Successful in vivo tumor targeting of prostate-specific membrane antigen with a highly efficient J591/PEI/DNA molecular conjugate

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We have utilized a novel polyethylenimine (PEI)/DNA-βgal vector to investigate the specificity and efficiency of immunotargeting prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). Coupling of the PSMA-specific monoclonal antibody, J591, to the vector was facilitated via the high-affinity interaction between phenyl(di)boronic acid and salicylhydroxamic acid molecules. Highly efficient gene delivery by this prostate cancer (PCA)-targeted J591/polyethylene glycol (PEG)/PEI/DNA-βgal vector was demonstrated in PSMA-positive cells relative to controls, resulting in significant growth inhibition in vitro when the J591/PEG/PEI/DNA-p53 was used. Competition with free antibody resulted in about 90% reduction in both J591 internalization and βgal gene delivery, indicating specificity for PSMA-positive cells. More importantly, testing the efficiency of the J591/PEG/PEI/DNA-βgal targeting vector in an orthotopic PCA model in nude mice resulted in up to a 20-fold increase in gene delivery over the untargeted vector controls. The in vivo organ distribution profile also revealed βgal expression predominantly in the tumor, which was more than 1 log higher than the next highest level of expression in the lung. Furthermore, with the targeted vector containing the gene for yellow fluorescent protein or biotinylated J591, we further demonstrate in vivo that vector-mediated gene delivery is specific for both tumor cells and tumor-associated neovasculature in PSMA-positive tumors. These results suggest the potential for further optimization of this novel vector in the context of therapeutic gene delivery.

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