Nature Biomedical Engineering 4, 531-543 (2020)
Collagen-binding IL-12 enhances tumour inflammation and drives the complete remission of established immunologically cold mouse tumours


Mansurov A*, Ishihara J#*, Hosseinchi P, Potin L, Marchell TM, Ishihara A, Williford J-M, Alpar AT, Raczy MM, Gray LT, Swartz MA, Hubbell JA




Checkpoint-inhibitor (CPI) immunotherapy has achieved remarkable clinical success, yet its efficacy in ‘immunologically cold’ tumours has been modest. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a powerful cytokine that activates the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system; however, the administration of IL-12 has been associated with immune-related adverse events. Here we show that, after intravenous administration of a collagen-binding domain fused to IL-12 (CBD–IL-12) in mice bearing aggressive mouse tumours, CBD–IL-12 accumulates in the tumour stroma due to exposed collagen in the disordered tumour vasculature. In comparison with the administration of unmodified IL-12, CBD–IL-12 induced sustained intratumoural levels of interferon-γ, substantially reduced its systemic levels as well as organ damage and provided superior anticancer efficacy, eliciting complete regression of CPI-unresponsive breast tumours. Furthermore, CBD–IL-12 potently synergized with CPI to eradicate large established melanomas, induced antigen-specific immunological memory and controlled tumour growth in a genetically engineered mouse model of melanoma. CBD–IL-12 may potentiate CPI immunotherapy for immunologically cold tumours.