of scFv-Cys. These diabodies provided substantial signal enhancement for immunohistochemical staining of tissues. In the presence of a reducing agent, scFv-Cys molecules remained monomeric, with the free SH available for conjugation to a PEG(maleimide)2 scaffold to form immunoreactive PEG(scFv)2 bioconjugates. ScFv expression from pCANTAB 5E Cys allowed for the production of soluble scFv-Cys protein from E.coli, either as stable scFv-Cys or (scFv-Cys)2. ScFv-Cys can be used for conjugation to PEG to form bivalent PEG (scFv-Cys)2 molecules or used as (scFv-Cys)2 for increased sensitivity in IHC.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bc030018+

    View details for PubMedID 14733579

  • Enhanced therapeutic index of radioimmunotherapy (RIT) in prostate cancer patients: Comparison of radiation dosimetry for 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N ',N '',N '''-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-peptide versus 2IT-DOTA monoclonal antibody linkage for RIT 9th Conference on Cancer Therapy with Antibodies and Immunoconjugates DeNardo, S. J., DeNardo, G. L., Yuan, A., Richman, C. M., O'Donnell, R. T., Lara, P. N., Kukis, D. L., Natarajan, A., Lamborn, K. R., Jacobs, F., Siantar, C. L. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2003: 3938S–3944S


    Radioimmunotherapy delivered by radiometal immunoconjugates and followed by marrow support is dose limited by deposition of radioactivity in normal organs. To increase elimination of radioactivity from the liver and body and, thus, minimize hepatic radiation dose, a peptide having a specific cathepsin B cleavage site was placed between the radiometal chelate DOTA (1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N",N"'-tetraacetic acid) and the monoclonal antibody m170, and the comparative pharmacokinetics was evaluated in prostate cancer patients.(111)In-DOTA-2IT-m170 and (111)In-DOTA-peptide-(GGGF)-m170, representing the same monoclonal antibody and chelate with and without the cleavable linkage, were studied in comparable groups of prostate cancer patients (17 with In-2IT-BAD-m170 and 8 with In-DOTA-peptide-m170). Pharmacokinetics over 7 days, calculated yttrium-90 radiation dosimetry, therapeutic index, and projected maximum tolerated injected yttrium-90 dose were evaluated.The radioimmunoconjugates pharmacokinetics and calculated tumor and normal organ absorbed radiation dose (rads/mCi) were similar, except for a significant decrease in the mean dose to the liver (31%; P < 0.01) and lungs (31%; P < 0.01) with the DOTA-peptide immunoconjugates. Because mean tumor dose was not statistically different, this peptide linkage provided a significant increase in the therapeutic index for this tumor targeting radiopharmaceutical. If marrow support is adequate, the radiation dose historically tolerated by normal organs other than marrow would allow a 30% increase in the administered dose, resulting in a mean dose of 9500 rads to metastatic prostate cancer.

    View details for PubMedID 14506192