NTB-A is a CD2-related cell surface protein expressed primarily on lymphoid cells including B-lymphocytes from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and lymphoma patients. We have generated a series of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against NTB-A and assessed their therapeutic potential for CLL. Selective mAbs to NTB-A were further tested in functional complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicty (ADCC) assays in cell lines and B lymphocytes freshly isolated from CLL patients. While lower levels of NTB-A were detected in T and natural killer (NK) cells, CDC activity was demonstrated primarily in B cells isolated from CLL patients and B lymphoma cell lines. Knockdown of NTB-A by small interfering RNA in target cells results in lower cytotoxicity, demonstrating the specificity of the mAbs. Furthermore, anti NTB-A mAbs demonstrated anti-tumour activity against CA46 human lymphoma xenografts in nude mice and against systemically disseminated Raji human lymphoma cells in severe combined immunodeficient mice. Taken together, these results demonstrate NTB-A as a potential new target for immunotherapy of leukaemia and lymphomas.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
- Monoclonal antibody
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