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Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using antibody-based targeted therapies, such as antibody conjugates and chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy, shows potent antitumor efficacy. Glypican-3 (GPC3) is an emerging HCC therapeutic target; therefore, antibodies against GPC3 would be useful tools for developing immunotherapies for HCC. We isolated a novel human monoclonal antibody, 32A9, by phage display technology. We determined specificity, affinity, epitope and anti-tumor activity of 32A9, and developed 32A9-based immunotherapy technologies for evaluating the potency of HCC treatment in vitro or in vivo. 32A9 recognized human GPC3 with potent affinity and specificity. The epitope of 32A9 was located in the region of the GPC3 protein core close to the modification sites of the HS chain and outside of the Wnt-binding site of GPC3. The 32A9 antibody significantly inhibited HCC xenograft tumor growth in vivo. We then pursued two 32A9-based immunotherapeutic strategies by constructing an immunotoxin and CAR-T cells. The 32A9 immunotoxin exhibited specific cytotoxicity to GPC3-positive cancer cells, while 32A9 CAR-T cells efficiently eliminated GPC3-positive HCC cells in vitro and caused HCC xenograft tumor regressions in vivo. Our study provides a rationale for 32A9 as a promising GPC3-specific antibody candidate for HCC immunotherapy.


Xiaoyu Liu, Fang Gao, Longwei Jiang, Meng Jia, Lei Ao, Ming Lu, Liming Gou, Mitchell Ho, Shaochang Jia, Fei Chen, Wei Gao. 32A9, a novel human antibody for designing an immunotoxin and CAR-T cells against glypican-3 in hepatocellular carcinoma. Journal of translational medicine. 2020 Aug 03;18(1):295

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PMID: 32746924

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