The main objective of our studies has been to optimize the effects of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and other immunosuppressive reagents to enhance organ graft survival. One such agent is OKT3, a MAb that is directed against the CD3 component of the human T-cell receptor (TCR) complex. Treatment of a rejection episode with OKT3 results in a rapid and efficient clearing of circulating T cells and reversal of most rejection episodes. Its wider use in transplantation and in the treatment of immune-mediated disease is limited by adverse reactions that follow the initial dose, the production of neutralizing Abs, and the transient nature of the immunosuppression. We have engineered CDR-grafted "humanized" anti-CD3 MAbs that lack Fc-receptor binding activity through mutagenesis of amino acids in the Fc portion of the MAb. This results in an immunosuppressive anti-CD3 MAb that is less antigenic and one that does not induce the first-dose side effects. In addition, we have pursued a goal of developing a therapy that will induce donor-specific tolerance while maintaining overall recipient immune competency. Because antigen-specific T-cell activation depends not only on TCR-ligand interaction, but also on additional costimulatory signals mediated by accessory molecules such as CD28, blocking the binding of CD28 on T cells to its ligand B7, during TCR engagement, might modulate transplantation responses. Using a soluble fusion protein of human CTLA4, CTLA4-Ig, that binds B7 with high affinity, inhibition of human pancreatic islet rejection that occurs, at least in part, by affecting T-cell recognition of human B7+ antigen-presenting cells has been demonstrated. In addition, CTLA4-Ig induces long-term, donor-specific unresponsiveness.
- monoclonal antibodies