Chao-Yang Meng, Shiyu Sun, Yong Liang, Hairong Xu
Objective The purpose of this study is to develop an anti-PDL1-based interferon (IFN) fusion protein to overcome the chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV)-induced immune tolerance, and combine this immunotherapy with a HBV vaccine to achieve the functional cure of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection.
Design We designed an anti-PDL1-IFNα heterodimeric fusion protein, in which one arm was derived from anti-PDL1 antibody and the other arm was IFNα, to allow targeted delivery of IFNα into the liver by anti-PDL1 antibody. The effect of the anti-PDL1-IFNα heterodimer on overcoming hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) vaccine resistance was evaluated in chronic HBV carrier mice.
Results The anti-PDL1-IFNα heterodimer preferentially targeted the liver and resulted in viral suppression, the PD1/PDL1 immune checkpoint blockade and dendritic cell activation/antigen presentation to activate HBsAg-specific T cells, thus breaking immune tolerance in chronic HBV carrier mice. When an HBsAg vaccine was administered soon after anti-PDL1-IFNα heterodimer treatment, we observed strong anti-HBsAg antibody and HBsAg-specific T cell responses for efficient HBsAg clearance in chronic HBV carrier mice that received the combination treatment but not in those that received either single treatment.
Conclusions Targeting the liver with an engineered anti-PDL1-IFNα heterodimer can break HBV-induced immune tolerance to an HBsAg vaccine, offering a promising translatable therapeutic strategy for the functional cure of CHB.
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