Single-chain antibody and its derivatives directed against vascular endothelial growth factor: application for antiangiogenic gene therapy

Gene Ther. 2003 Oct;10(21):1850-9. doi: 10.1038/


Single-chain antibodies (scFv) have an enormous potential for clinical application. However, rapid blood clearance and difficulties in large-scale production of active scFvs have limited the practical use of these antibody fragments. Recently, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) scFv (scFv V65) was selected in our laboratory from a human antibody phage-display library. This antibody was able to reduce tumor growth in mice by approximately 50%. Here, we employ a gene therapy strategy for sustained in vivo expression of scFv V65 and its derivatives. scFv fusion proteins containing parts of the constant IgG1 region were generated (minibody and scFv V65-Fc) to increase the serum half-life of the scFv V65. Systemic administration of recombinant adenovirus encoding scFv V65 resulted in substantial tumor inhibition. This effect could be improved by multiple virus injections. We found that the efficacy of different scFv V65 formats was dependent on the mode of administration: whereas scFv V65-Fc was the most efficient when expressed locally, scFv V65 was superior when delivered systemically. Our results show that therapeutic levels of scFv V65 can be obtained by systemic injection of recombinant adenoviruses. Therefore, therapeutic gene delivery of scFv is a feasible strategy that overcomes several limitations of conventional antibody therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / immunology*
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Genetic Vectors / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics*
  • Injections
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / immunology*
  • Lymphokines / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lymphokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors