A functional recombinant human 4-1BB ligand for immune costimulatory therapy of cancer

Marcia Meseck, Tiangui Huang, Ge Ma, George Wang, Shu Hsia Chen, Savio L.C. Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Costimulatory factors hold great promise for development into novel anticancer biotherapeutics. An agonist to 4-1BB is ranked number 8 by National Cancer Institute on the list of 20 agents with high potential for use in treating cancer. We earlier reported on a recombinant murine 4-1BB ligand fusion protein that binds 4-1BB receptor on murine T cells and stimulates their proliferation in tumor-bearing mice. To facilitate clinical translation, we constructed a corresponding recombinant human 4-1BB ligand fusion protein (hIg-h4-1BBLs) and showed its ability to activate human T cells in vitro. Using Chinese hamster ovary cells transformed with a plasmid coexpressing hIg-h4-1BBLs and rat glutamine synthetase, we generated a high-producing clone by sequential selection with methionine sulfoximine. The hIg-h4- 1BBLs was partially purified by protein A column chromatography and characterized biochemically and functionally, using human 4-1BB binding and human T-cell proliferation assays, in vitro. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western Blot confirmed that the hIg-h4-1BBLs is expressed predominantly as a functionally active multimeric protein with the ability to specifically bind to cells expressing human 4-1BB receptor and induce significant T-cell proliferation in vitro using both human and monkey peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The hIg-h4-1BBLs can be produced in large quantities from the highproducer clone and developed as a novel immune costimulatory biotherapeutic to treat, alone and in combination with other modalities, various malignant diseases in patients through T-cell activation. Process development of this clinical agent has been discussed with the Food and Drug Administration in a pre- Investigational New Drug meeting and presented to the Office of Biotechnology Activities in a public hearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • 4-1BBL
  • T-cell activation
  • cancer
  • immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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