Research Papers:

CD30-targeted oncolytic viruses as novel therapeutic approach against classical Hodgkin lymphoma

Julia D.S. Hanauer _, Benjamin Rengstl, Dina Kleinlützum, Johanna Reul, Anett Pfeiffer, Thorsten Friedel, Irene C. Schneider, Sebastian Newrzela, Martin- Leo Hansmann, Christian J. Buchholz, Alexander Muik

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:12971-12981. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24191

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Julia D.S. Hanauer1, Benjamin Rengstl2,4, Dina Kleinlützum1, Johanna Reul1, Anett Pfeiffer1, Thorsten Friedel1, Irene C. Schneider1, Sebastian Newrzela2,4, Martin-Leo Hansmann2, Christian J. Buchholz1 and Alexander Muik1,3

1Molecular Biotechnology and Gene Therapy, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany

2Dr. Senckenberg Institute of Pathology, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

3Current address: BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals GmbH, 55131 Mainz, Germany

4Current address: BioNTech Cell and Gene Therapies GmbH, 55131 Mainz, Germany

Correspondence to:

Christian J. Buchholz, email: christian.buchholz@pei.de

Keywords: classical Hodgkin lymphoma; CD30; virotherapy; retargeting; VSV

Received: September 06, 2017     Accepted: December 03, 2017     Published: January 12, 2018


Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is a hematopoietic malignancy with a characteristic cellular composition. The tumor mass is made up of infiltrated lymphocytes and other cells of hematologic origin but only very few neoplastic cells that are mainly identified by the diagnostic marker CD30. While most patients with early stage cHL can be cured by standard therapy, treatment options for relapsed or refractory cHL are still not sufficient, although immunotherapy-based approaches for the treatment of cHL patients have gained ground in the last decade. Here, we suggest a novel therapeutic concept based on oncolytic viruses selectively destroying the CD30+-positive cHL tumor cells. Relying on a recently described CD30-specific scFv we have generated CD30-targeted measles virus (MV-CD30) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-CD30). For VSV-CD30 the VSV glycoprotein G reading frame was replaced by those of the CD30-targeted MV glycoproteins. Both viruses were found to be highly selective for CD30-positive cells as demonstrated by infection of co-cultures of target and non-target cells as well as through blocking infection by soluble CD30. Notably, VSV-CD30 yielded much higher titers than MV-CD30 and resulted in a more rapid and efficient killing of cultivated cHL-derived cell lines. Mouse tumor models revealed that intratumorally, as well as systemically injected VSV-CD30, infected cHL xenografts and significantly slowed down tumor growth resulting in a substantially prolonged survival of tumor-bearing mice. Taken together, the data support further preclinical testing of VSV-CD30 as novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of cHL and other CD30+-positive malignancies.

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