Intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been shown to induce a specific immunologic response (i.e., activation of IL-2 and effector T-cells), while preclinical studies using ALT-803 (mutated IL-15 analogue combined with IL-15Rα-Fc fusion) have shown promising results by prolonging the agent's half-life and stimulating CD8+ T-cells. Based on these results, we hypothesized that the intravesical administration of ALT-803 along with BCG will generate an immunologic response leading to significant bladder tumor burden reduction. Using a well-established carcinogen induced rat non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) model, we studied the effects of intravesical ALT-803 with and without BCG. Rat tissues were evaluated to document treatment response. Intravesical ALT-803 was safe and well tolerated alone and in combination with BCG. As a single treatment agent, ALT-803 reduced tumor burden by 35% compared to control whereas BCG alone only reduced tumor burden by 15%. However, the combination of ALT-803 plus BCG reduced tumor burden by 46% compared to control. Immune monitoring suggested that the antitumor response was linked to the production and secretion of IL-1α, IL-1β and RANTES, which in turn, induced the proliferation and activation of NK cells. Lastly, tumoral responses of the combinational treatment were associated with 76% reduction in angiogenesis, which is significantly higher than when assessed with either agent alone. The enhanced therapeutic index seen with this duplet provides justification for the development of this regimen for future clinical trials.
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