Education & Certifications
Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2018)
BS, Clemson University, Materials Science and Engineering (2016)
Systemic delivery of a targeted synthetic immunostimulant transforms the immune landscape for effective tumor regression.
Cell chemical biology
Promoting immune activation within the tumor microenvironment (TME) is a promising therapeutic strategy to reverse tumor immunosuppression and elicit anti-tumor immunity. To enable tumor-localized immunotherapy following intravenous administration, we chemically conjugated a polyspecific integrin-binding peptide (PIP) to an immunostimulant (Toll-like receptor 9 [TLR9] agonist: CpG) to generate a tumor-targeted immunomodulatory agent, referred to as PIP-CpG. We demonstrate that systemic delivery of PIP-CpG induces tumor regression and enhances therapeutic efficacy compared with untargeted CpG in aggressive murine breast and pancreatic cancer models. Furthermore, PIP-CpG transforms the immune-suppressive TME dominated by myeloid-derived suppressor cells into a lymphocyte-rich TME infiltrated with activated CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells, and B cells. Finally, we show that T cells are required for therapeutic efficacy and that PIP-CpG treatment generates tumor-specific CD8+ T cells. These data demonstrate that conjugation to a synthetic tumor-targeted peptide can improve the efficacy of systemically administered immunostimulants and lead to durable anti-tumor immune responses.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chembiol.2021.10.012
View details for PubMedID 34774126
Heterogeneous delivery across the blood-brain barrier limits the efficacy of an EGFR-targeting antibody drug conjugate in glioblastoma.
BACKGROUND: Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), such as depatuxizumab mafodotin (Depatux-M), is a promising therapeutic strategy for glioblastoma (GBM) but recent clinical trials did not demonstrate a survival benefit. Understanding the mechanisms of failure for this promising strategy is critically important.METHODS: PDX models were employed to study efficacy of systemic vs intracranial delivery of Depatux-M. Immunofluorescence and MALDI-MSI were performed to detect drug levels in the brain. EGFR levels and compensatory pathways were studied using quantitative flow cytometry, Western blots, RNAseq, FISH and phosphoproteomics.RESULTS: Systemic delivery of Depatux-M was highly effective in nine of 10 EGFR-amplified heterotopic PDXs with survival extending beyond one year in eight PDXs. Acquired resistance in two PDXs (GBM12 and GBM46) was driven by suppression of EGFR expression or emergence of a novel short-variant of EGFR lacking the epitope for the Depatux-M antibody. In contrast to the profound benefit observed in heterotopic tumors, only two of seven intrinsically sensitive PDXs were responsive to Depatux-M as intracranial tumors. Poor efficacy in orthotopic PDXs was associated with limited and heterogeneous distribution of Depatux-M into tumor tissues, and artificial disruption of the BBB or bypass of the BBB by direct intracranial injection of Depatux-M into orthotopic tumors markedly enhanced the efficacy of drug treatment.CONCLUSIONS: Despite profound intrinsic sensitivity to Depatux-M, limited drug delivery into brain tumor may have been a key contributor to lack of efficacy in recently failed clinical trials.
View details for DOI 10.1093/neuonc/noab133
View details for PubMedID 34050676
LYTACs that engage the asialoglycoprotein receptor for targeted protein degradation.
Nature chemical biology
Selective protein degradation platforms have afforded new development opportunities for therapeutics and tools for biological inquiry. The first lysosome-targeting chimeras (LYTACs) targeted extracellular and membrane proteins for degradation by bridging a target protein to the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor (CI-M6PR). Here, we developed LYTACs that engage the asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR), a liver-specific lysosome-targeting receptor, to degrade extracellular proteins in a cell-type-specific manner. We conjugated binders to a triantenerrary N-acetylgalactosamine (tri-GalNAc) motif that engages ASGPR to drive the downregulation of proteins. Degradation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by GalNAc-LYTAC attenuated EGFR signaling compared to inhibition with an antibody. Furthermore, we demonstrated that a LYTAC consisting of a 3.4-kDa peptide binder linked to a tri-GalNAc ligand degrades integrins and reduces cancer cell proliferation. Degradation with a single tri-GalNAc ligand prompted site-specific conjugation on antibody scaffolds, which improved the pharmacokinetic profile of GalNAc-LYTACs in vivo. GalNAc-LYTACs thus represent an avenue for cell-type-restricted protein degradation.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41589-021-00770-1
View details for PubMedID 33767387
Targeting the tetraspanin CD81 reduces cancer invasion and metastasis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2021; 118 (24)
Tetraspanins are an evolutionary conserved family of proteins involved in multiple aspects of cell physiology, including proliferation, migration and invasion, protein trafficking, and signal transduction; yet their detailed mechanism of action is unknown. Tetraspanins have no known natural ligands, but their engagement by antibodies has begun to reveal their role in cell biology. Studies of tetraspanin knockout mice and of germline mutations in humans have highlighted their role under normal and pathological conditions. Previously, we have shown that mice deficient in the tetraspanin CD81 developed fewer breast cancer metastases compared to their wild-type (WT) counterparts. Here, we show that a unique anti-human CD81 antibody (5A6) effectively halts invasion of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines. We demonstrate that 5A6 induces CD81 clustering at the cell membrane and we implicate JAM-A protein in the ability of this antibody to inhibit tumor cell invasion and migration. Furthermore, in a series of in vivo studies we demonstrate that this antibody inhibits metastases in xenograft models, as well as in syngeneic mice bearing a mouse tumor into which we knocked in the human CD81 epitope recognized by the 5A6 antibody.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2018961118
View details for PubMedID 34099563
An engineered antibody binds a distinct epitope and is a potent inhibitor of murine and human VISTA.
2020; 10 (1): 15171
V-domain immunoglobulin (Ig) suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA) is an immune checkpoint that maintains peripheral T cell quiescence and inhibits anti-tumor immune responses. VISTA functions by dampening the interaction between myeloid cells and T cells, orthogonal to PD-1 and other checkpoints of the tumor-T cell signaling axis. Here, we report the use of yeast surface display to engineer an anti-VISTA antibody that binds with high affinity to mouse, human, and cynomolgus monkey VISTA. Our anti-VISTA antibody (SG7) inhibits VISTA function and blocks purported interactions with both PSGL-1 and VSIG3proteins. SG7 binds a unique epitope on the surface of VISTA, which partially overlaps with other clinically relevant antibodies. As a monotherapy, and to a greater extent as a combination with anti-PD1, SG7 slows tumor growth in multiple syngeneic mouse models. SG7 is a promising clinical candidate that can be tested in fully immunocompetent mouse models and its binding epitope can be used for future campaigns to develop species cross-reactive inhibitors of VISTA.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-71519-4
View details for PubMedID 32938950
Targeted glycan degradation potentiates the anticancer immune response in vivo.
Nature chemical biology
Currently approved immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies targeting the PD-1 and CTLA-4 receptor pathways are powerful treatment options for certain cancers; however, most patients across cancer types still fail to respond. Consequently, there is interest in discovering and blocking alternative pathways that mediate immune suppression. One such mechanism is an upregulation of sialoglycans in malignancy, which has been recently shown to inhibit immune cell activation through multiple mechanisms and therefore represents a targetable glycoimmune checkpoint. Since these glycans are not canonically druggable, we designed an alphaHER2 antibody-sialidase conjugate that potently and selectively strips diverse sialoglycans from breast cancer cells. In syngeneic breast cancer models, desialylation enhanced immune cell infiltration and activation and prolonged the survival of mice, an effect that was dependent on expression of the Siglec-E checkpoint receptor found on tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells. Thus, antibody-sialidase conjugates represent a promising modality for glycoimmune checkpoint therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41589-020-0622-x
View details for PubMedID 32807964