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Cancer Research

Paramyxoviruses for Tumor-targeted Immunomodulation: Design and Evaluation Ex Vivo

Published: January 7th, 2019



1Department of Translational Oncology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), 2Faculty of Biosciences, Heidelberg University, 3Department of Medical Oncology, NCT and Heidelberg University Hospital

This protocol describes a detailed workflow for the generation and ex vivo characterization of oncolytic viruses for expression of immunomodulators, using measles viruses encoding bispecific T cell engagers as an example. Application and adaptation to other vector platforms and transgenes will accelerate the development of novel immunovirotherapeutics for clinical translation.

Successful cancer immunotherapy has the potential to achieve long-term tumor control. Despite recent clinical successes, there remains an urgent need for safe and effective therapies tailored to individual tumor immune profiles. Oncolytic viruses enable the induction of anti-tumor immune responses as well as tumor-restricted gene expression. This protocol describes the generation and ex vivo analysis of immunomodulatory oncolytic vectors. Focusing on measles vaccine viruses encoding bispecific T cell engagers as an example, the general methodology can be adapted to other virus species and transgenes. The presented workflow includes the design, cloning, rescue, and propagation of recombinant viruses. Assays to analyze replication kinetics and lytic activity of the vector as well as functionality of the isolated immunomodulator ex vivo are included, thus facilitating the generation of novel agents for further development in preclinical models and ultimately clinical translation.

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are being developed as anti-cancer therapeutics that specifically replicate within and kill tumor cells while leaving healthy tissues intact. It has now become common understanding that oncolytic virotherapy (OVT), in most cases, does not rely solely on complete tumor lysis by efficient replication and spreading of the virus, but requires additional mechanisms of action for treatment success, including vascular and stromal targeting and, importantly, immune stimulation1,2,3,4. While many early OV studies used unm....

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NOTE: [O], [P], and [M] indicate subsections applicable to: OVs in general, (most) paramyxoviruses, or MV only, respectively. [B] indicates sections specific for BTE transgenes.

1 Cloning of Immunomodulator-encoding Transgenes into Measles Virus Vectors

  1. [O] Design insert sequence.
    1. [O] Decide on an immunomodulator of interest based on literature research or on exploratory data such as genetic screens41 and derive .......

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Figure 1 illustrates the mechanism of action of oncolytic measles viruses encoding bispecific T cell engagers. A flowchart depicting the workflow of this protocol is presented in Figure 2. Figure 3 shows an example of a modified oncolytic measles virus genome. This provides a visual representation of the specific changes applied to the measles virus anti-genome and particular fe.......

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Oncolytic immunotherapy (i.e., OVT in combination with immunomodulation) holds great promise for cancer treatment, demanding further development and optimization of oncolytic viruses encoding immunomodulatory proteins. This protocol describes methods to generate and validate such vectors for subsequent testing in relevant preclinical models and potential future clinical translation into novel anti-cancer therapeutics.

Numerous different oncolytic virus platforms with distinct advantag.......

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These methods were established in the Virotherapy Group led by Prof. Dr. Dr. Guy Ungerechts at the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg. We are indebted to him and all members of the laboratory team, especially Dr. Tobias Speck, Dr. Rūta Veinalde, Judith Förster, Birgit Hoyler, and Jessica Albert. This work was supported by the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (Grant 2015_A78 to C.E. Engeland) and the German National Science Foundation (DFG, grant EN 1119/2-1 to C.E. Engeland). J.P.W. Heidbuechel receives a stipend by the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Rapid DNA Dephos & Ligation Kit Roche Life Science, Mannheim, Germany 4898117001
CloneJET PCR Cloning Kit Thermo Fisher Scientific, St. Leon-Rot K1231
Agarose Sigma-Aldrich, Taufkirchen, Germany A9539-500G
QIAquick Gel Extraction Kit QIAGEN, Hilden, Germany 28704
NEB 10-beta Competent E. coli New England Biolabs (NEB), Frankfurt/Main, Germany C3019I
LB medium after Lennox Carl Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany X964.1
Ampicillin Carl Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany HP62.1
QIAquick Miniprep Kit QIAGEN, Hilden, Germany 27104
Restriction enzyme HindIII-HF New England Biolabs (NEB), Frankfurt/Main, Germany R3104S
Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM) Invitrogen, Darmstadt, Germany 31966-021
Fetal bovine serum (FBS) Biosera, Boussens, France FB-1280/500
FugeneHD Promega, Mannheim, Germany E2311 may be replaced by transfection reagent of choice
Kanamycin Sigma-Aldrich, Taufkirchen, Germany K0129
Vero cells ATCC, Manassas, VA, USA CCL81
B16-CD46/ B16-CD20-CD46 J. Heidbuechel, DKFZ Heidelberg available upon request
Granta-519 DSMZ, Braunschweig, Germany ACC 342
Opti-MEM (serum-free medium) Gibco Life Technologies, Darmstadt, Germany 31985070
Colorimetric Cell Viability Kit III (XTT) PromoKine, Heidelberg, Germany PK-CA20-300-1000 includes XTT reagent
Dulbecco's Phosphate-Buffered Saline (PBS) Gibco Life Technologies, Darmstadt, Germany 14190-094
QIAquick Ni-NTA Spin Columns QIAGEN, Hilden, Germany 31014
Sodium chloride Carl Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany 3957.3
Imidazole Carl Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany I5513-25G
Amicon Ultra-15, PLGC Ultracel-PL Membran, 10 kDa Merck, Darmstadt, Germany UFC901024
BCA Protein Assay Kit Merck Milipore 71285-3
IgG from human serum Sigma-Aldrich, Taufkirchen, Germany I4506
Anti-HA-PE Miltenyi Biotech, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany 130-092-257 RRID: AB_871939
Mouse IgG1, kappa Isotype Control, Phycoerythrin Conjugated, Clone MOPC-21 antibody BD Biosciences, Heidelberg, Germany 555749 RRID: AB_396091
Anti-HA-biotin antibody, clone 3F10 Sigma-Aldrich, Taufkirchen, Germany 12158167001 RRID: AB_390915
Anti-Biotin MicroBeads Miltenyi Biotech, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany 130-090-485
MS Columns Miltenyi Biotech, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany 130-042-201
MiniMACS Separator Miltenyi Biotech, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany 130-042-102
MACS MultiStand Miltenyi Biotech, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany 130-042-303
RIPA buffer Rockland Immunochemicals, Gilbertsville, PA, USA MB-030-0050
CytoTox 96 Non-Radioactive Cytotoxicity Assay Promega, Mannheim, Germany G1780 includes 10x lysis solution, substrate solution (substrate mix and assay buffer), and stop solution
Cell lifter Corning, Reynosa, Mexico 3008
10 cm dishes Corning, Oneonta, NY, USA 430167
15 cm dishes Greiner Bio-One, Frickenhausen, Germany 639160
96-well plates, U-bottom TPP, Trasadingen, Switzerland 92097
96-well plates, flat bottom Neolab, Heidelberg, Germany 353072
6-well plates Neolab, Heidelberg, Germany 353046
12-well plates Neolab, Heidelberg, Germany 353043
50 mL tubes nerbe plus, Winsen/Luhe, Germany 02-572-3001
T175 cell culture flasks Thermo Fisher Scientific, St. Leon-Rot 159910
0.22 µm filters Merck, Darmstadt, Germany SLGPM33RS

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