Idiotype vaccines produced with a non-cytopathic alphavirus self-amplifying RNA vector induce antitumor responses in a murine model of B-cell lymphoma
A promising therapy for patients with B-cell lymphoma is based on vaccination with idiotype monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Since idiotypes are different in each tumor, a personalized vaccine has to be produced for each patient. Expression of immunoglobulins with appropriate post-translational modifications for human use often requires the use of stable mammalian cells that can be scaled-up to reach the desired level of production. We have used a noncytopathic self-amplifying RNA vector derived from Semliki Forest virus (ncSFV) to generate BHK cell lines expressing murine follicular lymphoma-derived idiotype A20 mAb. ncSFV/BHK cell lines expressed approximately 2 mg/L/24 h of A20 mAb with proper quaternary structure and a glycosylation pattern similar to that of A20 mAb produced by hybridoma cells. A20 mAb purified from the supernatant of a ncSFV cell line, or from the hybridoma, was conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin and used to immunize Balb/c mice by administration of four weekly doses of 25 mu g of mAb. Both idiotype mAbs were able to induce a similar antitumor protection and longer survival compared to non-immunized mice. These results indicate that the ncSFV RNA vector could represent a quick and efficient system to produce patient-specific idiotypes with potential application as lymphoma vaccines.