by Michelle L. Scalley-Kim, Bruce W. Hess, Ryan L. Kelly, Anne-Rachel F. Krostag, Kurt H. Lustig, John S. Marken, Pamela J. Ovendale, Aaron R. Posey, Pamela J. Smolak, Janelle D. L. Taylor, C. L. Wood, David L. Bienvenue, Peter Probst, Ruth A. Salmon, Daniel S. Allison, Teresa M. Foy, Carol J. Raport
Chemokines play a key role in leukocyte recruitment during inflammation and are implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of autoimmune diseases. As such, inhibiting chemokine signaling has been of keen interest for the development of therapeutic agents. This endeavor, however, has been hampered due to complexities in the chemokine system. Many chemokines have been shown to signal through multiple receptors and, conversely, most chemokine receptors bind to more than one chemokine. One approach to overcoming this complexity is to develop a single therapeutic agent that binds and inactivates multiple chemokines, similar to an immune evasion strategy utilized by a number of viruses. Here, we describe the development and characterization of a novel therapeutic antibody that targets a subset of human CC chemokines, specifically CCL3, CCL4, and CCL5, involved in chronic inflammatory diseases. Using a sequential immunization approach, followed by humanization and phage display affinity maturation, a therapeutic antibody was developed that displays high binding affinity towards the three targeted chemokines. In vitro, this antibody potently inhibits chemotaxis and chemokine-mediated signaling through CCR1 and CCR5, primary chemokine receptors for the targeted chemokines. Furthermore, we have demonstrated in vivo efficacy of the antibody in a SCID-hu mouse model of skin leukocyte migration, thus confirming its potential as a novel therapeutic chemokine antagonist. We anticipate that this antibody will have broad therapeutic utility in the treatment of a number of autoimmune diseases due to its ability to simultaneously neutralize multiple chemokines implicated in disease pathogenesis.