Murine monoclonal antibody 2B8 specifically recognizes the CD20 phosphoprotein expressed on the surface of normal B lymphocytes and B- cell lymphomas. The light- and heavy-chain variable regions of 2B8 were cloned, after amplification by the polymerase chain reaction, into a cDNA expression vector that contained human IgG1 heavy chain and human kappa-light chain constant regions. High-level expression of chimeric- 2B8 antibody (C2B8) was obtained in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Purified C2B8 exhibited antigen binding affinity and human-tissue reactivity similar to the native murine antibody. In vitro studies showed the ability of C2B8 to bind human C1q, mediate complement- dependent cell lysis of human B-lymphoid cell lines, and lyse human target cells through antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Infusion of macaque cynomolgus monkeys with doses ranging from 1.6 mg/kg to 6.4 mg/kg resulted in greater than 98% depletion of peripheral blood (PB) B cells and 40% to 70% depletion of lymph node B cells. Recovery of PB B cells usually started at 2 weeks after treatment and required 60 to greater than 90 days to reach normal levels. As much as 95% depletion of B cells in peripheral lymph nodes and bone marrow was observed following weekly injections of 16.8 mg/kg antibody. No toxicity was observed in any of the animals. These results offer the possibility of using an “immunologically active” chimeric anti-CD20 antibody as an alternative approach in the treatment of B-cell lymphoma.

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