Background Abnormalities in the extracellular matrix of tumor microenvironments support tumor progression, lead to immune dysfunction, and provide a target for cancer therapeutics. Collagens are a primary component of the extracellular matrix. Abnormal levels of collagen and of the collagen-domain containing complement component 1q (C1q) in tumor microenvironments has been proposed to disrupt anti-tumor immunity. LAIR-1 is an adhesion molecule and inhibitory receptor expressed on the cell surface of several immune cell subsets. LAIR-1 binding to collagen-like domains present in collagens and C1q inhibit immune cell function. LAIR-2 is a soluble homolog of LAIR-1 that binds to and outcompetes LAIR-1 binding to collagens and C1q and serves as a natural decoy to promote immune function.
Methods Taking advantage of a natural decoy system, we designed a protein biologic, NC410, composed of LAIR-2 fused with a functional IgG1 Fc domain to target collagen-rich tumors and promote immune activation, infiltration and effector function.
Results NC410 has increased avidity due to Fc mediated dimerization, and blocks LAIR-1 interactions with ligands, and LAIR-1 signaling. In vivo administration of NC410 in humanized tumor models reduced tumor growth in a dose dependent fashion. NC410 increased the numbers of infiltrating human CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in the tumor, which is associated with increased levels of chemokines in the local tumor environment. Effector function was also enhanced, as denoted by increased levels of IFN-gamma and Granzyme B in the local tumor environment. In addition, NC410 increased specific collagen degradative products in the serum of humanized tumor-bearing mice, suggesting NC410 may promote tumor microenvironment remodeling and immune accessibility to further promote anti-tumor immunity.
Conclusions These data support NC410 as a novel therapeutic for targeting collagen-rich tumors and enabling normalization of the tumor-immune microenvironment. FIH studies have recently been initiated with NC410.
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