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  Pharmaceutical Patents  

 

Title:  Metalloproteinase-binding proteins
United States Patent: 
7,514,534

Issued:  April 7, 2009
Inventors: 
Dransfield; Daniel T. (Hanson, MA), Rookey; Kristin (Revere, MA), Ladner; Robert C. (Ijamsville, MD)
Assignee: 
DYAX Corp. (Cambridge, MA)
Appl. No.: 
10/993,543
Filed:
 November 19, 2004


 

Pharm Bus Intell & Healthcare Studies


Abstract

Disclosed are antibodies that interact with a matrix metalloproteases such as MMP-26. Exemplary antibodies inhibit MMP-26 activity. These antibodies can be used, e.g., to treat or prevent metastatic disorders, hyperproliferative disorders, disorders which are characterized by excessive extracellular matrix degradation, and inflammatory disorders.

Description of the Invention

The invention provides, inter alia, proteins (e.g., antibodies) that bind to matrix metalloproteinase-26 (MMP-26). In one embodiment, the proteins inhibit MMP-26. Other names for MMP-26 include Matrilysin-2 and endometase. An exemplary human MMP-26 amino acid sequence is as follows (as provided by SWISSPROT entry Q9NRE1) -- see Original Patent.

After removal of the signal sequence and the prodomain, the amino acid sequence of the mature MMP-26 protein can be as follows -- see Original Patent.

Typically, MMP-26 is specifically expressed in human placenta and uterine tissue. MMP-26 is expressed by endometrial tumors and other tumors of epithelial origin, including carcinomas of the breast, lung and prostate. In addition, a variety of breast, lung and prostate cancer cell lines express this MMP. Accordingly, MMP-26 may participate in tissue remodeling events associated with tumor progression and metastasis as well as embryo implantation.

MMP-26 cleaves a variety of substrates, including type I gelatin, serpin alpha-1-anti-trypsin (.alpha.1AT), fibronectin, vitronectin, denatured collagen and pro-gelatinase B (pro-MMP-9) (thereby activating the zymogen). MMP-26 does not substantially cleave non-denatured collagens, laminin, elastin, and plasminogen. In addition, MMP-26 cleaves insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1). Cleavage of this binding protein can increase local concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and may similarly effect IGF-2. Insulin-like growth factors have been linked to proliferation of a variety of cancer cells. Accordingly, an inhibitor of MMP-26 (e.g., an inhibitory antibody described herein) can be used to reduce insulin-like growth factor activity (e.g., levels or presence of IGF-1 or IGF-2).

MMP-26-mediated .alpha.1AT hydrolysis inactivates this regulator of serine proteases resulting in enhanced protease activity and further destruction of the extracellular matrix. MMP-26 protease activity previously has been associated with invasiveness by breast cancer cells.

Identification of MMP-26 Binding Proteins

A number of methods can be used to identify proteins that bind to MMP-26. To identify antibodies, it is possible to immunize a non-human animal with the target molecule. Spleen cells can be isolated from the immunized animal and used to produce hybridoma cells using standard methods. In one embodiment, the non-human animal includes one or more human immunoglobulin genes. One method for identifying proteins that bind to MMP-26 includes: providing a library and selecting from the library one or more members that encode a protein that binds to the MMP-26 antigen. The selection can be performed in a number of ways. For example, the library can be a display library.

The MMP-26 can be tagged and recombinantly expressed. The MMP-26 is purified and attached to a support, e.g., to affinity beads, or paramagnetic beads or other magnetically responsive particles.

The MMP-26 can also be expressed on the surface of a cell. Members of the display library that specifically bind to the cell, e.g., only if the MMP-26 is activated, can be selected.

Display Libraries

In one embodiment, a display library is used to identify proteins that bind to MMP-26. A display library is a collection of entities; each entity includes an accessible protein component (e.g., a Fab or scFv) and a recoverable component (e.g., a nucleic acid) that encodes or identifies the protein component. The protein component can be of any length, e.g. from three amino acids to over 300 amino acids. In a selection, the protein component of each member of the library is probed with MMP-26 protein and if the protein component binds to MMP-26, the display library member is identified, e.g., by retention on a support. The protein component can include one or more immunoglobulin variable domains or variants of another domain. Methods using immunoglobulin domains for display are described below (see, e.g., "Antibody Display Libraries").

Retained display library members are recovered from the support and analyzed. The analysis can include amplification and a subsequent selection under similar or dissimilar conditions. For example, positive and negative selections can be alternated. The analysis also can include determining the amino acid sequence of the protein component and purification of the protein component for detailed characterization.

A variety of formats can be used for display libraries. Examples include the following.

Phage Display. One format utilizes viruses, particularly bacteriophages. This format is termed "phage display." The protein component is typically covalently linked to a bacteriophage coat protein. The linkage results form translation of a nucleic acid encoding the protein component fused to the coat protein. The linkage can include a flexible peptide linker, a protease site, or an amino acid incorporated as a result of suppression of a stop codon. Phage display is described, for example, in Ladner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,223,409; Smith (1985) Science 228:1315-1317; WO 92/18619; WO 91/17271; WO 92/20791; WO 92/15679; WO 93/01288; WO 92/01047; WO 92/09690; WO 90/02809; de Haard et al. (1999) J. Biol. Chem 274:18218-30; Hoogenboom et al. (1998) Immunotechnology 4:1-20; Hoogenboom et al. (2000) Immunol Today 2:371-8; Fuchs et al. (1991) Bio/Technology 9:1370-1372; Hay et al. (1992) Hum Antibod Hybridomas 3:81-85; Huse et al. (1989) Science 246:1275-1281; Griffiths et al. (1993) EMBO J. 12:725-734; Hawkins et al. (1992) J Mol Biol 226:889-896; Clackson et al. (1991) Nature 352:624-628; Gram et al. (1992) PNAS 89:3576-3580; Garrard et al. (1991) Bio/Technology 9:1373-1377; Rebar et al. (1996) Methods Enzymol. 267:129-49; Hoogenboom et al. (1991) Nuc Acid Res 19:4133-4137; and Barbas et al. (1991) PNAS 88:7978-7982.

Phage display systems have been developed for filamentous phage (phage fl, fd, and M13) as well as other bacteriophage (e.g., T7 bacteriophage and lambdoid phages; see, e.g., Santini (1998) J. Mol. Biol. 282:125-135; Rosenberg et al. (1996) Innovations 6:1-6; Houshmet al. (1999) Anal Biochem 268:363-370). The filamentous phage display systems typically use fusions to a minor coat protein, such as gene III protein, and gene VIII protein, a major coat protein, but fusions to other coat proteins such as gene VI protein, gene VII protein, gene IX protein, or domains thereof also can be used (see, e.g., WO 00/71694). In one embodiment, the fusion is to a domain of the gene III protein, e.g., the anchor domain or "stump," (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,658,727 for a description of the gene III protein anchor domain). It also is possible to physically associate the protein being displayed to the coat using a non-peptide linkage, e.g., a non-covalent bond or a non-peptide covalent bond. For example, a disulfide bond and/or c-fos and c-jun coiled-coils can be used for physical associations (see, e.g., Crameri et al. (1993) Gene 137:69 and WO 01/05950).

Bacteriophage displaying the protein component can be grown and harvested using standard phage preparatory methods, e.g. PEG precipitation from growth media. After selection of individual display phages, the nucleic acid encoding the selected protein components, by infecting cells using the selected phages. Individual colonies or plaques can be picked, the nucleic acid isolated and sequenced.

Cell-based Display. In still another format the library is a cell-display library. Proteins are displayed on the surface of a cell, e.g., a eukaryotic or prokaryotic cell. Exemplary prokaryotic cells include E. coli cells, B. subtilis cells, and spores (see, e.g., Lu et al. (1995) Biotechnology 13:366). Exemplary eukaryotic cells include yeast (e.g., Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Hanseula, or Pichia pastoris). Yeast surface display is described, e.g., in Boder and Wittrup (1997) Nat. Biotechnol. 15:553-557 and WO 03/029456, which describes a yeast display system that can be used to display immunoglobulin proteins such as Fab fragments and the use of mating to generate combinations of heavy and light chains.

In one embodiment, diverse nucleic acid sequences are cloned into a vector for yeast display. The cloning joins the variegated sequence with a domain (or complete) yeast cell surface protein, e.g., Aga2, Aga1, Flo1, or Gas1. A domain of these proteins can anchor the polypeptide encoded by the variegated nucleic acid sequence by a transmembrane domain (e.g., Flo1) or by covalent linkage to the phospholipid bilayer (e.g., Gas1). The vector can be configured to express two polypeptide chains on the cell surface such that one of the chains is linked to the yeast cell surface protein. For example, the two chains can be immunoglobulin chains.

In one embodiment, nucleic acids encoding immunoglobulin heavy chains that have been mutagenized based on an initial MMP-26-binding immunoglobulin are introduced into yeast cells of one cell type, and nucleic acids encoding immunoglobulin light chains that have been mutagenized based on an initial MMP-26-binding immunoglobulin are introduced into yeast cells of the other cell type. These two populations of cells can be combined to form diploid yeast that each express an immunoglobulin heavy and light chain. The yeast cells can be selected and/or screened for cells that bind to MMP-26, e.g., bind with improved affinity.

Ribosome Display. RNA and the polypeptide encoded by the RNA can be physically associated by stabilizing ribosomes that are translating the RNA and have the nascent polypeptide still attached. Typically, high divalent Mg.sup.2+ concentrations and low temperature are used. See, e.g., Mattheakis et al. (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:9022 and Hanes et al. (2000) Nat Biotechnol. 18:1287-92; Hanes et al. (2000) Methods Enzymol. 328:404-30; and Schaffitzel et al. (1999) J Immunol Methods. 231(1-2):119-35.

Polypeptide-Nucleic Acid Fusions. Another format utilizes polypeptide-nucleic acid fusions. Polypeptide-nucleic acid fusions can be generated by the in vitro translation of mRNA that include a covalently attached puromycin group, e.g., as described in Roberts and Szostak (1997) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:12297-12302, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,207,446. The mRNA can then be reverse transcribed into DNA and crosslinked to the polypeptide.

Other Display Formats. Yet another display format is a non-biological display in which the protein component is attached to a non-nucleic acid tag that identifies the polypeptide. For example, the tag can be a chemical tag attached to a bead that displays the polypeptide or a radiofrequency tag (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,874,214).

Epitope Specific Ligands. Display technology also can be used to obtain ligands, e.g., antibody ligands, that bind to particular epitopes of a target. Epitopes can be classified as "conformational" or "sequential". Conformational epitopes involve amino-acid residues that have a defined relative orientation in a properly folded target even though the amino acids may be substantially separated in the sequence (e.g., separated by at least one, two, four, six, eight or ten amino acids). Sequential epitopes involve short portions of the polypeptide chain that bind an antibody whatever the folding state of the protein (e.g., native or unfolded). Ligands for conformational epitopes can be identified, for example, by using competing non-target molecules that lack the particular epitope or are mutated within the epitope, e.g., with alanine. Such non-target molecules can be used in a negative selection procedure as described below, as competing molecules when binding a display library to the target, or as a pre-elution agent, e.g., to capture in a wash solution dissociating display library members that are not specific to the target. In another implementation, epitope specific ligands are identified by eluting display library members with a competing ligand that binds to the epitope of interest on the target molecule. Ligands that bind sequential epitopes can be selected, for example, using short peptides that have amino-acid sequences found in a target protein. Often ligands that bind to conformational epitopes also bind weakly to one or another peptide that contains some of the amino acids involved in the conformational epitope. Thus, one can select for binding to a peptide at very low stringency and then select for binding to the folded target protein.

Affinity Maturation. In one embodiment, a ligand that binds to a target is modified, e.g., by mutagenesis, to provide a pool of modified ligands. The modified ligands are then evaluated to identify one or more altered ligands which have altered functional properties (e.g., improved binding, improved stability, lengthened stability in vivo). In one implementation, display library technology is used to select or screen the pool of modified ligands. Higher affinity ligands are then identified from the second library, e.g., by using higher stringency or more competitive binding and washing conditions. Other screening techniques also can be used.

In one example of affinity maturation the methods described herein are used to first identify a protein ligand from a display library that binds a MMP-26 with at least a minimal binding specificity for a target or a minimal activity, e.g., an equilibrium dissociation constant for binding of less than 1 nM, 10 nM, or 100 nM. The nucleic acid sequence encoding the initial identified protein ligand are used as a template nucleic acid for the introduction of variations, e.g., to identify a second protein ligand that has enhanced properties (e.g., binding affinity, kinetics, or stability) relative to the initial protein ligand. Alternatively, the amino-acid sequence of one or more CDRs can be used as a guide for design of a nucleic acid library that includes nucleic acids encoding the isolated sequence and many neighboring sequences. Such diversified nucleic acids can be introduced into a display vector containing the initial isolate and improved variants are selected from the library.

In some implementations, the mutagenesis is targeted to regions known or likely to be at the binding interface. If, for example, the identified ligands are antibodies, then mutagenesis can be directed to the CDR regions of the heavy or light chains as described herein. Further, mutagenesis can be directed to framework regions near or adjacent to the CDRs, e.g., framework regions, particular within ten, five, or three amino acids of a CDR junction. In the case of antibodies, mutagenesis also can be limited to one or a few of the CDRs, e.g., to make step-wise improvements.

Some exemplary mutagenesis techniques include: error-prone PCR (Leung et al. (1989) Technique 1:11-15), recombination (see, e.g., U.S. Ser. No. 10/279,633), DNA shuffling using random cleavage (Stemmer (1994) Nature 389-391; termed "nucleic acid shuffling"), RACHITT.TM. (Coco et al. (2001) Nature Biotech. 19:354), site-directed mutagenesis (Zoller et al. (1987) Nucl Acids Res 10:6487-6504), cassette mutagenesis (Reidhaar-Olson (1991) Methods Enzymol. 208:564-586) and incorporation of degenerate oligonucleotides (Griffiths et al. (1994) EMBO J 13:3245).

In one embodiment, mutagenesis is used to make an antibody more similar to one or more germline sequences. One exemplary germlining method can include: identifying one or more germline sequences that are similar (e.g., most similar in a particular database) to the sequence of the isolated antibody. Then mutations (at the amino acid level) can be made in the isolated antibody, either incrementally, in combination, or both. For example, a nucleic acid library that includes sequences encoding some or all possible germline mutations is made. The mutated antibodies are then evaluated, e.g., to identify an antibody that has one or more additional germline residues relative to the isolated antibody and that is still useful (e.g., has a functional activity). In one embodiment, as many germline residues are introduced into an isolated antibody as possible.

In one embodiment, mutagenesis is used to substitute or insert one or more germline residues into a CDR region. For example, the germline CDR residue can be from a germline sequence that is similar (e.g., most similar) to the variable region being modified. After mutagenesis, activity (e.g., binding or other functional activity) of the antibody can be evaluated to determine if the germline residue or residues are tolerated. Similar mutagenesis can be performed in the framework regions.

Accordingly, it is possible to isolate an antibody which has similar activity to a given antibody of interest, but is more similar to one or more germline sequences. For example, an antibody can be at least 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 99.5% identical to a germline sequence in a region outside the CDRs (e.g., framework regions). Further an antibody can include at least 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 germline residues in a CDR region, the germline residue being from a germline sequence of similar (e.g., most similar) to the variable region being modified. Germline sequences of primary interest are human germline sequences. The activity of the antibody (e.g., the binding activity) can be within a factor or 100, 10, 5, 2, 0.5, 0.1, and 0.001 of the original antibody.

Off-Rate Selection. Since a slow dissociation rate can be predictive of high affinity, particularly with respect to interactions between polypeptides and their targets, the methods described herein can be used to isolate ligands with a desired kinetic dissociation rate (i.e. reduced) for a binding interaction to a target.

To select for slow dissociating ligands from a display library, the library is contacted to an immobilized target. The immobilized target is then washed with a first solution that removes non-specifically or weakly bound biomolecules. Then the immobilized target is eluted with a second solution that includes a saturation amount of free target, i.e., replicates of the target that are not attached to the particle. The free target binds to biomolecules that dissociate from the target. Rebinding is effectively prevented by the saturating amount of free target relative to the much lower concentration of immobilized target.

The second solution can have solution conditions that are substantially physiological or that are stringent. Typically, the solution conditions of the second solution are identical to the solution conditions of the first solution. Fractions of the second solution are collected in temporal order to distinguish early from late fractions. Later fractions include biomolecules that dissociate at a slower rate from the target than biomolecules in the early fractions.

Further, it also is possible to recover display library members that remain bound to the target even after extended incubation. These can either be dissociated using chaotropic conditions or can be amplified while attached to the target. For example, phage bound to the target can be contacted to bacterial cells.

Selecting and Screening for Specificity. "Selection", in the context of a display library, refers to a process in which many members of a display library are allowed to contact the target and those that bind are recovered and propagated. The selection can be from a library having numerous members, e.g., more than 10.sup.10 members. "Screening", in the context of a display library, refers to a process in which isolated members of the library are tested singly for binding to the target. Through automation, thousands of candidates may be screened in a highly parallel process. The display library selection methods described herein can include a selection process that discards display library members that bind to a non-target molecule. Examples of non-target molecules include, e.g., metalloproteinases other than MMP-26, e.g., a matrix metalloproteinase other than MMP-26, e.g., MMP-12, MMP-3 (stromelysin-1), MMP-9 (gelatinase), and so on. In one implementation, a so-called "negative selection" step is used to discriminate between the target and related non-target molecule and a related, but distinct non-target molecules. The display library or a pool thereof is contacted to the non-target molecule. Members of the sample that do not bind the non-target are collected and used in subsequent selections for binding to the target molecule or even for subsequent negative selections. The negative selection step can be prior to or after selecting library members that bind to the target molecule.

In another implementation, a screening step is used. After display library members are isolated for binding to the target molecule, each isolated library member is tested for its ability to bind to a non-target molecule (e.g., a non-target listed above). For example, a high-throughput ELISA screen can be used to obtain this data. The ELISA screen can also be used to obtain quantitative data for binding of each library member to the target. The non-target and target binding data are compared (e.g., using a computer and software) to identify library members that specifically bind to MMP-26.

The display library selection and screening methods described herein can include a selection or screening process that selects for display library members that bind to specific sites on the target molecule. For example, elution with high concentration of an antibody described herein selects for phage that bind to the epitope bound by such an antibody. One can screen for a phage that binds to a particular epitope of MMP-26 by performing ELISAs with and without a competing antibody that recognizes the epitope in the buffer.

Selection and Screening for MMP-26-binding Antibodies:

The following provides one exemplary method for identifying antibodies that bind to MMP-26 using a phagemid Fab library. For example, three rounds of selection can be performed with decreasing amounts of target protein (e.g., 500 to 50 nM for first to third rounds, respectively). The target is immobilized on streptavidin-coated magnetic beads (Dynal). The library is depleted against streptavidin-coated magnetic beads prior to each round of selection and optionally against an unrelated protein which may include a common purification handle. For example, if the target is produced as a fusion to an Fc domain, the library can be depleted against soluble Trail-Fc (a commercially available Fc fusion protein). The depletion process removes Fc binders.

Each round of selection can include, e.g., two cycles of streptavidin magnetic bead depletion, a cycle of binding of phage to MMP-26-coated beads, ten cycles of washes, elution of bound phage, and propagation of enriched phage for the next round. Phage bound to MMP-26-coated beads after ten washes can be directly amplified or eluted before amplification. After three rounds of selection, individual clones may be grown in 96-well microtiter plates and individually screened for MMP-26 binding activity by phage ELISA. ELISAs can include evaluations of binding to MMP-26, specificity controls, and unrelated controls. Isolates can be DNA fingerprinted to determine the diversity emerging from the selection process. For example, positive isolates can be PCR amplified with the oligonucleotide primers M13-reverse and gene III-forward (see, e.g., Marks et al. (1991), J. Mol. Biol. 222:581). The products can be analyzed by BstNI fingerprinting.

An exemplary method for performing ELISA's with phage that display a ligand is as follows. Individual clones can be grown and rescued as described previously (Marks et al. (1991), J. Mol. Biol. 222:581). For ELISAs, 96-well Immulon 2 HB plates (Thermo Labsystems) are coated with 1 .mu.g/well ImmunoPure.TM. streptavidin (Pierce) in PBS and incubated overnight at 4.degree. C. After three washes with PBS, 100 .mu.L of biotinylated MMP-26 protein is allowed to bind to the immobilized streptavidin for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. Then, MMP-26-coated wells are blocked with 300 .mu.L of 2% milk/1.times.PBS/0.05% Tween (2% MPBST) for two hours at 37.degree. C. The wells are incubated with 100 .mu.L of phage culture supernatant that had been blocked with 2% MPBST for one hour at room temperature. The wells are washed five times with 1.times.PBS/Tween 0.1% (PBST), and incubated with 100 .mu.L of anti-M13-HRP secondary antibody at a 1:5,000 dilution for one hour at room temperature. The wells are washed five times with PBST before developing with TMB-solution and read at 630 nm.

For the cell ELISAs, cells are washed once in PBS and resuspended at a concentration of 1.times.10.sup.6 to 2.times.10.sup.6 cells/mL of PBS. A final concentration of 1-2.times.10.sup.5 cells per well of a 96-well tissue culture plate (Falcon, VWR) can be used. The cells are fixed by adding an equal volume of 0.2% glutaraldehyde (Sigma-Aldrich) and incubating at 37.degree. C. for 12 minutes. They are then washed three times with PBS using an automated plate washer (Bio-Tek Instruments, Inc.) and blocked with 200 .mu.L of 2% MPBST for one hour at room temperature. The rest of the ELISA procedure can be performed as described above except that 1.times.PBS/Tween 0.05% is used for the washes and incubations.

Diversity

Display libraries and other libraries include variation at one or more positions in the displayed polypeptide. The variation at a given position can be synthetic or natural. For some libraries, both synthetic and natural diversity are included.

Synthetic Diversity. Libraries can include regions of diverse nucleic acid sequence that originate from artificially synthesized sequences. Typically, these are formed from degenerate oligonucleotide populations that include a distribution of nucleotides at each given position. The inclusion of a given sequence is random with respect to the distribution. One example of a degenerate source of synthetic diversity is an oligonucleotide that includes NNN wherein N is any of the four nucleotides in equal proportion.

Synthetic diversity can also be more constrained, e.g., to limit the number of codons in a nucleic acid sequence at a given trinucleotide to a distribution that is smaller than NNN. For example, such a distribution can be constructed using less than four nucleotides at some positions of the codon. In addition, trinucleotide addition technology can be used to further constrain the distribution.

So-called "trinucleotide addition technology" is described, e.g., in Wells et al. (1985) Gene 34:315-323, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,760,025 and 5,869,644. Oligonucleotides are synthesized on a solid phase support, one codon (i.e., trinucleotide) at a time. The support includes many functional groups for synthesis such that many oligonucleotides are synthesized in parallel. The support is first exposed to a solution containing a mixture of the set of codons for the first position. The unit is protected so additional units are not added. The solution containing the first mixture is washed away and the solid support is deprotected so a second mixture containing a set of codons for a second position can be added to the attached first unit. The process is iterated to sequentially assemble multiple codons. Trinucleotide addition technology enables the synthesis of a nucleic acid that at a given position can encode a number of amino acids. The frequency of these amino acids can be regulated by the proportion of codons in the mixture. Further the choice of amino acids at the given position is not restricted to quadrants of the codon table as is the case if mixtures of single nucleotides are added during the synthesis. Synthetic oligonucleotides including randomized or spiked codons can be also be used for producing a library for an affinity maturation selection.

Natural Diversity. Libraries can include regions of diverse nucleic acid sequence that originate (or are synthesized based on) from different naturally-occurring sequences. An example of natural diversity that can be included in a display library is the sequence diversity present in immune cells (see also below). Nucleic acids are prepared from these immune cells and are manipulated into a format for polypeptide display.

Antibody Display Libraries

In one embodiment, the display library presents a diverse pool of proteins, each of which includes an immunoglobulin domain, e.g., an immunoglobulin variable domain. Display libraries are particular useful, for example, for identifying human or effectively human antibodies that recognize human antigens. Such antibodies can be used as therapeutics to treat human disorders such as cancer, e.g., metastatic cancer. Since the constant and framework regions of the antibody are human, these therapeutic antibodies may avoid themselves being recognized and targeted as antigens. The constant regions are also optimized to recruit effector functions of the human immune system. The in vitro display selection process surmounts the inability of a normal human immune system to generate antibodies against self-antigens.

A typical antibody display library displays a polypeptide that includes a VH domain and a VL domain. An "immunoglobulin domain" refers to a domain from the variable or constant domain of immunoglobulin molecules. Immunoglobulin domains typically contain two .beta.-sheets formed of about seven .beta.-strands, and a conserved disulphide bond (see, e.g., A. F. Williams and A. N. Barclay 1988 Ann. Rev Immunol. 6:381-405). The display library can display the antibody as a Fab fragment (e.g., using two polypeptide chains) or a single chain Fv (e.g., using a single polypeptide chain). Other formats can also be used.

As in the case of the Fab and other formats, the displayed antibody can include a constant region as part of a light or heavy chain. In one embodiment, each chain includes one constant region, e.g., as in the case of a Fab. In other embodiments, additional constant regions are displayed.

Antibody libraries can be constructed by a number of processes (see, e.g., de Haard et al. (1999) J. Biol. Chem 274:18218-30; Hoogenboom et al. (1998) Immunotechnology 4:1-20. and Hoogenboom et al. (2000) Immunol Today 21:371-8). Further, elements of each process can be combined with those of other processes. The processes can be used such that variation is introduced into a single immunoglobulin domain (e.g., VH or VL) or into multiple immunoglobulin domains (e.g., VH and VL). The variation can be introduced into an immunoglobulin variable domain, e.g., in the region of one or more of CDR1, CDR2, CDR3, FR1, FR2, FR3, and FR4, referring to such regions of either and both of heavy and light chain variable domains. In one embodiment, variation is introduced into all three CDRs of a given variable domain. In another preferred embodiment, the variation is introduced into CDR1 and CDR2, e.g., of a heavy chain variable domain. Any combination is feasible. In one process, antibody libraries are constructed by inserting diverse oligonucleotides that encode CDRs into the corresponding regions of the nucleic acid. The oligonucleotides can be synthesized using a variety of subunits, e.g., monomeric nucleotides or trinucleotides. For example, Knappik et al. (2000) J. Mol. Biol. 296:57-86 describe a method for constructing CDR encoding oligonucleotides using trinucleotide synthesis and a template with engineered restriction sites for accepting the oligonucleotides.

In another process, an animal, e.g., a rodent, is immunized with the MMP-26. The animal is optionally boosted with the antigen to further stimulate the response. Then spleen cells are isolated from the animal, and nucleic acid encoding VH and/or VL domains is amplified and cloned for expression in the display library.

In yet another process, antibody libraries are constructed from nucleic acid amplified from naive germline immunoglobulin genes (e.g., human genes). The amplified nucleic acid includes nucleic acid encoding the VH and/or VL domain. Sources of immunoglobulin-encoding nucleic acids are described below. Amplification can include PCR, e.g., with primers that anneal to the conserved constant region, or another amplification method.

Nucleic acid encoding immunoglobulin domains or fragments thereof can be obtained from the immune cells of, e.g., a human, a primate, mouse, rabbit, camel, or rodent. In one example, the cells are selected for a particular property. B cells at various stages of maturity can be selected. In another example, the B cells are naive.

In one embodiment, fluorescent-activated cell sorting (FACS) is used to sort B cells that express surface-bound IgM, IgD, or IgG molecules. Further, B cells expressing different isotypes of IgG can be isolated. In another preferred embodiment, the B or T cell is cultured in vitro. The cells can be stimulated in vitro, e.g., by culturing with feeder cells or by adding mitogens or other modulatory reagents, such as antibodies to CD40, CD40 ligand or CD20, phorbol myristate acetate, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, concanavalin A, phytohemagglutinin or pokeweed mitogen.

In still another embodiment, the cells are isolated from a subject that has an immunological disorder, e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, Sjogren syndrome, systemic sclerosis, or anti-phospholipid syndrome. The subject can be a human, or an animal, e.g., an animal model for the human disease, or an animal having an analogous disorder. In yet another embodiment, the cells are isolated from a transgenic non-human animal that includes a human immunoglobulin locus.

In one preferred embodiment, the cells have activated a program of somatic hypermutation. Cells can be stimulated to undergo somatic mutagenesis of immunoglobulin genes, for example, by treatment with anti-immunoglobulin, anti-CD40, and anti-CD38 antibodies (see, e.g., Bergthorsdottir et al. (2001) J Immunol. 166:2228). In another embodiment, the cells are naive.

The nucleic acid encoding an immunoglobulin variable domain can be isolated from a natural repertoire by the following exemplary method. First, RNA is isolated from the immune cell. Full length (i.e., capped) mRNAs are separated (e.g. by dephosphorylating uncapped RNAs with calf intestinal phosphatase). The cap is then removed with tobacco acid pyrophosphatase and reverse transcription is used to produce the cDNAs.

The reverse transcription of the first (antisense) strand can be done in any manner with any suitable primer. See, e.g., de Haard et al. (1999) J. Biol. Chem 274:18218-30. The primer binding region can be constant among different immunoglobulins, e.g., in order to reverse transcribe different isotypes of immunoglobulin. The primer binding region can also be specific to a particular isotype of immunoglobulin. Typically, the primer is specific for a region that is 3' to a sequence encoding at least one CDR. In another embodiment, poly-dT primers may be used (and may be preferred for the heavy-chain genes).

A synthetic sequence can be ligated to the 3' end of the reverse transcribed strand. The synthetic sequence can be used as a primer binding site for binding of the forward primer during PCR amplification after reverse transcription. The use of the synthetic sequence can obviate the need to use a pool of different forward primers to fully capture the available diversity.

The variable domain-encoding gene is then amplified, e.g., using one or more rounds. If multiple rounds are used, nested primers can be used for increased fidelity. The amplified nucleic acid is then cloned into a display library vector.

Any method for amplifying nucleic acid sequences may be used for amplification. Methods that maximize and do not bias diversity are preferred. A variety of techniques can be used for nucleic acid amplification. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR; U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,683,195 and 4,683,202, Saiki, et al. (1985) Science 230, 1350-1354) utilizes cycles of varying temperature to drive rounds of nucleic acid synthesis. Transcription-based methods utilize RNA synthesis by RNA polymerases to amplify nucleic acid (U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,066,457; 6,132,997; 5,716,785; Sarkar et. al., Science (1989) 244: 331-34; Stofler et al., Science (1988) 239: 491). NASBA (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,130,238; 5,409,818; and 5,554,517) utilizes cycles of transcription, reverse-transcription, and RNaseH-based degradation to amplify a DNA sample. Still other amplification methods include rolling circle amplification (RCA; U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,854,033 and 6,143,495) and strand displacement amplification (SDA; U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,455,166 and 5,624,825).

Exemplary MMP-26 Inhibition Assays

Methods for evaluating MMP-26 enzymatic activity are known. See, e.g., Park et al. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277:35168-35175. In addition, MMP-26 assay may be monitored by measuring the cleavage of MMP-26-catalyzable substrates including vitronectin and collagen with subsequent detection of the cleaved substrates by standard SDS-PAGE techniques.

Inhibitory dissociation constants can be determined using 1 .mu.M of the peptide substrate: Mca-Pro-Leu-Gly-Leu-Dpa-Ala-Arg-NH.sub.2 (SEQ ID NO:215). The protein being evaluated can be tested at a range of concentrations, e.g., five to ten different concentrations. Kinetic parameters can be monitored by evaluating fluorescence of 3-methoxycoumarin, by excitation at 328 nm and by monitoring emission at 393 nm. The K.sub.i can be calculating by fitting data to an equation. Kinetic experiments can be performed in 50 mM HEPES pH 7.5, 10 mM CaCl.sub.2, 0.2 M NaCl and 0.01% Brij-35. Additional substrates include Mca-Lys-Pro-Ile-Ser(P1)-Leu-Dpa-Ala-Arg-NH.sub.2 (SEQ ID NO:216), or Mca-Pro-Ile-Ser(P1)-Leu-Dpa-Ala-Arg-NH.sub.2 (SEQ ID NO:217). See, e.g., Park et al. (2002) J Biol Chem. 277(38):35168-75.

Additional assays for inhibtion can monitor ability to inhibit MMP-26 mediated activation of MMP-9. Activation is monitored by MMP-9 cleavage of gelatin (Molecular Probes E-12055) or cleavage of an MMP-9 specific peptide (Calbiochem 444221). MMP-26, e.g., at a concentration of 100 nM, is incubated with the candidate inhibitors at varying concentrations for one hour. The proMMP-9, at a concentration of 10 nM, is then added to the mixture followed by fluorescently labeled gelatin or a fluorescently labeled peptide substrate. MMP-9 activity is monitored using a fluorimeter (Molecular Devices) and is observed as an increase in signal.

In one embodiment, a protein (e.g., an antibody described herein) has a K.sub.i of less than 10.sup.-7, 10.sup.-8, 10.sup.-9, 10.sup.-10, or 10.sup.-11 M in an assay described herein.

Exemplary Biological Assays

Potential MMP-26 binding protein can also be evaluated for their activity in vivo. For example, to evaluate the activity of a protein (e.g., an antibody described herein) to reduce tumor growth through binding and/or inhibition of MMP-26, the procedures described by Jankun et al., Canc. Res., 57: 559-563 (1997) to evaluate PAI-1 can be employed. Briefly, the ATCC cell lines DU145 and LNCaP are injected into SCID mice. After tumors are established, the mice are administered the test protein. Tumor volume measurements are taken twice a week for about five weeks. A binding protein can be deemed active in this assay if an animal to which the protein was administered exhibited decreased tumor volume and/or decreased metastatic spread of the tumor, as compared to animals receiving appropriate control compounds (e.g., antibody molecules specific to other proteins, particularly proteins unrelated to tumor growth and metastatic activity, or the formulation without the protein).

To evaluate the ability of a protein (e.g., an antibody described herein) to reduce the occurrence of, or inhibit, metastasis, the procedures described by Kobayashi et al., Int. J. Cane., 57: 727-733d (1994) can be employed. Briefly, a murine xenograft selected for high lung colonization protential in injected into C57B1/6 mice i.v. (experimental metastasis) or s.c. into the abdominal wall (spontaneous metastasis). Various concentrations of the compound to be tested can be admixed with the tumor cells in MATRIGEL.TM. basement membrane matrix prior to injection. Daily i.p. injections of the test compound are made either on days 1-6 or days 7-13 after tumer inoculation. The animals are sacrificed about three or four weeks after tumor Inoculation, and the lung tumor colonies are counted. Evaluation of the resulting data permits a determination as to efficacy of the test compound, optimal dosing and route of administration.

The activity of the proteins toward decreasing tumor volume and metastasis can be evaluated in model described in Rabbani et al., Int. J Cancer 63: 840-845 (1995). See also Xing et al., Canc. Res., 57: 3585-3593 (1997). There, Mat LyLu tumor cells were injected into the flank of Copenhagen rats. The animals were implanted with osmotic minipumps to continuously administer various doses of test compound for up to three weeks. The tumor mass and volume of experimental and control animals were evaluated during the experiment, as were metastatic growths. Evaluation of the resulting data permits a determination as to efficacy of the test compound, optimal dosing, and route of administration. Xing et al., Canc. Res., 57: 3585-3593 (1997) describes a related protocol.

A protein (e.g., an antibody described herein) can also be evaluated in culture or in an animal for ability to modulate inflammation or an inflammatory disorder. For example, US 20030161810 provides a non-human animal model for an inflammatory disorder (including rheumatoid arthritis), the animal includes human synovial fluid. US 20030176389 describes a dextran sodium sulfate-induced mouse model of colitis. In another example, cell culture is used to monitor adhesion of leukocytes. For example, a compound can be immobilized on a solid surface and adhesion of cells expressing an adhesion molecule can be evaluated for interaction with the surface. Cells suitable for this assay include any leukocytes, such as T cells, B cells, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Exemplary leukocyte cell lines include Jurkat and U937 cells.

In one embodiment, a protein (e.g., an antibody described herein) has a statistically significant effect in an assay described herein.

Secondary Screening Methods

After selecting candidate display library members that bind to a target or any candidate MMP-26-binding protein, each candidate protein can be further analyzed, e.g., to further characterize its binding properties for the target. Each candidate display library member can be subjected to one or more secondary screening assays. The assay can be for a binding property, a catalytic property, a physiological property (e.g., cytotoxicity, renal clearance, immunogenicity), a structural property (e.g., stability, conformation, oligomerization state) or another functional property. The same assay can be used repeatedly, but with varying conditions, e.g., to determine pH, ionic, or thermal sensitivities.

As appropriate, the assays can use the display library member directly, a recombinant polypeptide produced from the nucleic acid encoding a displayed polypeptide, a synthetic peptide synthesized based on the sequence of a displayed polypeptide. In the case of a candidate MMP-26 binding protein from any source, the protein can be obtained, e.g., from such a source or by recombinant production. Exemplary assays for binding properties include the following.

ELISA. Proteins encoded by a display library can also be screened for a binding property using an ELISA assay. For example, each protein is contacted to a microtitre plate whose bottom surface has been coated with the target, e.g., a limiting amount of the target. The plate is washed with buffer to remove non-specifically bound polypeptides. Then the amount of the protein bound to the plate is determined by probing the plate with an antibody that can recognize the polypeptide, e.g., a tag or constant portion of the polypeptide. The antibody is linked to an enzyme such as alkaline phosphatase, which produces a colorimetric product when appropriate substrates are provided. The protein can be purified from cells or assayed in a display library format, e.g., as a fusion to a filamentous bacteriophage coat. Alternatively, cells (e.g., live or fixed) that express the target molecule, e.g., MMP-26, can be plated in a microtitre plate and used to test the affinity of the peptides/antibodies present in the display library or obtained by selection from the display library.

In another version of the ELISA assay, each polypeptide of a diversity strand library is used to coat a different well of a microtitre plate. The ELISA then proceeds using a constant target molecule to query each well.

Homogeneous Binding Assays. The binding interaction of candidate protein with a target can be analyzed using a homogenous assay, i.e., after all components of the assay are added, additional fluid manipulations are not required. For example, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) can be used as a homogenous assay (see, for example, Lakowicz et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,631,169; Stavrianopoulos, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,868,103). A fluorophore label on the first molecule (e.g., the molecule identified in the fraction) is selected such that its emitted fluorescent energy can be absorbed by a fluorescent label on a second molecule (e.g., the target) if the second molecule is in proximity to the first molecule. The fluorescent label on the second molecule fluoresces when it absorbs to the transferred energy. Since the efficiency of energy transfer between the labels is related to the distance separating the molecules, the spatial relationship between the molecules can be assessed. In a situation in which binding occurs between the molecules, the fluorescent emission of the `acceptor` molecule label in the assay should be maximal. A binding event that is configured for monitoring by FRET can be conveniently measured through standard fluorometric detection means well known in the art (e.g., using a fluorimeter). By titrating the amount of the first or second binding molecule, a binding curve can be generated to estimate the equilibrium binding constant.

Another example of a homogenous assay is Alpha Screen (Packard Bioscience, Meriden Conn.). Alpha Screen uses two labeled beads. One bead generates singlet oxygen when excited by a laser. The other bead generates a light signal when singlet oxygen diffuses from the first bead and collides with it. The signal is only generated when the two beads are in proximity. One bead can be attached to the display library member, the other to the target. Signals are measured to determine the extent of binding.

The homogenous assays can be performed while the candidate protein is attached to the display library vehicle, e.g., a bacteriophage or using a candidate protein as free molecule.

Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). The binding interaction of a molecule isolated from a display library and a target can be analyzed using SPR. SPR or Biomolecular Interaction Analysis (BIA) detects biospecific interactions in real time, without labeling any of the interactants. Changes in the mass at the binding surface (indicative of a binding event) of the BIA chip result in alterations of the refractive index of light near the surface (the optical phenomenon of surface plasmon resonance (SPR)). The changes in the refractivity generate a detectable signal, which are measured as an indication of real-time reactions between biological molecules. Methods for using SPR are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,641,640; Raether (1988) Surface Plasmons Springer Verlag; Sjolander and Urbaniczky (1991) Anal. Chem. 63:2338-2345; Szabo et al. (1995) Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 5:699-705 and on-line resources provide by BIAcore International AB (Uppsala, Sweden).

Information from SPR can be used to provide an accurate and quantitative measure of the equilibrium dissociation constant (K.sub.d), and kinetic parameters, including K.sub.on and K.sub.off, for the binding of a biomolecule to a target. Such data can be used to compare different biomolecules. For example, proteins encoded by nucleic acid selected from a library of diversity strands can be compared to identify individuals that have high affinity for the target or that have a slow K.sub.off. This information can also be used to develop structure-activity relationships (SAR). For example, the kinetic and equilibrium binding parameters of matured versions of a parent protein can be compared to the parameters of the parent protein. Variant amino acids at given positions can be identified that correlate with particular binding parameters, e.g., high affinity and slow K.sub.off. This information can be combined with structural modeling (e.g., using homology modeling, energy minimization, or structure determination by crystallography or NMR). As a result, an understanding of the physical interaction between the protein and its target can be formulated and used to guide other design processes.

Protein Arrays. Polypeptides identified from the display library can be immobilized on a solid support, for example, on a bead or an array. For a protein array, each of the polypeptides is immobilized at a unique address on a support. Typically, the address is a two-dimensional address. Protein arrays are described below (see, e.g., Diagnostics).

Cellular Assays. Candidate polypeptides can be selected from a library by transforming the library into a host cell; the library could have been previousy identified from a display library. For example, the library can include vector nucleic acid sequences that include segments that encode the polypeptides and that direct expression, e.g., such that the polypeptides are produced within the cell, secreted from the cell, or attached to the cell surface. The cells be screened or selected for polypeptides that bind to the MMP-26, e.g., as dectected by a change in a cellular phenotype or a cell-mediated activity. For exmple, in the case of an antibody that binds to MMP-26, the activity may be an in vitro assay for cell invasion. In one embodiment, the antibody is contacted to an invasive mammalian cell, e.g., a carcinoma cell e.g., JEG-3 (choriocarcinoma) cell. The ability of the cell to invade a matrix is evaluated. The matrix can be an artificial matrix e.g., MATRIGEL.TM. basement membrane matrix, gelatin, etc., or a natural matrix, e.g., extracellular matrix of a tissue sample., or a combination thereof. For example, the matrix can be produced in vitro by a layer of cells.

Protein Production

Standard recombinant nucleic acid methods can be used to express a MMP-26 binding protein. See, for example, the techniques described in Sambrook & Russell, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 3.sup.rd Edition, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, N.Y. (2001) and Ausubel et al., Current Protocols in Molecular Biology (Greene Publishing Associates and Wiley Interscience, N.Y. (1989). Generally, a nucleic acid sequence encoding the protein of interest is cloned into a nucleic acid expression vector. If the protein includes multiple polypeptide chains, each chain can be cloned into an expression vector, e.g., the same or different vectors, that are expressed in the same or different cells. Methods for producing antibodies also are provided below.

The expression vector for expressing the protein can include, in addition to the segment encoding the protein or fragment thereof, regulatory sequences, including for example, a promoter, operably linked to the nucleic acid(s) of interest. Vectors are typically tailored for the intended expression system. Large numbers of suitable vectors and promoters are known to those of skill in the art and are commercially available for generating the recombinant constructs.

Methods well known to those skilled in the art can be used to construct vectors containing a polynucleotide encoding a ligand and appropriate regulatory signals (e.g., transcriptional/translational control signals). These methods include in vitro recombinant DNA techniques, synthetic techniques and in vivo recombination/genetic recombination. See, for example, the techniques described in Sambrook & Russell, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 3.sup.rd Edition, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, N.Y. (2001) and Ausubel et al., Current Protocols in Molecular Biology (Greene Publishing Associates and Wiley Interscience, N.Y. (1989). Promoter regions can be selected from any desired gene using CAT (chloramphenicol transferase) vectors or other vectors with selectable markers.

Generally, recombinant expression vectors will include origins of replication and selectable markers permitting transformation of the host cell, e.g., an antibiotic resistance gene for a bacterial cell, and a promoter derived from a highly expressed gene to direct transcription of a downstream structural sequence. The polynucleotide is assembled in appropriate phase with translation initiation and termination sequences, and preferably, a leader sequence capable of directing secretion of translated protein into the periplasmic space or extracellular medium. Optionally, the polynucleotide can encode a fusion protein including an identification sequence (e.g., a terminus, e.g., N- or C-terminal) imparting desired characteristics, e.g., stabilization or simplified purification of expressed recombinant product.

Prokaryotic Expression. Useful expression vectors for bacteria are constructed by inserting a polynucleotide encoding a ligand together with suitable translation initiation and termination signals, optionally in operable reading phase with a functional promoter. The vector can include one or more phenotypic selectable markers and an origin of replication to ensure maintenance of the vector and to, if desirable, provide amplification within the host. Suitable prokaryotic hosts for transformation include, e.g., E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella typhimurium and various species within the genera Pseudomonas, Streptomyces, and Staphylococcus, although others may also be employed as a matter of choice.

As a representative but nonlimiting example, useful expression vectors for bacteria can include a selectable marker (e.g., an antibiotic resistance gene) and bacterial origin of replication derived from commercially available plasmids including genetic elements of the well known cloning vector pBR322 (ATCC 37017). Exemplary prokaryotic vectors include, for example, pKK223-3 (Pharmacia Fine Chemicals, Uppsala, Sweden) and pGEM1 (Promega, Madison, Wis., USA), pBS, phagescript, PsiX174, pBluescript SK, pBs KS, pNH8a, pNH16a, pNH18a, pNH46a (Stratagene); pTrc99A, pKK223-3, pKK233-3, pDR540, and pRIT5 (Pharmacia), as well as phage and phagemid vectors. Exemplary bacterial promoters include lacI, lacZ, T3, T7, gpt, lambda P, and trc. Vectors can be introduced into bacterial cells, e.g., by chemical transformation (e.g., the Hanahan protocol), electroporation, or bacteriophage infection.

If the protein is made in bacteria (or some yeast), it may be necessary to modify the protein produced therein, for example, by glycosylation of the appropriate sites, in order to obtain the functional protein. Such covalent attachments may be accomplished using known chemical or enzymatic methods.

It also is possible to produce host cells containing a vector that can express a ligand that binds to MMP-26. The vector can be introduced into the host cell, e.g., using known transformation, transfection or infection methods. For example, the host cells can include members of a library constructed from the diversity strand. The host cell can be a eukaryotic host cell, such as a mammalian cell, a lower eukaryotic host cell, such as a yeast cell, or the host cell can be a prokaryotic cell, such as a bacterial cell.

Yeast Expression Systems. The host cell for producing a protein ligand (e.g., antibody) also may be a yeast (e.g., Pichia, Hanseula, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Kluyveromyces strains, or Candida) or other fungus. In yeast, a number of vectors containing constitutive or inducible promoters may be used. Exemplary yeast promoters include the promoters of genes encoding glycolytic enzymes such as 3-phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK), a-factor, acid phosphatase, and heat shock proteins, the PHO5 promoter, and GAL promoter, among others. A yeast vector can include a selectable marker, e.g., a drug resistance gene, or an auxotrophic marker (such as the URA3, LEU2, HIS3, and TRPl genes). It is possible to maintain yeast vectors as extrachromosomal elements in high or low copy and to integrate the vectors into yeast chromosomes (e.g., endogenous or artificial).

For a review of yeast expression systems, see, e.g., Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, Vol. 2, Ed. Ausubel et al., Greene Publish. Assoc. & Wiley Interscience, Ch. 13 (1988); Grant et al., Expression and Secretion Vectors for Yeast, in Methods in Enzymology, Ed. Wu & Grossman, Acad. Press, N.Y. 153:516-544 (1987); Glover, DNA Cloning, Vol. II, IRL Press, Wash., D.C., Ch. 3 (1986); Bitter, Heterologous Gene Expression in Yeast, in Methods in Enzymology, Eds. Berger & Kimmel, Acad. Press, N.Y. 152:673-684 (1987); Powers et al. (2001) J Immunol Methods. 251:123-35; and The Molecular Biology of the Yeast Saccharomyces, Eds. Strathem et al., Cold Spring Harbor Press, Vols. I and 11 (1982).

Mammalian Expression. Various mammalian cell culture systems can also be employed to express a protein ligand, e.g., an antibody. Examples of mammalian expression systems include the COS-7 lines of monkey kidney fibroblasts (described by Gluzman, Cell 23:175 (1981)), the C127, 3T3, CHO, HeLa and BHK cell lines. Mammalian host cells include, for example, monkey COS cells, Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells, human embryonic kidney 293 cells, human epidermal A431 cells, human Colo205 cells, 3T3 cells, CV-1 cells, other transformed primate cell lines, normal diploid cells, cell strains derived from in vitro culture of primary tissue, primary explants, HeLa cells, mouse L cells, BHK, HL-60, U937, HaK and Jurkat cells. Mammalian expression vectors can include an origin of replication, a suitable promoter and also any necessary ribosome-binding sites, polyadenylation site, splice donor and acceptor sites, transcriptional termination sequences, and 5' flanking nontranscribed sequences.

Exemplary eukaryotic vectors include: pWLneo, pSV2cat, pOG44, PXTI, pSG (Stratagene) pSVK3, pBPV, pMSG, and pSVL (Pharmacia). Exemplary eukaryotic promoters include CMV immediate early, HSV thymidine kinase, early and late SV40, LTRs from retrovirus, mouse metallothionein-I, and various art-known tissue specific promoters. In one example, DNA sequences derived from the SV40 viral genome, for example, SV40 origin, early promoter, enhancer, splice, and polyadenylation sites may be used to provide the required non-transcribed genetic elements. Introduction of the recombinant construct into a mammalian host cell can be effected, for example, by calcium phosphate transfection, DEAE, dextran mediated transfection, electroporation (Davis, L. et al., Basic Methods in Molecular Biology (1986)), or viral infection.

In another embodiment, cells and tissues may be engineered to express an endogenous gene that encodes a protein ligand described herein or a protein target. The method includes using homologous recombination to replace regulatory sequences of the endogenous gene with heterologous regulatory sequences, e.g., inducible regulatory elements. Such regulatory sequences may include promoters, enhancers, scaffold-attachment regions, negative regulatory elements, transcriptional initiation sites, regulatory protein binding sites or combinations of said sequences. Alternatively, sequences which affect the structure or stability of the RNA or protein produced may be replaced, removed, added, or otherwise modified by targeting, including polyadenylation signals. Messenger RNA stability elements, splice sites, leader sequences for enhancing or modifying transport or secretion properties of the protein, or other sequences which alter or improve the function or stability of protein or RNA molecules.

Purification. Protein ligands can be purified from cells or from media surrounding cells. Cells expressing the proteins can be disrupted by any convenient method, including freeze-thaw cycling, sonication, mechanical disruption, or use of cell lysing agents. Recombinant polypeptides and proteins produced in culture are usually isolated by initial extraction from cell pellets, followed by one or more salting-out, aqueous ion exchange or size exclusion chromatography steps. In some embodiments, the protein also includes a polypeptide tag, e.g., penta- or hexa-histidine. The recombinant polypeptides can then be purified using affinity chromatography. Scopes (1994) Protein Purification: Principles and Practice, New York: Springer-Verlag provides a number of general methods for purifying recombinant (and non-recombinant) proteins. The methods include, e.g., ion-exchange chromatography, size-exclusion chromatography, affinity chromatography, selective precipitation, dialysis, and hydrophobic interaction chromatography. These methods can be adapted for devising a purification strategy for the MMP-26-binding protein. For ligands that include an Fc domain, one type of affinity chromatography uses immobilized protein A or protein G.

Antibody Production. Some antibodies, e.g., Fabs, can be produced in bacterial cells, e.g., E. coli cells. For example, if the Fab is encoded by sequences in a phage display vector that includes a suppressible stop codon between the display entity and a bacteriophage protein (or fragment thereof), the vector nucleic acid can be shuffled into a bacterial cell that cannot suppress a stop codon. In this case, the Fab is not fused to the gene III protein and is secreted into the media.

Antibodies can also be produced in eukaryotic cells. In one embodiment, the antibodies (e.g., scFv's) are expressed in a yeast cell such as Pichia (see, e.g., Powers et al. (2001) J Immunol Methods. 251:123-35), Hanseula, or Saccharomyces.

In one embodiment, antibodies are produced in mammalian cells. Preferred mammalian host cells for expressing the clone antibodies or antigen-binding fragments thereof include Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO cells) (including dhfr-CHO cells, described in Urlaub and Chasin (1980) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77:4216-4220, used with a DHFR selectable marker, e.g., as described in Kaufman and Sharp (1982) Mol. Biol. 159:601-621), lymphocytic cell lines, e.g., NSO myeloma cells and SP2 cells, COS cells, and a cell from a transgenic animal, e.g., a transgenic mammal. For example, the cell is a mammary epithelial cell.

In addition to the nucleic acid sequence encoding the immunoglobulin domain, the recombinant expression vectors may carry additional sequences, such as sequences that regulate replication of the vector in host cells (e.g., origins of replication) and selectable marker genes. The selectable marker gene facilitates selection of host cells into which the vector has been introduced (see e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,399,216, 4,634,665 and 5,179,017). For example, typically the selectable marker gene confers resistance to drugs, such as G418, hygromycin or methotrexate, on a host cell into which the vector has been introduced. Preferred selectable marker genes include the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) gene (for use in dhfr-host cells with methotrexate selection/amplification) and the neo gene (for G418 selection).

In an exemplary system for recombinant expression of an antibody (e.g., a full length antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof), a recombinant expression vector encoding both the antibody heavy chain and the antibody light chain is introduced into dhfr-CHO cells by calcium phosphate-mediated transfection. Within the recombinant expression vector, the antibody heavy and light chain genes are each operatively linked to enhancer/promoter regulatory elements (e.g., derived from SV40, CMV, adenovirus and the like, such as a CMV enhancer/AdMLP promoter regulatory element or an SV40 enhancer/AdMLP promoter regulatory element) to drive high levels of transcription of the genes. The recombinant expression vector also carries a DHFR gene, which allows for selection of CHO cells that have been transfected with the vector using methotrexate selection/amplification. The selected transformant host cells are cultured to allow for expression of the antibody heavy and light chains and intact antibody is recovered from the culture medium. Standard molecular biology techniques are used to prepare the recombinant expression vector, transfect the host cells, select for transformants, culture the host cells and recover the antibody from the culture medium. For example, some antibodies can be isolated by affinity chromatography with a Protein A or Protein G.

For antibodies that include an Fc domain, the antibody production system preferably synthesizes antibodies in which the Fc region is glycosylated. For example, the Fc domain of IgG molecules is glycosylated at asparagine 297 in the CH2 domain. This asparagine is the site for modification with biantennary-type oligosaccharides. It has been demonstrated that this glycosylation is required for effector functions mediated by Fcy receptors and complement Clq (Burton and Woof (1992) Adv. Immunol. 51:1-84; Jefferis et al. (1998) Immunol. Rev. 163:59-76). In a preferred embodiment, the Fc domain is produced in a mammalian expression system that appropriately glycosylates the residue corresponding to asparagine 297. The Fc domain can also include other eukaryotic post-translational modifications.

Antibodies also can be produced by a transgenic animal. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,849,992 describes a method of expressing an antibody in the mammary gland of a transgenic mammal. A transgene is constructed that includes a milk-specific promoter and nucleic acids encoding the antibody of interest and a signal sequence for secretion. The milk produced by females of such transgenic mammals includes, secreted-therein, the antibody of interest. The antibody can be purified from the milk, or for some applications, used directly.

It also is possible to produce antibodies that bind to MMP-26 by immunization, e.g., using an animal, e.g., with natural, human, or partially human immunoglobulin loci. Non-human antibodies also can be modified to include substitutions for human immunoglobulin sequences, e.g., consensus human amino acid residues at particular positions, e.g., at one or more of the following positions (preferably at least five, ten, twelve, or all): (in the FR of the variable domain of the light chain) 4L, 35L, 36L, 38L, 43L, 44L, 58L, 46L, 62L, 63L, 64L, 65L, 66L, 67L, 68L, 69L, 70L, 71L, 73L, 85L, 87L, 98L, and/or (in the FR of the variable domain of the heavy chain) 2H, 4H, 24H, 36H, 37H, 39H, 43H, 45H, 49H, 58H, 60H, 67H, 68H, 69H, 70H, 73H, 74H, 75H, 78H, 91H, 92H, 93H, and/or 103H (according to the Kabat numbering). See, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,407,213.

MMP-26 production. Method for producing a MMP-26 protein or a catalytic domain thereof are known in the art. See, e.g., the example below and Park, et al. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 20540-20544.

Biotinylation Methods. A variety of methods are available to biotinylate proteins, e.g., an immunoglobulin protein or a target protein. For example, the protein can be incubated with a 5-fold molar excess of sulfo-NHS-SS-biotin in 50 mM HEPES, pH 8.0, 100 mM NaCl overnight at 4.degree. C. Free biotin is removed by buffer exchange into PBS, 0.01% Tween 20, e.g., using a Biomax device with a 10 kDa molecular weight cut-off membrane or by dialysis. The number of biotin molecules incorporated per mole of protein can be determined using the HABA assay as described by the manufacturer (Pierce).

Pharmaceutical Compositions

In another aspect, the invention provides compositions, e.g., pharmaceutically acceptable compositions, which include an MMP-26-binding protein, e.g., an antibody molecule, other polypeptide or peptide identified as binding to MMP-26, or described herein, formulated together with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. As used herein, "pharmaceutical compositions" encompass labeled ligands (e.g., for in vivo imaging) as well as therapeutic compositions.

As used herein, "pharmaceutically acceptable carrier" includes any and all solvents, dispersion media, coatings, antibacterial and antifungal agents, isotonic and absorption delaying agents, and the like that are physiologically compatible. Preferably, the carrier is suitable for intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, parenteral, spinal or epidermal administration (e.g., by injection or infusion). Depending on the route of administration, the active compound, i.e., protein ligand may be coated in a material to protect the compound from the action of acids and other natural conditions that may inactivate the compound.

A "pharmaceutically acceptable salt" refers to a salt that retains the desired biological activity of the parent compound and does not impart any undesired toxicological effects (see e.g., Berge, S. M., et al. (1977) J. Pharm. Sci. 66:1-19). Examples of such salts include acid addition salts and base addition salts. Acid addition salts include those derived from nontoxic inorganic acids, such as hydrochloric, nitric, phosphoric, sulfuric, hydrobromic, hydroiodic, phosphorous and the like, as well as from nontoxic organic acids such as aliphatic mono- and dicarboxylic acids, phenyl-substituted alkanoic acids, hydroxy alkanoic acids, aromatic acids, aliphatic and aromatic sulfonic acids and the like. Base addition salts include those derived from alkaline earth metals, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and the like, as well as from nontoxic organic amines, such as N,N'-dibenzylethylenediamine, N-methylglucamine, chloroprocaine, choline, diethanolamine, ethylenediamine, procaine and the like.

The compositions of this invention may be in a variety of forms. These include, for example, liquid, semi-solid and solid dosage forms, such as liquid solutions (e.g., injectable and infusible solutions), dispersions or suspensions, tablets, pills, powders, liposomes and suppositories. The preferred form depends on the intended mode of administration and therapeutic application. Typical preferred compositions are in the form of injectable or infusible solutions, such as compositions similar to those used for administration of humans with antibodies. The preferred mode of administration is parenteral (e.g., intravenous, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, intramuscular). In a preferred embodiment, the MMP-26-binding protein is administered by intravenous infusion or injection. In another preferred embodiment, the MMP-26-binding protein is administered by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection.

The phrases "parenteral administration" and "administered parenterally" as used herein means modes of administration other than enteral and topical administration, usually by injection, and includes, without limitation, intravenous, intramuscular, intraarterial, intrathecal, intracapsular, intraorbital, intracardiac, intradermal, intraperitoneal, transtracheal, subcutaneous, subcuticular, intraarticular, subcapsular, subarachnoid, intraspinal, epidural and intrasternal injection and infusion.

Pharmaceutical compositions typically are sterile and stable under the conditions of manufacture and storage. A pharmaceutical composition can also be tested to insure it meets regulatory and industry standards for administration. For example, endotoxin levels in the preparation can be tested using the Limulus amebocyte lysate assay (e.g., using the kit from Bio Whittaker lot # 7L3790, sensitivity 0.125 EU/mL) according to the USP 24/NF 19 methods. Sterility of pharmaceutical compositions can be determined using thioglycollate medium according to the USP 24/NF 19 methods. For example, the preparation is used to inoculate the thioglycollate medium and incubated at 35.degree. C. for 14 or more days. The medium is inspected periodically to detect growth of a microorganism.

The composition can be formulated as a solution, microemulsion, dispersion, liposome, or other ordered structure suitable to high drug concentration. Sterile injectable solutions can be prepared by incorporating the active compound (i.e., the ligand) in the required amount in an appropriate solvent with one or a combination of ingredients enumerated above, as required, followed by filtered sterilization. Generally, dispersions are prepared by incorporating the active compound into a sterile vehicle that contains a basic dispersion medium and the required other ingredients from those enumerated above. In the case of sterile powders for the preparation of sterile injectable solutions, the preferred methods of preparation are vacuum drying and freeze-drying that yields a powder of the active ingredient plus any additional desired ingredient from a previously sterile-filtered solution thereof. The proper fluidity of a solution can be maintained, for example, by the use of a coating such as lecithin, by the maintenance of the required particle size in the case of dispersion and by the use of surfactants. Prolonged absorption of injectable compositions can be brought about by including in the composition an agent that delays absorption, for example, monostearate salts and gelatin.

An MMP-26-binding protein can be administered by a variety of methods known in the art. For many applications, the route/mode of administration is intravenous injection or infusion. For example, for therapeutic applications, the MMP-26-binding protein can be administered by intravenous infusion at a rate of less than 30, 20, 10, 5, or 1 mg/min to reach a dose of about 1 to 100 mg/m.sup.2 or 7 to 25 mg/m.sup.2. The route and/or mode of administration will vary depending upon the desired results. In certain embodiments, the active compound may be prepared with a carrier that will protect the compound against rapid release, such as a controlled release formulation, including implants, and microencapsulated delivery systems. Biodegradable, biocompatible polymers can be used, such as ethylene vinyl acetate, polyanhydrides, polyglycolic acid, collagen, polyorthoesters, and polylactic acid. Many methods for the preparation of such formulations are patented or generally known. See, e.g., Sustained and Controlled Release Drug Delivery Systems, J. R. Robinson, ed., Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1978.

In certain embodiments, the ligand may be orally administered, for example, with an inert diluent or an assimilable edible carrier. The compound (and other ingredients, if desired) also may be enclosed in a hard or soft shell gelatin capsule, compressed into tablets, or incorporated directly into the subject's diet. For oral therapeutic administration, the compounds may be incorporated with excipients and used in the form of ingestible tablets, buccal tablets, troches, capsules, elixirs, suspensions, syrups, wafers, and the like. To administer a compound described herein by other than parenteral administration, it may be necessary to coat the compound with, or co-administer the compound with, a material to prevent its inactivation.

Pharmaceutical compositions can be administered with medical devices known in the art. For example, in a preferred embodiment, a pharmaceutical composition described herein can be administered with a needle-less hypodermic injection device, such as the devices disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,399,163, 5,383,851, 5,312,335, 5,064,413, 4,941,880, 4,790,824, or 4,596,556. Examples of well-known implants and modules useful in the invention include: U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,603, which discloses an implantable micro-infusion pump for dispensing medication at a controlled rate; U.S. Pat. No. 4,486,194, which discloses a therapeutic device for administering medicants through the skin; U.S. Pat. No. 4,447,233, which discloses a medication infusion pump for delivering medication at a precise infusion rate; U.S. Pat. No. 4,447,224, which discloses a variable flow implantable infusion apparatus for continuous drug delivery; U.S. Pat. No. 4,439,196, which discloses an osmotic drug delivery system having multi-chamber compartments; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,475,196, which discloses an osmotic drug delivery system. Of course, many other such implants, delivery systems, and modules also are known.

In certain embodiments, the compounds described herein can be formulated to ensure proper distribution in vivo. For example, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) excludes many highly hydrophilic compounds. To ensure that a therapeutic can cross the BBB (if desired), it can be formulated, for example, in a liposome. For methods of manufacturing liposomes, see, e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,522,811; 5,374,548; and 5,399,331. The liposomes may include one or more moieties which are selectively transported into specific cells or organs, thus enhance targeted drug delivery (see, e.g., V. V. Ranade (1989) J. Clin. Pharmacol. 29:685).

Dosage regimens are adjusted to provide the optimum desired response (e.g., a therapeutic response). For example, a single bolus may be administered, several divided doses may be administered over time or the dose may be proportionally reduced or increased as indicated by the exigencies of the therapeutic situation. It is especially advantageous to formulate parenteral compositions in dosage unit form for ease of administration and uniformity of dosage. Dosage unit form as used herein refers to physically discrete units suited as unitary dosages for the subjects to be treated; each unit contains a predetermined quantity of active compound calculated to produce the desired therapeutic effect in association with the required pharmaceutical carrier. The specification for the dosage unit forms can be dictated by and directly dependent on (a) the unique characteristics of the active compound and the particular therapeutic effect to be achieved, and (b) the limitations inherent in compounding such an active compound for the treatment of sensitivity in individuals.

An exemplary, non-limiting range for a therapeutically or prophylactically effective amount of an antibody described herein is 0.1-20 mg/kg, more preferably 1-10 mg/kg. The MMP-26-binding antibody can be administered by intravenous infusion at a rate of less than 30, 20, 10, 5, or 1 mg/min to reach a dose of about 1 to 100 mg/m.sup.2 or about 5 to 30 mg/m.sup.2. For ligands smaller in molecular weight than an antibody, appropriate amounts can be proportionally less. It is to be noted that dosage values may vary with the type and severity of the condition to be alleviated. It is to be further understood that for any particular subject, specific dosage regimens should be adjusted over time according to the individual need and the professional judgment of the person administering or supervising the administration of the compositions, and that dosage ranges set forth herein are exemplary only and are not intended to limit.

A pharmaceutical composition may include a "therapeutically effective amount" or a "prophylactically effective amount" of an MMP-26-binding protein, e.g., a protein described herein. A "therapeutically effective amount" refers to an amount effective, at dosages and for periods of time necessary, to achieve the desired therapeutic result. A therapeutically effective amount of the composition may vary according to factors such as the disease state, age, sex, and weight of the individual, and the ability of the protein to elicit a desired response in the individual. A therapeutically effective amount is also one in which any toxic or detrimental effects of the composition are outweighed by the therapeutically beneficial effects. A "therapeutically effective dosage" preferably inhibits a measurable parameter, e.g., inflammation or tumor growth rate by at least about 20%, more preferably by at least about 40%, even more preferably by at least about 60%, and still more preferably by at least about 80% relative to untreated subjects. The ability of a compound to inhibit a measurable parameter, e.g., cancer, can be evaluated in an animal model system predictive of efficacy in human tumors. Alternatively, this property of a composition can be evaluated by examining the ability of the compound to inhibit, such inhibition in vitro by assays known to the skilled practitioner.

A "prophylactically effective amount" refers to an amount effective, at dosages and for periods of time necessary, to achieve the desired prophylactic result. Typically, since a prophylactic dose is used in subjects prior to or at an earlier stage of disease, the prophylactically effective amount will be less than the therapeutically effective amount.

Also within the scope of the invention are kits including the protein ligand that binds to MMP-26 and instructions for use, e.g., treatment, prophylactic, or diagnostic use. In one embodiment, the instructions for diagnostic applications include the use of the MMP-26-binding protein (e.g., antibody or antigen-binding fragment thereof, or other polypeptide or peptide) to detect MMP-26, in vitro, e.g., in a sample, e.g., a biopsy or cells from a patient having an inflammatory disorder or a cancer or neoplastic disorder, or in vivo. In another embodiment, the instructions for therapeutic applications include suggested dosages and/or modes of administration in a patient with a cancer or neoplastic disorder. The kit can further contain a least one additional reagent, such as a diagnostic or therapeutic agent, e.g., a diagnostic or therapeutic agent as described herein, and/or one or more additional MMP-26-binding proteins, formulated as appropriate, in one or more separate pharmaceutical preparations.

Stabilization and Retention

In one embodiment, an MMP-26-binding protein (e.g., a MMP-26-binding antibody described herein) is physically associated with a moiety that improves its stabilization and/or retention in circulation, e.g., in blood, serum, lymph, or other tissues.

For example, a MMP-26-binding protein can be associated with a polymer, e.g., a substantially non-antigenic polymers, such as polyalkylene oxides or polyethylene oxides. Suitable polymers will vary substantially by weight. Polymers having molecular number average weights ranging from about 200 to about 50,000, e.g., 1,000 to 15,000, 2,000 to 12,500, or 10,000 to about 30,000 are usually selected for the purposes of the present invention.

For example, an MMP-26-binding protein can be conjugated to a water soluble polymer, e.g., hydrophilic polyvinyl polymers, e.g. polyvinylalcohol and polyvinylpyrrolidone. A non-limiting list of such polymers include polyalkylene oxide homopolymers such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polypropylene glycols, polyoxyethylenated polyols, copolymers thereof and block copolymers thereof, provided that the water solubility of the block copolymers is maintained. Additional useful polymers include polyoxyalkylenes such as polyoxyethylene, polyoxypropylene, and block copolymers of polyoxyethylene and polyoxypropylene (Pluronics); polymethacrylates; carbomers; branched or unbranched polysaccharides which comprise the saccharide monomers D-mannose, D- and L-galactose, fucose, fructose, D-xylose, L-arabinose, D-glucuronic acid, sialic acid, D-galacturonic acid, D-mannuronic acid (e.g. polymannuronic acid, or alginic acid), D-glucosamine, D-galactosamine, D-glucose and neuraminic acid including homopolysaccharides and heteropolysaccharides such as lactose, amylopectin, starch, hydroxyethyl starch, amylose, dextrane sulfate, dextran, dextrins, glycogen, or the polysaccharide subunit of acid mucopolysaccharides, e.g. hyaluronic acid; polymers of sugar alcohols such as polysorbitol and polymannitol; heparin or heparon.

Other compounds can also be attached to the same polymer, e.g., a cytotoxin, a label, or another targeting agent, e.g., another MMP-26-binding protein or an unrelated ligand. Mono-activated, alkoxy-terminated polyalkylene oxides (PAO's), e.g., monomethoxy-terminated polyethylene glycols (mPEG's); C.sub.1-4 alkyl-terminated polymers; and bis-activated polyethylene oxides (glycols) can be used for crosslinking. See, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,951,974

In one embodiment, the polymer prior to cross-linking need not be, but preferably is, water soluble. Generally, after crosslinking, the product is water soluble, e.g., exhibits a water solubility of at least about 0.01 mg/ml, and more preferably at least about 0.1 mg/ml, and still more preferably at least about 1 mg/ml. In addition, the polymer should not be highly immunogenic in the conjugate form, nor should it possess viscosity that is incompatible with intravenous infusion or injection if the conjugate is intended to be administered by such routes.

In one embodiment, the polymer contains only a single group which is reactive. This helps to avoid cross-linking of protein molecules. However, it is within the scope herein to maximize reaction conditions to reduce cross-linking, or to purify the reaction products through gel filtration or ion exchange chromatography to recover substantially homogenous derivatives. In other embodiments, the polymer contains two or more reactive groups for the purpose of linking multiple ligands to the polymer backbone. Again, gel filtration or ion exchange chromatography can be used to recover the desired derivative in substantially homogeneous form.

The molecular weight of the polymer can range up to about 500,000 D, and preferably is at least about 20,000 D, or at least about 30,000 D, or at least about 40,000 D. The molecular weight chosen can depend upon the effective size of the conjugate to be achieved, the nature (e.g. structure, such as linear or branched) of the polymer, and the degree of derivatization.

The covalent crosslink can be used to attach an MMP-26-binding protein to a polymer, for example, crosslinking to the N-terminal amino group and epsilon amino groups found on lysine residues, as well as other amino, imino, carboxyl, sulfhydryl, hydroxyl or other hydrophilic groups. The polymer may be covalently bonded directly to the MMP-26-binding protein without the use of a multifunctional (ordinarily bifunctional) crosslinking agent. Covalent binding to amino groups is accomplished by known chemistries based upon cyanuric chloride, carbonyl diimidazole, aldehyde reactive groups (PEG alkoxide plus diethyl acetal of bromoacetaldehyde; PEG plus DMSO and acetic anhydride, or PEG chloride plus the phenoxide of 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, activated succinimidyl esters, activated dithiocarbonate PEG, 2,4,5-trichlorophenylcloroformate or P-nitrophenylcloroformate activated PEG.) Carboxyl groups can be derivatized by coupling PEG-amine using carbodiimide. Sulfhydryl groups can be derivatized by coupling to maleimido-substituted PEG (e.g. alkoxy-PEG amine plus sulfosuccinimidyl 4-(N-maleimidomethyl)cyclohexane-1-carboxylate) WO 97/10847 or PEG-maleimide commercially available from Shearwater Polymers, Inc., Huntsville, Ala.). Alternatively, free amino groups on the ligand (e.g. epsilon amino groups on lysine residues) can be thiolated with 2-imino-thiolane (Traut's reagent) and then coupled to maleimide-containing derivatives of PEG, e.g., as described in Pedley et al., Br. J. Cancer, 70: 1126-1130 (1994).

Functionalized PEG polymers that can be attached to an MMP-26-binding protein are available, e.g., from Shearwater Polymers, Inc. (Huntsville, Ala.). Such commercially available PEG derivatives include, e.g., amino-PEG, PEG amino acid esters, PEG-hydrazide, PEG-thiol, PEG-succinate, carboxymethylated PEG, PEG-propionic acid, PEG amino acids, PEG succinimidyl succinate, PEG succinimidyl propionate, succinimidyl ester of carboxymethylated PEG, succinimidyl carbonate of PEG, succinimidyl esters of amino acid PEGs, PEG-oxycarbonylimidazole, PEG-nitrophenyl carbonate, PEG tresylate, PEG-glycidyl ether, PEG-aldehyde, PEG vinylsulfone, PEG-maleimide, PEG-orthopyridyl-disulfide, heterofunctional PEGs, PEG vinyl derivatives, PEG silanes, and PEG phospholides. The reaction conditions for coupling these PEG derivatives may vary depending on the MMP-26-binding protein, the desired degree of PEGylation, and the PEG derivative utilized. Some factors involved in the choice of PEG derivatives include: the desired point of attachment (such as lysine or cysteine R-groups), hydrolytic stability and reactivity of the derivatives, stability, toxicity and antigenicity of the linkage, suitability for analysis, etc. Specific instructions for the use of any particular derivative are available from the manufacturer.

The conjugates of an MMP-26-binding protein and a polymer can be separated from the unreacted starting materials, e.g., by gel filtration or ion exchange chromatography, e.g., HPLC. Heterologous species of the conjugates are purified from one another in the same fashion. Resolution of different species (e.g. containing one or two PEG residues) is also possible due to the difference in the ionic properties of the unreacted amino acids. See, e.g., WO 96/34015.

Treatments

Protein ligands that bind to MMP-26 (e.g., those described herein) have therapeutic and prophylactic utilities. For example, these ligands can be administered to cells in culture, e.g. in vitro or ex vivo, or in a subject, e.g., in vivo, to treat, prevent, and/or diagnose a variety of disorders, such as cancers, particularly metastatic cancers, an inflammatory disorder, and other disorders associated with increased MMP-26 activity, e.g., a disorder of the endometrium or placental.

As used herein, the term "treat" or "treatment" is defined as the application or administration of an MMP-26-binding antibody, alone or in combination with, a second agent to a subject, e.g., a patient, or application or administration of the agent to an isolated tissue or cell, e.g., cell line, from a subject, e.g., a patient, who has a disorder (e.g., a disorder as described herein), a symptom of a disorder or a predisposition toward a disorder, with the purpose to cure, heal, alleviate, relieve, alter, remedy, ameliorate, improve or affect the disorder, the symptoms of the disorder or the predisposition toward the disorder. Treating a cell refers to the inhibition of growth or activity, ablation, killing of a cell in vitro or in vivo, or otherwise reducing capacity of a cell, e.g., an aberrant cell, to mediate a disorder, e.g., a disorder as described herein (e.g., a cancerous disorder).

In one embodiment, "treating a cell" or "treating a tissue" refers to a reduction in the activity and/or proliferation of a cell, e.g., a hyperproliferative cell, or a tissue, e.g., a tumor. Such reduction includes a reduction, e.g., a statistically significant reduction, in the activity of a cell or tissue (e.g., metastatic tissue) or the number of the cell or size of the tissue. An example of a reduction in activity is a reduction in migration of the cell (e.g., migration through an extracellular matrix) or a reduction in cell differentiation. Another example is an activity that, directly or indirectly, reduces inflammation or an indicator of inflammation.

As used herein, an amount of an MMP-26-binding protein effective to treat a disorder, or a "therapeutically effective amount" refers to an amount of the ligand which is effective, upon single or multiple dose administration to a subject, in treating a cell, (e.g., a MMP-26-expressing cell or cancer cell, particularly a metastatic cell thereof), or in prolonging curing, alleviating, relieving or improving a subject with a disorder as described herein beyond that expected in the absence of such treatment. As used herein, "inhibiting the growth" of the neoplasm refers to slowing, interrupting, arresting or stopping its growth and metastases and does not necessarily indicate a total elimination of the neoplastic growth.

As used herein, an amount of an MMP-26-binding protein effective to prevent a disorder, or a "a prophylactically effective amount" of the ligand refers to an amount of an MMP-26-binding protein, e.g., an MMP-26-binding antibody described herein, which is effective, upon single- or multiple-dose administration to the subject, in preventing or delaying the occurrence of the onset or recurrence of a disorder, e.g., a metastatic disorder or a cancer.

The terms "induce", "inhibit", "potentiate", "elevate", "increase", "decrease" or the like, e.g., which denote quantitative differences between two states, refer to a difference, e.g., a statistically significant difference, between the two states. For example, "an amount effective to inhibit the proliferation of the MMP-26-expressing hyperproliferative cells" means that the rate of growth of the cells will be different, e.g., statistically significantly different, from the untreated cells.

Exemplary subjects include human and non-human animals. Preferred human animals include a human patient having a disorder characterized by abnormal cell proliferation or cell differentiation, or an inflammatory disorder, or other disorder described herein. Exemplary non-human animals include all vertebrates, e.g., non-mammals (such as chickens, amphibians, reptiles) and mammals, such as non-human primates, sheep, dog, cow, pig, etc.

In one embodiment, the subject is a human subject. Alternatively, the subject can be a mammal expressing a MMP-26-like antigen with which an antibody described herein cross-reacts. A protein ligand described herein can be administered to a human subject for therapeutic purposes (discussed further below). Moreover, an MMP-26-binding protein can be administered to a non-human mammal expressing the MMP-26-like antigen to which the ligand binds (e.g., a primate, pig or mouse) for veterinary purposes or as an animal model of human disease. Regarding the latter, such animal models may be useful for evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of the ligand (e.g., testing of dosages and time courses of administration).

In one embodiment, the invention provides a method of treating (e.g., ablating or killing) a cell (e.g., a non-cancerous cell, e.g., a normal, benign or hyperplastic cell, or a cancerous cell, e.g., a malignant cell, e.g., cell found in a solid tumor, a soft tissue tumor, or a metastatic lesion (e.g., a cell found in renal, urothelial, colonic, rectal, pulmonary, breast or hepatic, cancers and/or metastasis)). The method can include the steps of contacting the cell with an MMP-26-binding protein, e.g., an MMP-26-binding antibody described herein, in an amount sufficient to treat or prevent a disorder, e.g., a disorder caused by a cancerous cell, e.g., a metastatic cell.

The subject method can be used on cells in culture, e.g. in vitro or ex vivo. For example, cancerous or metastatic cells (e.g., renal, urothelial, colon, rectal, lung, breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostatic, or liver cancerous or metastatic cells) can be cultured in vitro in culture medium and the contacting step can be effected by adding the MMP-26-binding protein to the culture medium. The method can be performed on cells (e.g., cancerous or metastatic cells) present in a subject, as part of an in vivo (e.g., therapeutic or prophylactic) protocol. For in vivo embodiments, the contacting step is effected in a subject and includes administering the MMP-26-binding protein to the subject under conditions effective to permit both binding of the ligand to the cell and the treating, e.g., a disorder.

The method can be used to treat a cancer. As used herein, the terms "cancer", "hyperproliferative", "malignant", and "neoplastic" are used interchangeably, and refer to those cells an abnormal state or condition characterized by rapid proliferation or neoplasm. The terms include all types of cancerous growths or oncogenic processes, metastatic tissues or malignantly transformed cells, tissues, or organs, irrespective of histopathologic type or stage of invasiveness. "Pathologic hyperproliferative" cells occur in disease states characterized by malignant tumor growth.

The common medical meaning of the term "neoplasia" refers to "new cell growth" that results as a loss of responsiveness to normal growth controls, e.g. to neoplastic cell growth. A "hyperplasia" refers to cells undergoing an abnormally high rate of growth. However, as used herein, the terms neoplasia and hyperplasia can be used interchangeably, as their context will reveal, referring generally to cells experiencing abnormal cell growth rates. Neoplasias and hyperplasias include "tumors," which may be benign, premalignant or malignant.

Examples of cancerous disorders include, but are not limited to, solid tumors, soft tissue tumors, and metastatic lesions. Examples of solid tumors include malignancies, e.g., sarcomas, adenocarcinomas, and carcinomas, of the various organ systems, such as those affecting lung, breast, lymphoid, gastrointestinal (e.g., colon), and genitourinary tract (e.g., renal, urothelial cells), pharynx, prostate, ovary as well as adenocarcinomas which include malignancies such as most colon cancers, rectal cancer, renal-cell carcinoma, liver cancer, non-small cell carcinoma of the lung, cancer of the small intestine and so forth. Metastatic lesions of the aforementioned cancers also can be treated or prevented using a method or composition described herein.

The subject method can be useful in treating malignancies of the various organ systems, such as those affecting lung, breast, lymphoid, gastrointestinal (e.g., colon), and genitourinary tract, prostate, ovary, pharynx, as well as adenocarcinomas which include malignancies such as most colon cancers, renal-cell carcinoma, prostate cancer and/or testicular tumors, non-small cell carcinoma of the lung, cancer of the small intestine and cancer of the esophagus. Exemplary solid tumors that can be treated include: fibrosarcoma, myxosarcoma, liposarcoma, chondrosarcoma, osteogenic sarcoma, chordoma, angiosarcoma, endotheliosarcoma, lymphangiosarcoma, lymphangioendotheliosarcoma, synovioma, mesothelioma, Ewing's tumor, leiomyosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, colon carcinoma, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, sweat gland carcinoma, sebaceous gland carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, papillary adenocarcinomas, cystadenocarcinoma, medullary carcinoma, bronchogenic carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, hepatoma, bile duct carcinoma, choriocarcinoma, seminoma, embryonal carcinoma, Wilms' tumor, cervical cancer, testicular tumor, lung carcinoma, small cell lung carcinoma, non-small cell lung carcinoma, bladder carcinoma, ovarian carcinoma, endometrial carcinoma, breast carcinoma, choriocarcinoma, epithelial carcinoma, glioma, astrocytoma, medulloblastoma, craniopharyngioma, ependymoma, pinealoma, hemangioblastoma, acoustic neuroma, oligodendroglioma, meningioma, melanoma, neuroblastoma, and retinoblastoma.

The term "carcinoma" is recognized by those skilled in the art and refers to malignancies of epithelial or endocrine tissues including respiratory system carcinomas, gastrointestinal system carcinomas, genitourinary system carcinomas, testicular carcinomas, breast carcinomas, prostatic carcinomas, endocrine system carcinomas, and melanomas. Exemplary carcinomas include choriocarcinomas and those forming from tissue of the cervix, lung, prostate, breast, endometrium, head and neck, colon and ovary. The term also includes carcinosarcomas, e.g., which include malignant tumors composed of carcinomatous and sarcomatous tissues. An "adenocarcinoma" refers to a carcinoma derived from glandular tissue or in which the tumor cells form recognizable glandular structures.

The term "sarcoma" is recognized by those skilled in the art and refers to malignant tumors of mesenchymal derivation.

The subject method also can be used to inhibit the proliferation of hyperplastic/neoplastic cells of hematopoietic origin shown to express MMP-26, e.g., a B cells.

Methods of administering MMP-26-binding proteins are described in "Pharmaceutical Compositions". Suitable dosages of the molecules used will depend on the age and weight of the subject and the particular drug used. The ligands can be used as competitive agents to inhibit, reduce an undesirable interaction, e.g., between a natural or pathological agent and the MMP-26.

In one embodiment, the MMP-26-binding proteins are used to kill or ablate cancerous cells and normal, benign hyperplastic, and cancerous cells in vivo. The ligands can be used by themselves or conjugated to an agent, e.g., a cytotoxic drug, radioisotope. This method includes: administering the ligand alone or attached to a cytotoxic drug, to a subject requiring such treatment.

The terms "cytotoxic agent" and "cytostatic agent" and "anti-tumor agent" are used interchangeably herein and refer to agents that have the property of inhibiting the growth or proliferation (e.g., a cytostatic agent), or inducing the killing, of hyperproliferative cells, e.g., an aberrant cancer cell. In cancer therapeutic embodiment, the term "cytotoxic agent" is used interchangeably with the terms "anti-cancer" or "anti-tumor" to mean an agent, which inhibits the development or progression of a neoplasm, particularly a solid tumor, a soft tissue tumor, or a metastatic lesion.

Nonlimiting examples of anti-cancer agents include, e.g., antimicrotubule agents, topoisomerase inhibitors, antimetabolites, mitotic inhibitors, alkylating agents, intercalating agents, agents capable of interfering with a signal transduction pathway, agents that promote apoptosis, radiation, and antibodies against other tumor-associated antigens (including naked antibodies, immunotoxins and radioconjugates). Examples of the particular classes of anti-cancer agents are provided in detail as follows: antitubulin/antimicrotubule, e.g., paclitaxel, vincristine, vinblastine, vindesine, vinorelbin, taxotere; topoisomerase I inhibitors, e.g., topotecan, camptothecin, doxorubicin, etoposide, mitoxantrone, daunorubicin, idarubicin, teniposide, amsacrine, epirubicin, merbarone, piroxantrone hydrochloride; antimetabolites, e.g., 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), methotrexate, 6-mercaptopurine, 6-thioguanine, fludarabine phosphate, cytarabine/Ara-C, trimetrexate, gemcitabine, acivicin, alanosine, pyrazofurin, N-Phosphoracetyl-L-Asparate=PALA, pentostatin, 5-azacitidine, 5-Aza 2'-deoxycytidine, ara-A, cladribine, 5-fluorouridine, FUDR, tiazofurin, N-[5-[N-(3,4-dihydro-2-methyl-4-oxoquinazolin-6-ylmethyl)-N-methylamino]-- 2-thenoyl]-L-glutamic acid; alkylating agents, e.g., cisplatin, carboplatin, mitomycin C, BCNU=Carmustine, melphalan, thiotepa, busulfan, chlorambucil, plicamycin, dacarbazine, ifosfamide phosphate, cyclophosphamide, nitrogen mustard, uracil mustard, pipobroman, 4-ipomeanol; agents acting via other mechanisms of action, e.g., dihydrolenperone, spiromustine, and desipeptide; biological response modifiers, e.g., to enhance anti-tumor responses, such as interferon; apoptotic agents, such as actinomycin D; and anti-hormones, for example anti-estrogens such as tamoxifen or, for example antiandrogens such as 4'-cyano-3-(4-fluorophenylsulphonyl)-2-hydroxy-2-methyl-3'-(trifluorometh- yl) propionanilide.

Since the MMP-26-binding proteins recognize MMP-26-expressing cancer cells, e.g., cancerous lung, liver, colon, breast, endometrium, ovarian, epidermal, laryngeal, and cartilage cells, and particularly metastatic cells thereof, any such cells to which the ligands bind are destroyed. Alternatively, the ligands bind to cells in the vicinity of the cancerous cells and kill them, thus indirectly attacking the cancerous cells which may rely on surrounding cells for nutrients, growth signals and so forth. Thus, the MMP-26-binding proteins (e.g., modified with a cytotoxin) can selectively kill or ablate cells in cancerous tissue (including the cancerous cells themselves).

The ligands may be used to deliver a variety of cytotoxic drugs including therapeutic drugs, a compound emitting radiation, molecules of plants, fungal, or bacterial origin, biological proteins, and mixtures thereof. The cytotoxic drugs can be intracellularly acting cytotoxic drugs, such as short-range radiation emitters, including, for example, short-range, high-energy .alpha.-emitters, as described herein.

Enzymatically active toxins and fragments thereof are exemplified by diphtheria toxin A fragment, nonbinding active fragments of diphtheria toxin, exotoxin A (from Pseudomonas aeruginosa), ricin A chain, abrin A chain, modeccin A chain, .alpha.-sacrin, certain Aleurites fordii proteins, certain Dianthin proteins, Phytolacca americana proteins (PAP, PAPII and PAP-S), Morodica charantia inhibitor, curcin, crotin, Saponaria officinalis inhibitor, gelonin, mitogillin, restrictocin, phenomycin, and enomycin. Procedures for preparing enzymatically active polypeptides of the immunotoxins are described in W084/03508 and W085/03508, and in the appended Examples below. Examples of cytotoxic moieties that can be conjugated to the antibodies include adriamycin, chlorambucil, daunomycin, methotrexate, neocarzinostatin, and platinum.

In the case of polypeptide toxins, recombinant nucleic acid techniques can be used to construct a nucleic acid that encodes the ligand (or a protein component thereof) and the cytotoxin (or a protein component thereof) as translational fusions. The recombinant nucleic acid is then expressed, e.g., in cells and the encoded fusion polypeptide isolated.

Procedures for conjugating protein ligands (e.g., antibodies) with the cytotoxic agents have been previously described. Procedures for conjugating chlorambucil with antibodies are described by Flechner (1973) European Journal of Cancer, 9:741-745; Ghose et al. (1972) British Medical Journal, 3:495-499; and Szekerke, et al. (1972) Neoplasma, 19:211-215. Procedures for conjugating daunomycin and adriamycin to antibodies are described by Hurwitz, E. et al. (1975) Cancer Research, 35:1175-1181 and Arnon et al. (1982) Cancer Surveys, 1:429-449. Procedures for preparing antibody-ricin conjugates are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,414,148 and by Osawa, T., et al. (1982) Cancer Surveys, 1:373-388 and the references cited therein. Coupling procedures as also described in EP 86309516.2.

To kill or ablate normal, benign hyperplastic, or cancerous cells, a first protein ligand is conjugated with a prodrug which is activated only when in close proximity with a prodrug activator. The prodrug activator is conjugated with a second protein ligand, preferably one which binds to a non-competing site on the target molecule. Whether two protein ligands bind to competing or non-competing binding sites can be determined by conventional competitive binding assays. Some suitable drug-prodrug pairs are described in Blakely et al., (1996) Cancer Research, 56:3287-3292.

Alternatively, the MMP-26-binding protein can be coupled to high energy radiation emitters, for example, a radioisotope, such as .sup.131I, a .gamma.-emitter, which, when localized at the tumor site, results in a killing of several cell diameters. See, e.g., S. E. Order, "Analysis, Results, and Future Prospective of the Therapeutic Use of Radiolabeled Antibody in Cancer Therapy", Monoclonal Antibodies for Cancer Detection and Therapy, R. W. Baldwin et al. (eds.), pp 303-316 (Academic Press 1985). Other suitable radioisotopes include .alpha.-emitters, such as .sup.212Bi, 213Bi, and .sup.211At, and .beta.-emitters, such as .sup.186Re and .sup.90Y. Moreover, Lu.sup.117 may also be used as both an imaging and cytotoxic agent.

Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) using antibodies labeled with .sup.131I, .sup.90Y, and .sup.177Lu is under intense clinical investigation. There are significant differences in the physical characteristics of these three nuclides and as a result, the choice of radionuclide is very critical in order to deliver maximum radiation dose to the tumor. The higher beta energy particles of .sup.90Y may be good for bulky tumors. The relatively low energy beta particles of .sup.131I are ideal, but in vivo dehalogenation of radioiodinated molecules is a major disadvantage for internalizing antibody. In contrast, .sup.177Lu has low energy beta particle with only 0.2-0.3 mm range and delivers much lower radiation dose to bone marrow compared to .sup.90Y. In addition, due to longer physical half-life (compared to .sup.90Y), the tumor residence times are higher. As a result, higher activities (more mCi amounts) of .sup.177Lu labeled agents can be administered with comparatively less radiation dose to marrow. There have been several clinical studies investigating the use of .sup.177Lu labeled antibodies in the treatment of various cancers. (Mulligan T et al. (1995) Clin Cancer Res. 1:1447-1454; Meredith R F, et al. (1996) J Nucl Med 37:1491-1496; Alvarez R D, et al. (1997) Gynecologic Oncology 65: 94-101).

The MMP-26-binding proteins can be used directly in vivo to eliminate antigen-expressing cells via natural complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) or antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). In one embodiment, the protein includes a complement binding effector domain, such as an Fc portion (e.g., functional portion) from IgG1, -2, or -3 or corresponding portions of IgM which bind complement. In one embodiment, a population of target cells is ex vivo treated with a binding protein described herein and appropriate effector cells. The treatment can be supplemented by the addition of complement or serum containing complement. In another embodiment, target cells coated with the protein ligand which includes a complement binding effector domain are lysed by complement.

Also encompassed by the invention is a method of killing or ablating which involves using the MMP-26 binding proteins for prophylaxis. For example, these materials can be used to prevent or delay development or progression of cancers.

Use of the therapeutic methods of the invention to treat cancers has a number of benefits. Since the protein ligands specifically recognize MMP-26, other tissue is spared and high levels of the agent are delivered directly to the site where therapy is required. Treatment in accordance with the invention can be effectively monitored with clinical parameters. Alternatively, these parameters can be used to indicate when such treatment should be employed.

A MMP-26-binding protein described herein can be administered in combination with one or more of the existing modalities for treating cancers, including, but not limited to: surgery; radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

An MMP-26-binding protein can be administered in combination with one or more of the existing modalities for treating an inflammatory disease or disorder. Exemplary inflammatory diseases or disorders include: acute and chronic immune and autoimmune pathologies, such as, but not limited to, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), psoriasis, graft versus host disease (GVHD), scleroderma, diabetes mellitus, allergy; asthma, acute or chronic immune disease associated with an allogenic transplantation, such as, but not limited to, renal transplantation, cardiac transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, liver transplantation, pancreatic transplantation, small intestine transplantation, lung transplantation and skin transplantation; chronic inflammatory pathologies such as, but not limited to, sarcoidosis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's pathology or disease; vascular inflammatory pathologies, such as, but not limited to, disseminated intravascular coagulation, atherosclerosis, Kawasaki's pathology and vasculitis syndromes, such as, but not limited to, polyarteritis nodosa, Wegener's granulomatosis, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, giant cell arthritis and microscopic vasculitis of the kidneys; chronic active hepatitis; Sjogren's syndrome; psoriatic arthritis; enteropathic arthritis; reactive arthritis and arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease; and uveitis.

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) include generally chronic, relapsing intestinal inflammation. IBD refers to two distinct disorders, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). The clinical symptoms of IBD include intermittent rectal bleeding, crampy abdominal pain, weight loss and diarrhea. A clinical index can also be used to monitor IBD such as the Clinical Activity Index for Ulcerative Colitis. See also, e.g., Walmsley et al. Gut. 1998 July; 43(1):29-32 and Jowett et al. (2003) Scand J Gastroenterol. 38(2):164-71.

A MMP26-binding protein can be used to treat or prevent one of the foregoing diseases or disorders. For example, the protein can be administered (locally or systemically) in an amount effective to ameliorate at least one symptom of the respective disease or disorder. The protein may also ameliorate inflammation, e.g., an indicator of inflammation, e.g., such as local temperature, swelling (e.g., as measured), redness, local or systemic white blood cell count, presence or absence of neutrophils, cytokine levels, elastase activity, and so forth. It is possible to evaluate a subject, e.g., prior, during, or after administration of the protein, for one or more of indicators of inflammation, e.g., an aforementioned indicator.

Diagnostic Uses

Protein ligands that bind to MMP-26 (e.g., those described herein) also have in vitro and in vivo diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic utilities. In one aspect, the invention provides a diagnostic method for detecting the presence of a MMP-26, in vitro (e.g., a biological sample, such as tissue, biopsy, e.g., a cancerous tissue such as a tumor) or in vivo (e.g., in vivo imaging in a subject).

The method includes: (i) contacting a sample with MMP-26-binding protein; and (ii) detecting formation of a complex between the MMP-26-binding protein and the sample. The method can also include contacting a reference sample (e.g., a control sample) with the ligand, and determining the extent of formation of the complex between the ligand and the sample relative to the same for the reference sample. A change, e.g., a statistically significant change, in the formation of the complex in the sample or subject relative to the control sample or subject can be indicative of the presence of MMP-26 in the sample.

Another method includes: (i) administering the MMP-26-binding protein to a subject; and (ii) detecting formation of a complex between the MMP-26-binding protein, and the subject. The detecting can include determining location or time of formation of the complex. In one embodiment, the subject has, is suspected of having, or is at risk for a disorder described herein, e.g., a neoplastic disorder, an inflammatory disorder, or a disorder characterized by excessive MMP-26 activity.

The MMP-26-binding protein can be directly or indirectly labeled with a detectable substance to facilitate detection of the bound or unbound antibody. Suitable detectable substances include various enzymes, prosthetic groups, fluorescent materials, luminescent materials and radioactive materials.

Complex formation between the MMP-26-binding protein and MMP-26 can be detected by measuring or visualizing either the ligand bound to the MMP-26 or unbound ligand. Conventional detection assays can be used, e.g., an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), a radioimmunoassay (RIA) or tissue immunohistochemistry. Further to labeling the MMP-26-binding protein, the presence of MMP-26 can be assayed in a sample by a competition immunoassay utilizing standards labeled with a detectable substance and an unlabeled MMP-26-binding protein. In one example of this assay, the biological sample, the labeled standards and the MMP-26 binding agent are combined and the amount of labeled standard bound to the unlabeled ligand is determined. The amount of MMP-26 in the sample is inversely proportional to the amount of labeled standard bound to the MMP-26 binding agent.

Fluorophore and chromophore labeled protein ligands can be prepared. Since antibodies and other proteins absorb light having wavelengths up to about 310 nm, the fluorescent moieties should be selected to have substantial absorption at wavelengths above 310 nm and preferably above 400 nm. A variety of suitable fluorescers and chromophores are described by Stryer (1968) Science, 162:526 and Brand, L. et al. (1972) Annual Review of Biochemistry, 41:843-868. The protein ligands can be labeled with fluorescent chromophore groups by conventional procedures such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,940,475, 4,289,747, and 4,376,110. One group of fluorescers having a number of the desirable properties described above is the xanthene dyes, which include the fluoresceins and rhodamines. Another group of fluorescent compounds are the naphthylamines. Once labeled with a fluorophore or chromophore, the protein ligand can be used to detect the presence or localization of the MMP-26 in a sample, e.g., using fluorescent microscopy (such as confocal or deconvolution microscopy).

Histological Analysis. Immunohistochemistry can be performed using the protein ligands described herein. For example, in the case of an antibody, the antibody can synthesized with a label (such as a purification or epitope tag), or can be detectably labeled, e.g., by conjugating a label or label-binding group. For example, a chelator can be attached to the antibody. The antibody is then contacted to a histological preparation, e.g., a fixed section of tissue that is on a microscope slide. After an incubation for binding, the preparation is washed to remove unbound antibody. The preparation is then analyzed, e.g., using microscopy, to identify if the antibody bound to the preparation.

Of course, the antibody (or other polypeptide or peptide) can be unlabeled at the time of binding. After binding and washing, the antibody is labeled in order to render it detectable.

Protein Arrays. The MMP-26-binding protein can also be immobilized on a protein array. The protein array can be used as a diagnostic tool, e.g., to screen medical samples (such as isolated cells, blood, sera, biopsies, and the like). Of course, the protein array can also include other ligands, e.g., that bind to MMP-26 or to other target molecules, such as hyaluronic acid.

Methods of producing polypeptide arrays are described, e.g., in De Wildt et al. (2000) Nat. Biotechnol. 18:989-994; Lueking et al. (1999) Anal. Biochem. 270:103-111; Ge (2000) Nucleic Acids Res. 28, e3, I-VII; MacBeath and Schreiber (2000) Science 289:1760-1763; WO 01/40803 and WO 99/51773A1. Polypeptides for the array can be spotted at high speed, e.g., using commercially available robotic apparati, e.g., from Genetic MicroSystems or BioRobotics. The array substrate can be, for example, nitrocellulose, plastic, glass, e.g., surface-modified glass. The array can also include a porous matrix, e.g., acrylamide, agarose, or another polymer.

For example, the array can be an array of antibodies, e.g., as described in De Wildt, supra. Cells that produce the protein ligands can be grown on a filter in an arrayed format. Polypeptide production is induced, and the expressed polypeptides are immobilized to the filter at the location of the cell.

A protein array can be contacted with a labeled target to determine the extent of binding of the target to each immobilized polypeptide from the diversity strand library. If the target is unlabeled, a sandwich method can be used, e.g., using a labeled probed, to detect binding of the unlabeled target.

Information about the extent of binding at each address of the array can be stored as a profile, e.g., in a computer database. The protein array can be produced in replicates and used to compare binding profiles, e.g., of a target and a non-target. Thus, protein arrays can be used to identify individual members of the diversity strand library that have desired binding properties with respect to one or more molecules.

An MMP-26-binding protein described herein can also be used to detecting binding of a MMP-26 to an insoluble support. For example, a sample can be immobilized on array, and MMP-26 can be detected on the array using the MMP-26-binding protein.

In Vivo Imaging. In still another embodiment, the invention provides a method for detecting the presence of a MMP-26-expressing cancerous tissues in vivo. The method includes (i) administering to a subject (e.g., a patient having a cancer or neoplastic disorder) an MMP-26-binding antibody, conjugated to a detectable marker; (ii) exposing the subject to a means for detecting said detectable marker to the MMP-26-expressing tissues or cells. For example, the subject is imaged, e.g., by NMR or other tomographic means.

Examples of labels useful for diagnostic imaging in accordance with the invention include radiolabels such as .sup.131I, .sup.111In, .sup.123I, .sup.99mTc, .sup.32P, .sup.125I, .sup.3H, .sup.14C, and .sup.188Rh, fluorescent labels such as fluorescein and rhodamine, nuclear magnetic resonance active labels, positron emitting isotopes detectable by a positron emission tomography ("PET") scanner, chemiluminescers such as luciferin, and enzymatic markers such as peroxidase or phosphatase. Short-range radiation emitters, such as isotopes detectable by short-range detector probes can also be employed. The protein ligand can be labeled with such reagents using known techniques. For example, see Wensel and Meares (1983) Radioimmunoimaging and Radioimmunotherapy, Elsevier, New York for techniques relating to the radiolabeling of antibodies and D. Colcher et al. (1986) Meth. Enzymol. 121: 802-816.

A radiolabeled ligand of this invention can also be used for in vitro diagnostic tests. The specific activity of an isotopically-labeled ligand depends upon the half-life, the isotopic purity of the radioactive label, and how the label is incorporated into the antibody.

Procedures for labeling polypeptides with the radioactive isotopes (such as .sup.14C, .sup.3H, .sup.35S, .sup.125I, .sup.32P, .sup.131I) are generally known. For example, tritium labeling procedures are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,302,438. Iodinating, tritium labeling, and .sup.35S labeling procedures, e.g., as adapted for murine monoclonal antibodies, are described, e.g., by Goding, J. W. (Monoclonal antibodies: principles and practice: production and application of monoclonal antibodies in cell biology, biochemistry, and immunology 2nd ed. London; Orlando: Academic Press, 1986. pp 124-126) and the references cited therein. Other procedures for iodinating polypeptides, such as antibodies, are described by Hunter and Greenwood (1962) Nature 144:945, David et al. (1974) Biochemistry 13:1014-1021, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,867,517 and 4,376,110. Exemplary radio-isotopes that are useful for imaging include .sup.123I, .sup.131I, .sup.111In, and .sup.99mTc. Procedures for iodinating antibodies are described by Greenwood, F. et al. (1963) Biochem. J. 89:114-123; Marchalonis, J. (1969) Biochem. J. 113:299-305; and Morrison, M. et al. (1971) Immunochemistry 289-297. Procedures for .sup.99mTc-labeling are described by Rhodes, B. et al. in Burchiel, S. et al. (eds.), Tumor Imaging: The Radioimmunochemical Detection of Cancer, New York: Masson 111-123 (1982) and the references cited therein. Procedures suitable for .sup.111In-labeling antibodies are described by Hnatowich, D. J. et al. (1983) J. Immul. Methods, 65:147-157, Hnatowich, D. et al. (1984) J. Applied Radiation, 35:554-557, and Buckley, R. G. et al. (1984) F.E.B.S. 166:202-204.

In the case of a radiolabeled ligand, the ligand is administered to the patient, is localized to the tumor bearing the antigen with which the ligand reacts, and is detected or "imaged" in vivo using known techniques such as radionuclear scanning using e.g., a gamma camera or emission tomography. See e.g., A. R. Bradwell et al., "Developments in Antibody Imaging", Monoclonal Antibodies for Cancer Detection and Therapy, R. W. Baldwin et al., (eds.), pp 65-85 (Academic Press 1985). Alternatively, a positron emission transaxial tomography scanner, such as designated Pet VI located at Brookhaven National Laboratory, can be used where the radiolabel emits positrons (e.g., .sup.11C, .sup.18F, .sup.15O, and .sup.13N).

MRI Contrast Agents. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses NMR to visualize internal features of living subject, and is useful for prognosis, diagnosis, treatment, and surgery. MRI can be used without radioactive tracer compounds for obvious benefit. Some MRI techniques are summarized in EP-A-0 502 814. Generally, the differences related to relaxation time constants T1 and T2 of water protons in different environments are used to generate an image. However, these differences can be insufficient to provide sharp high resolution images.

The differences in these relaxation time constants can be enhanced by contrast agents. Examples of such contrast agents include a number of magnetic agents paramagnetic agents (which primarily alter T1) and ferromagnetic or superparamagnetic (which primarily alter T2 response). Chelates (e.g., EDTA, DTPA and NTA chelates) can be used to attach (and reduce toxicity) of some paramagnetic substances (e.g., Fe.sup.+3, Mn.sup.+2, Gd.sup.+3). Other agents can be in the form of particles, e.g., less than 10 .mu.m to about 10 nM in diameter). Particles can have ferromagnetic, antiferromagnetic or superparamagnetic properties. Particles can include, e.g., magnetite (Fe.sub.3O.sub.4), .gamma.-Fe.sub.2O.sub.3, ferrites, and other magnetic mineral compounds of transition elements. Magnetic particles may include: one or more magnetic crystals with and without nonmagnetic material. The nonmagnetic material can include synthetic or natural polymers (such as sepharose, dextran, dextrin, starch and the like

The MMP-26-binding proteins can also be labeled with an indicating group containing of the NMR-active .sup.19F atom, or a plurality of such atoms inasmuch as (i) substantially all of naturally abundant fluorine atoms are the .sup.19F isotope and, thus, substantially all fluorine-containing compounds are NMR-active; (ii) many chemically active polyfluorinated compounds such as trifluoracetic anhydride are commercially available at relatively low cost, and (iii) many fluorinated compounds have been found medically acceptable for use in humans such as the perfluorinated polyethers utilized to carry oxygen as hemoglobin replacements. After permitting such time for incubation, a whole body MRI is carried out using an apparatus such as one of those described by Pykett (1982) Scientific American, 246:78-88 to locate and image cancerous tissues.

Information obtained from evaluating an MMP-26-binding protein, e.g., a ligand described herein, can be recorded on machine-compatible media, e.g., computer readable or computer accessible media. The information can be stored as a computer representation, e.g., in a database (e.g., in the case of imaging using a ligand, a database of images for one or a plurality of subjects). The term "computer representation" refers to information which is in a form that can be manipulated by a computer. The act of storing a computer representation refers to the act of placing the information in a form suitable for manipulation by a computer.

Kits

Also within the scope of the invention are kits that include a composition described herein, e.g., a composition that contains a MMP-26-binding protein. In one embodiment, the kit includes (a) a composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein, and, optionally, (b) informational material. The informational material can be descriptive, instructional, marketing or other material that relates to the methods described herein and/or the use of the compound for the methods described herein, e.g., a treatment, prophylactic, or diagnostic use. For example, the informational material describes methods for administering the composition to treat a disorder, e.g., a neoplastic disorder such as a metastatic disorder, an inflammatory disorder, or a disorder characterized by excessive MMP-26 activity.

In one embodiment, the informational material can include instructions to administer the compound in a suitable manner, e.g., in a suitable dose, dosage form, or mode of administration (e.g., a dose, dosage form, or mode of administration described herein). In another embodiment, the informational material can include instructions for identifying a suitable subject, e.g., a human, e.g., a human having, or at risk for a neoplastic disorder, an inflammatory disorder, or a disorder characterized by excessive MMP-26 activity. The informational material can include information about production of the compound, molecular weight of the compound, concentration, date of expiration, batch or production site information, and so forth. The informational material of the kits is not limited in its form. Information about the compound can include structural information, e.g., amino acid sequence, tradename, FDA approved name, antibody isotype, and so forth. In many cases, the informational material, e.g., instructions, is provided in printed matter, e.g., a printed text, drawing, and/or photograph, e.g., a label or printed sheet. However, the informational material can also be provided in other formats, such as computer readable material, video recording, or audio recording. In another embodiment, the informational material of the kit is a link or contact information, e.g., a physical address, email address, hyperlink, website, or telephone number, where a user of the kit can obtain substantive information about the compound and/or its use in the methods described herein. The informational material can also be provided in any combination of formats.

In addition to the composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein, the composition itself can include other ingredients, such as a solvent or buffer, a stabilizer or a preservative, and/or a second agent for treating a condition or disorder described herein, e.g. a neoplastic disorder (e.g., a metastatic disorder) or an inflammatory disorder. Alternatively, such other ingredients can be included in the kit, but in different compositions or containers than the composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein. In such embodiments, the kit can include instructions for admixing the compound and the other ingredients, or for using the compound together with the other ingredients.

The composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein can be provided in any form, e.g., liquid, dried or lyophilized form. It is preferred that composition be substantially pure and/or sterile. When the composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein is provided in a liquid solution, the liquid solution preferably is an aqueous solution, with a sterile aqueous solution being preferred. When the composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein is provided as a dried form, reconstitution generally is by the addition of a suitable solvent. The solvent, e.g., sterile water or buffer, can optionally be provided in the kit.

The kit can include one or more containers for the composition that includes the MMP-26-binding protein. In some embodiments, the kit contains separate containers, dividers or compartments for the composition and informational material. For example, the composition can be contained in a bottle, vial, or syringe, and the informational material can be contained in a plastic sleeve or packet. In other embodiments, the separate elements of the kit are contained within a single, undivided container. For example, the composition is contained in a bottle, vial or syringe that has attached thereto the informational material in the form of a label. In some embodiments, the kit includes a plurality (e.g., a pack) of individual containers, each containing one or more unit dosage forms (e.g., a dosage form described herein) of the MMP-26-binding protein. For example, the kit includes a plurality of syringes, ampules, foil packets, or blister packs, each containing a single unit dose of the compound. The containers of the kits can be air tight, waterproof (e.g., impermeable to changes in moisture or evaporation), and/or light-tight.

Kits can be provided that include a MMP-26-binding antibody and instructions for diagnostic, e.g., the use of the MMP-26-binding ligand (e.g., antibody or antigen-binding fragment thereof, or other polypeptide or peptide) to detect MMP-26, in vitro, e.g., in a sample, e.g., a biopsy or cells from a patient having a cancer or neoplastic disorder, or in vivo, e.g., by imaging a subject. The kit can further contain a least one additional reagent, such as a label or additional diagnostic agent. For in vivo use the ligand can be formulated as a pharmaceutical composition.
 

Claim 1 of 13 Claims

1. An isolated protein which binds to matrix metalloproteinase 26 (MMP-26), said protein comprising a heavy chain immunoglobulin variable domain (HC) sequence and a light chain immunoglobulin variable domain (LC) sequence, wherein (a) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:4 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:2; (b) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:8 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:6; (c) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:12 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:10; (d) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:16 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:14; (e) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:52 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:50; (f) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:104 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:102; (g) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:132 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:130; (h) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:148 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:146; (i) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:164 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:162; or (j) the HC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:180 and the LC comprises CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3 of SEQ ID NO:178.

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