Abstract: Immunotoxins are chimeric proteins obtained by linking a toxin to either an intact antibody or an antibody fragment. Conjugation can be obtained by chemical or genetic engineering, where the latter yields recombinant conjugates. An essential requirement is that the target molecule recognized by the antibody is confined to the cell population to be deleted, or at least that it is not present on stem cells or other cell types essential for the organism’s survival. Hundreds of different studies have demonstrated the potential for applying immunotoxins to many models in pre-clinical studies and in clinical trials. Immunotoxins can be theoretically used to eliminate any unwanted cell responsible for a pathological condition. The best results have been obtained in cancer therapy, especially in hematological malignancies. Among plant toxins, the most frequently employed to generate immunotoxins are ribosome-inactivating proteins, the most common being ricin. This review summarizes the various approaches and results obtained in the last four decades by researchers in the field of plant toxin-based immunotoxins for cancer therapy.
Abstract: Targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics and diagnostic agents conjugated to carrier ligands has made significant progress in recent years, both in regards to the structural design of the conjugates and their biological effectiveness. The goal of targeting specific cell surface receptors through structural compatibility has encouraged the use of peptides as highly specific carriers as short peptides are usually non-antigenic, are structurally simple and synthetically diverse. Recent years have seen many developments in the field of peptide based drug conjugates (PDCs), particularly for cancer therapy, as their use aims to bypass off-target side-effects, reducing the morbidity common to conventional chemotherapy. However, no PDCs have as yet obtained regulatory approval. In this review, we describe the evolution of the peptide-based strategy for targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics and discuss recent innovations in the arena that should lead in the near future to their clinical application.
Abstract: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is one important cause of gynecologic cancer-related death. Currently, the mainstay of ovarian cancer treatment consists of cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy (introduced 30 years ago) but, as the disease is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, its prognosis remains very poor. Clearly, there is a critical need for new treatment options, and immunotherapy is one attractive alternative. Prophylactic vaccines for prevention of infectious diseases have led to major achievements, yet therapeutic cancer vaccines have shown consistently low efficacy in the past. However, as they are associated with minimal side effects or invasive procedures, efforts directed to improve their efficacy are being deployed, with Dendritic Cell (DC) vaccination strategies standing as one of the more promising options. On the other hand, recent advances in our understanding of immunological mechanisms have led to the development of successful strategies for the treatment of different cancers, such as immune checkpoint blockade strategies. Combining these strategies with DC vaccination approaches and introducing novel combinatorial designs must also be considered and evaluated. In this review, we will analyze past vaccination methods used in ovarian cancer, and we will provide different suggestions aiming to improve their efficacy in future trials.
Abstract: Gene transfer technology and its application to human gene therapy greatly expanded in the last decade. One area of investigation that appears particularly promising is the transfer of new genetic material into T cells for the potential treatment of cancer. Herein, we describe several core technologies that now yield high-efficiency gene transfer into primary human T cells. These gene transfer techniques include viral-based gene transfer methods based on modified Retroviridae and non-viral methods such as DNA-based transposons and direct transfer of mRNA by electroporation. Where specific examples are cited, we emphasize the transfer of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to T cells, which permits engineered T cells to recognize potential tumor antigens.
Abstract: Stem cell gene therapy approaches for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection have been explored in clinical trials and several anti-HIV genes delivered by retroviral vectors were shown to block HIV replication. However, gammaretroviral and lentiviral based retroviral vectors have limitations for delivery of anti-HIV genes into hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Foamy virus vectors have several advantages including efficient delivery of transgenes into HSC in large animal models, and a potentially safer integration profile. This review focuses on novel anti-HIV transgenes and the potential of foamy virus vectors for HSC gene therapy of HIV.
Abstract: Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a group of immune cells of the lymphoid lineage that do not possess antigen specificity. The group includes natural killer (NK) cells, lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells and the recently identified ILC1s, ILC2s and ILC3s. Although the role of NK cells in the context of cancer has been well established, the involvement of other ILC subsets in cancer progression and resistance is just emerging. Here, we review the literature on the role of the different ILC subsets in tumor immunity and discuss its implications for cancer treatment and monitoring.