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Screening and identification of an anti-PD-1 nanobody with antitumor activity

Yanting Zhang, Shaoqi Yang, Dan Jiang, Yanning Li, Shuo Ma, Liyan Wang, Guangqi Li, Hongxia Wang, Aijun Zhang,
Published: 7 December 2022

Abstract: Blocking of PD-1 or PD-L1 with corresponding antibody to enhance T cell response and mediate antitumor activity has been successfully applied in clinical practice. Several immune checkpoint inhibitors including monoclonal antibodies targeting PD-1 have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in cancer immunotherapy. However, the application of traditional antibodies has limited due to their drawbacks of large molecular weight and low tissue penetration. As the high specificity and strong tissue penetration of nanobodies (Nbs), efforts have been taken to develop Nbs for cancer therapy. Herein, we aim to screen a specific Nb against human PD-1 derived from a naïve camel Nb phage display library and further study its biological characteristic and anti-tumor activity. Finally, an anti-PD-1 Nb with high specificity and affinity was screened and generated, its cytotoxicity and antitumor effect was also confirmed in vitro and vivo. All of these indicate that the anti-PD-1 Nb may provide an alternative and appealing therapeutic agent for cancer immunotherapy.
Keywords: Nanobody / check point immunotherapy / phage display library / PD-1

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