Gene therapy for cancer using single-chain Fv fragments specific for 4-1BB

Nat Med. 2002 Apr;8(4):343-8. doi: 10.1038/nm0402-343.


Monoclonal antibodies against the T-cell activation molecule 4-1BB have been effective in the treatment of established mouse tumors. To create a vaccine that stimulates the immune system similarly to the efficacious monoclonal anti-4-1BB antibody, 1D8, we constructed a vector encoding cell-bound single-chain Fv fragments from 1D8. We transfected the vector into cells from the K1735 melanoma, selected because of its low immunogenicity and very low expression of major histocompatibility complex class I. The transfected cells induced a strong type 1 T-helper cell response, for which CD4+ but not CD8+ T lymphocytes were necessary and that involved natural killer cells. Vaccinated mice rejected established wild-type K1735 tumors growing as subcutaneous nodules or in the lung. An analogous approach may be effective against micrometastases in human patients, including tumors whose expression of major histocompatibility complex class I is very low.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, CD
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / genetics
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / immunology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9


  • Antigens, CD
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF9 protein, human
  • Tnfrsf9 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9
  • immunoglobulin Fv
  • Interferon-gamma