Antibody–drug conjugates: targeting melanoma with cisplatin encapsulated in protein-cage nanoparticles based on human ferritin†
A novel antibody–drug conjugate (ADC) was synthesized incorporating ferritin-based nanoparticles. An average of three molecules of monoclonal antibody (mAb) Ep1 to the human melanoma-specific antigen CSPG4 were conjugated to a single ferritin cage encapsulating about 50 cisplatin molecules (HFt–Pt–Ep1). The HFt–Pt–Ep1 nanoparticle had an estimated molecular size of about 900 kD and 33 nm, and flow cytometry demonstrated specific binding to a CSPG4+ melanoma cell line, but not to a CSPG4− breast carcinoma cell line. As compared to the cisplatin-containing ferritin nanoparticle alone (HFt–Pt), which inhibited thymidine incorporation more efficiently in breast carcinoma than melanoma cells, the mAb-derivatized HFt–Pt–Ep1 nanoparticle had a 25-fold preference for the latter. A similar preference for melanoma was observed upon systemic intravenous administration of HFt–Pt–Ep1 to nude mice xenotransplanted with pre-established, palpable melanoma and breast carcinoma tumors. Thus, we have been able to determine precise combinations and stoichiometric relationships between mAbs and nanoparticle protein cages, whereby the latter lose their tropism for ubiquitously distributed cellular receptors, and acquire instead remarkably lineage-selective binding. HFt–Pt–Ep1 is therefore an interesting model to improve the therapeutic index of antiblastic therapy in a tumor such as melanoma, which at its advanced stages is totally refractory to mono- and combination-chemotherapy.