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Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive primary adult brain tumor, is feared for its near uniformly fatal prognosis. Despite the use of aggressive treatment including surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the outcome of patients with GBM has failed to improve significantly. Numerous studies have implicated CD133+GBM subpopulation as driver of chemo- and radio-resistance. CD133 expression correlates with disease progression, recurrence, and poor overall survival of GBM patients. Here, we describe the preclinical evaluation of a recombinant CD133xCD3 bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibody that redirects human polyclonal T cells to CD133+GBM cells, inducing very potent anti-tumor response. CD133-specific BiTE was constructed; with one arm recognizing the tumor antigen (CD133) while the second is specific to CD3 antigen. Using CD133high and CD133low primary GBM lines, we validated the binding of BiTEs to CD133+GBMs and CD3+T cells. In order to test the ability of BiTEs to functionally elicit CD133-specific cytotoxic responses in vitro, we performed killing assays. We observed CD133-specific BiTE mediated T cell activation and redirection to kill CD133-expressing GBM cells in a co-culture of T cells and GBM cells. The killing was more efficient in CD133high GBMs compared to CD133low GBMs, validating its specificity to target CD133+BTICs. Treatment with BiTEs yielded significant reductions in brain tumor burden in vivo. These data offers compelling evidence that BiTE-mediated cytotoxicity against treatment-resistant CD133+GBMs could provide a very potent, specific and can be a novel therapeutic strategy for GBM patients.
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