The applicability of cytoreductive treatment of malignant diseases using recombinant viruses strongly depends on specific recognition of surface receptors to target exclusively neoplastic cells. A recently generated monoclonal antibody (mAb), Wue-1, specifically detects CD138+ multiple myeloma (MM) cells. In this study, a haemagglutinin (H) protein that was receptor-blinded (i.e. did not bind to CD46 and CD150) was genetically re-engineered by fusing it to a single-chain antibody fragment (scFv) derived from the Wue-1 mAb open reading frame (scFv-Wue), resulting in the recombinant retargeted measles virus (MV)-Wue. MV-Wue efficiently targeted and fully replicated in primary MM cells, reaching titres similar to those seen with non-retargeted viruses. In agreement with its altered receptor specificity, infection of target cells was no longer dependent on CD150 or CD46, but was restricted to cells that had been labelled with Wue-1 mAb. Importantly, infection with MV-Wue rapidly induced apoptosis in CD138+ malignant plasma cell targets. MV-Wue is the first fully retargeted MV using the restricted interaction between Wue-1 mAb and primary MM cells specifically to infect, replicate in and deplete malignant plasma cells.
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