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1 April 2003 Targeting Cells That Overexpress the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor with Polyethylene Glycolated BPD Verteporfin Photosensitizer Immunoconjugates
Mark D. Savellano, Tayyaba Hasan
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Photoimmunotherapy was introduced two decades ago but has been studied infrequently in vivo and is virtually untested clinically. Progress has been limited because high-quality, well-characterized photosensitizer immunoconjugates (PICs) have been difficult to make. Here, we describe the development of an innovative conjugation method for producing water-soluble PICs that are free of insoluble aggregates and free of unacceptable amounts of noncovalently associated photosensitizer impurities. The method exploits two procedures previously untried in this research area. First, a small number of antibody lysines (<3 per antibody) are polyethylene glycolated (PEGylated) using a 10 kDa branched polyethylene glycol (PEG), which dramatically enhances PIC solubility and reduces PIC aggregation. Second, a 50% dimethyl sulfoxide–50% aqueous two-solvent system is used to prevent photosensitizer aggregation and noncovalent interactions. These measures allow efficient covalent linkage of the photosensitizer BPD Verteporfin (BPD) to antibody lysines, thorough purification of the resulting PICs (verified by sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis), maintenance of PIC antigen-binding activity (verified by cellular binding–uptake assays) and reduction of nonspecific cellular uptake (e.g. macrophage capture) of the PICs. Loading levels could be varied controllably in the range ≤11 BPD/antibody. PICs of the C225 anti–epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) chimeric monoclonal antibody killed EGFR-overexpressing A-431 cells photodynamically but did not significantly affect EGFR-negative NR6 cells. Although fluorescence measurements demonstrated that the PICs were quenched by as much as an order of magnitude compared with free BPD, an impressive 90% reduction in A-431 cell viability was achieved using 20 J/cm2 of 690 nm light after a 40 h incubation with the C225 PICs. The results suggest that PEGylated BPD-C225 PICs merit further investigation in animal models of EGFR-overexpressing cancers.

Mark D. Savellano and Tayyaba Hasan "Targeting Cells That Overexpress the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor with Polyethylene Glycolated BPD Verteporfin Photosensitizer Immunoconjugates," Photochemistry and Photobiology 77(4), 431-439, (1 April 2003).<0431:TCTOTE>2.0.CO;2
Received: 3 January 2003; Accepted: 1 January 2003; Published: 1 April 2003

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