Ganglioside GD2 is an attractive tumor-associated carbohydrate antigen for anti-cancer vaccine development. However, its low immunogenicity and the significant side effects observed with anti-GD2 antibodies present significant obstacles for vaccines. To overcome these, a new GD2 derivative bearing an N-acetamide (NHAc) at its non-reducing end neuraminic acid (9NHAc-GD2) has been designed to mimic the 9-O-acetylated-GD2 (9OAc-GD2), a GD2 based antigen with a restricted expression on tumor cells. 9NHAc-GD2 was synthesized efficiently via a chemoenzymatic method and subsequently conjugated with a powerful carrier bacteriophage Qβ. Mouse immunization with the Qβ-9NHAc-GD2 conjugate elicited strong and long-lasting IgG antibodies, which were highly selective toward 9NHAc-GD2 with little cross-recognition of GD2. Immunization of canines with Qβ-9NHAc-GD2 showed the construct was immunogenic in canines with little adverse effects, paving the way for future clinical translation to humans.
Keywords: 9NHAc-GD2; cancer; glycoconjugates; synthesis design; vaccine.
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