• HER2 Targeted Molecular MR Imaging Using a De Novo Designed Protein Contrast Agent

      Qiao, Jingjuan; Li, Shunyi; Wei, Lixia; Jiang, Jie; Long, Robert; Mao, Hui; Wei, Ling; Wang, Liya; Yang, Hua; Grossniklaus, Hans E.; et al. (2011-03-24)
      The application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to non-invasively assess disease biomarkers has been hampered by the lack of desired contrast agents with high relaxivity, targeting capability, and optimized pharmacokinetics. We have developed a novel MR imaging probe targeting to HER2, a biomarker for various cancer types and a drug target for anti-cancer therapies. This multimodal HER20targeted MR imaging probe integrates a de novo designed protein contrast agent with a high affinity HER2 affibody and a near IR fluorescent dye. Our probe can differentially monitor tumors with different expression levels of HER2 in both human cell lines and xenograft mice models. In addition to its 100-fold higher dose efficiency compared to clinically approved non-targeting contrast agent DTPA, our developed agent also exhibits advantages in crossing the endothelial boundary, tissue distribution, and tumor tissue retention over reported contrast agents as demonstrated by even distribution of the imaging probe across the entire tumor mass. This contrast agent will provide a powerful tool for quantitative assessment of molecular markers, and improved resolution for diagnosis, prognosis and drug discovery.
    • Homologous Recombination Mediates Functional Recovery of Dysferlin Deficiency following AAV5 Gene Transfer

      Grose, William E.; Clark, K. Reed; Griffin, Danielle; Malik, Vinod; Shontz, Kimberly M.; Montgomery, Chrystal L.; Lewis, Sarah; Brown, Robert H.; Janssen, Paul M. L.; Mendell, Jerry R.; et al. (2012-06-15)
      The dysferlinopathies comprise a group of untreatable muscle disorders including limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B, Miyoshi myopathy, distal anterior compartment syndrome, and rigid spine syndrome. As with other forms of muscular dystrophy, adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene transfer is a particularly auspicious treatment strategy, however the size of the DYSF cDNA (6.5 kb) negates packaging into traditional AAV serotypes known to express well in muscle (i.e. rAAV1, 2, 6, 8, 9). Potential advantages of a full cDNA versus a mini-gene include: maintaining structural-functional protein domains, evading protein misfolding, and avoiding novel epitopes that could be immunogenic. AAV5 has demonstrated unique plasticity with regards to packaging capacity and recombination of virions containing homologous regions of cDNA inserts has been implicated in the generation of full-length transcripts. Herein we show for the first time in vivo that homologous recombination following AAV5.DYSF gene transfer leads to the production of full length transcript and protein. Moreover, gene transfer of full-length dysferlin protein in dysferlin deficient mice resulted in expression levels sufficient to correct functional deficits in the diaphragm and importantly in skeletal muscle membrane repair. Intravascular regional gene transfer through the femoral artery produced high levels of transduction and enabled targeting of specific muscle groups affected by the dysferlinopathies setting the stage for potential translation to clinical trials. We provide proof of principle that AAV5 mediated delivery of dysferlin is a highly promising strategy for treatment of dysferlinopathies and has far-reaching implications for the therapeutic delivery of other large genes.