US 20100105610 A1
The invention provides compositions comprising one or more isolated factors from a microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), including, but not limited to, Lefty and inhibitors of Nodal. The invention also provides methods of utilizing factors derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and their microenvironment to treat and prevent tumor formation and progression and to inhibit tumor cell aggressiveness. The invention further provides methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth and/or treating aggressive tumors in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of an inhibitor of Nodal activity.
1. A composition comprising one or more isolated factors from a microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells.
2. The composition of
3. The composition of
4. An isolated Lefty protein produced by conditioning a matrix with human embryonic stem cells.
5. A protein comprising glycosylated Lefty or a fragment or derivative thereof.
6. The protein of
7. A composition comprising the protein of
8. A method of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal the composition of
9. The method of
10. A method of using one or more factors from a microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells to inhibit tumor cell aggressiveness.
11. The method of
12. The method of
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. A method of inhibiting tumor cell growth and/or treating aggressive tumors in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of an inhibitor of Nodal activity.
16. The method of
17. The method of
18. The method of
19. The method of
20. The method of
21. The method of
22. The method of
23. The method of
24. The method of
25. The method of
26. The method of
27. The method of
28. The method of
29. The method of
30. The method of
31. The method of
32. The method of
33. The method of
34. The method of
35. A method of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of a preconditioned microenvironment, which has been in contact with human embryonic stem cells.
36. A method of detecting aggressive tumor cells comprising the steps of:
a. obtaining a sample from a patient;
b. assaying the sample for the presence of Nodal and Lefty; and
c. detecting aggressive tumor cells if Nodal is present and Lefty is absent in the sample.
37. The method of
38. The method of
39. A method of identifying a compound for treating aggressive tumors, comprising:
a. providing a plurality of cells that express Nodal;
b. assaying the cells for Nodal activity in the presence and absence of a candidate compound; and
c. identifying the compound as a compound for treating aggressive tumors if the Nodal activity is less in the presence of the candidate compound than in the absence of the candidate compound.
40. A method for monitoring the effectiveness of a pharmaceutical composition as an agent for treating aggressive tumors in a patient comprising the steps of:
a. obtaining a sample from a patient;
b. assaying the sample for the presence of Nodal;
c. administering an amount a pharmaceutical composition to the patient;
d. repeating steps (b) and (c) on subsequently-collected samples from the patient; and
e. comparing the amount of Nodal detected in the sample from step (a) with the amount of Nodal detected in the samples from step (d), wherein the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical composition is monitored by detecting changes in the amount of Nodal in the subsequently-collected samples compared with the sample taken in step (a).
41. A method for detecting the presence of aggressive tumor cells comprising the steps of:
a. obtaining a sample of tumor cells from a patient;
b. conducting a sequence based methylation analysis of the Nodal CpG island in the tumor cells;
c. comparing the degree of methylation in the CpG island of Nodal in the tumor cells to that of non-aggressive or non-tumor cells;
d. correlating hypermethylation of Nodal with the presence of aggressive tumor cells.
42. A method for detecting the presence cells having a dedifferentiated, multipotent plastic phenotype in a mammal comprising the steps of:
a. obtaining a sample from a mammal;
b. assaying the sample for the presence of Nodal;
c. correlating the presence of Nodal with the presence cells having a dedifferentiated, multipotent plastic phenotype.
43. The method of
44. The method of
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Nos. 60/820,740, filed on Jul. 28, 2006, and 60/941,343, filed on Jun. 1, 2007, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference herein.
The invention relates to methods of using compounds produced by embryonic stem cells to treat and/or prevent the growth and/or dissemination of aggressive tumor cells in a patient. More specifically, the invention relates to the administration to the patient of inhibitors of Nodal activity, including, but not limited to, those that are exclusively produced by human embryonic stem cells. The invention also relates to methods for detecting aggressive tumors in a patient comprising detecting the presence of Nodal in the patient's cells.
Aggressive tumor cells share a number of characteristics with embryonic progenitors. During vertebrate development, multipotent precursor cells are gradually specified to particular fates through the autocrine or paracrine delivery of signaling molecules, and during cancer progression, malignant cells similarly release and receive cues that promote tumor growth and metastasis. Aggressive tumor cells, particularly melanoma cells, display stem cell-like plasticity as demonstrated by their molecular signature that signifies a dedifferentiated, multipotent plastic phenotype (i.e. one that is capable of responding to microenvironmental factors as well as influencing other cells via epigenetic mechanisms) (Bittner et al., 2000, Nature 406:536-540; Hendrix et al., 2003, Nat. Rev. Cancer 3:411-421). Furthermore, aggressive melanoma cells are capable of vasculogenic mimicry, i.e. they are able to form vasculogenic-like networks while simultaneously expressing genes associated with an endotheilial cell type. (Seftor et. al., 2002, Crit. Rev. Oncology Hematol. 44:17-27; Maniotis et. al., Am. J. Pathol. 155:739-752).
Previous studies capitalized on the similarities between cancer and stem cells by examining the ability of embryonic microenvironments to modulate tumor cell behavior (Pierce et al., 1982, Cancer Res. 42:1082-1087; Gerschenson et al., 1986, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 83:7307-7310; Lee et al., 2005, Dev. Dyn. 233:1560-1570; Mintz et al., 1975, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 72:3585-3589). For example, Pierce and colleagues reported that neural stage mouse embryos regulate neuroblastoma cells, and that embryonic skin inhibits melanoma growth ((Pierce et al., 1982, Cancer Res. 42:1082-1087; Gerschenson et al., 1986, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 83:7307-7310). Although studies have focused on the role of embryonic signals in the regulation of tumor cells, few have utilized embryonic models as a tool to discover molecular mechanisms by which cancer cells modulate their microenvironment and the resulting reciprocal interactions.
One of the major factors contributing to the plasticity of stem cells is Nodal. Nodal is a highly conserved morphogen belonging to the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) super family (Schier et al., 2003, Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 19:589-621). By acting as an organizing signal before gastrulation, Nodal initiates embryonic axis formation, and previous studies demonstrated that the ectopic expression of Nodal induces mesendodermal fates in ectopic positions (Whitman, 2001, Dev. Cell 1:605-617; Schier, 2003, Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 19:589-621; Iannaccone et al., 1992, Dev. Dyn. 194:198-208; Smith, 1995, Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 7:856-861; Zhou et al., 1993, Nature 361:543-547; Rebagliati et al., 1998, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 95:9932-9937; Toyama et al., 1995, Development 121:383-391).
Activation of Nodal includes binding to the co-receptor Cripto and subsequent phosphorylation of the type I and type II activin-like kinase receptors (ALK). In turn, SMAD2 and SMAD3 are activated (Lee et. al., 2006, Nature Medicine 12:882-884). Furthermore, human embryonic stem cells express Nodal and secrete endogenous inhibitors of Nodal such as Lefty A/B (Besser, D., 2004, J. Biol. Chem. 279:45076-45084). Lefty A and Lefty B, human homologs to murine Lefty 2 and Lefty 1, respectively, are separated by approximately 50 kb on chromosome 1q42 and are 96% identical to each other (Kosaki et. al., 1999, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 64:712-21). Lefty A and Lefty B are members of the TGFβ superfamily, and are considered one of the powerful inhibitors of Nodal.
The invention provides compositions comprising one or more isolated factors from a microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), including, but not limited to, Lefty and inhibitors of Nodal. The invention further provides an isolated Lefty protein produced by conditioning a matrix with human embryonic stem cells. The invention further provides a protein comprising glycosylated Lefty, including glycosylated Lefty isolated from the microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells, compositions thereof, and methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal such compositions.
The invention also provides methods of utilizing factors derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and their microenvironment to treat and prevent tumor formation and progression and to inhibit tumor cell aggressiveness. The invention further provides methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth and/or treating aggressive tumors in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of an inhibitor of Nodal activity, including, but not limited to, hESC-derived Lefty and synthetic derivatives as discussed herein, glycosylated Lefty, recombinant Lefty, anti-Nodal antibodies, inhibitors of one or more of activin receptor-like proteins ALK 4, ALK 5, and/or ALK7, inhibitors of Cripto, anti-Nodal antisense moieties such as anti-Nodal Morpholinos, and Notch inhibitors including, but not limited to, Notch 4 inhibitors such as Notch 4 siRNA.
The invention also provides a method of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of a preconditioned microenvironment, which has been in contact with human embryonic stem cells.
The invention further provides methods for detecting aggressive tumors (including but not restricted to melanoma and breast carcinoma) in a patient comprising the steps of: obtaining a sample from a patient; assaying the sample for the presence of Nodal and the absence of a Nodal inhibitor (such as Lefty or modified Lefty or Lefty derivatives); and detecting aggressive tumor cells if Nodal is present and Lefty is absent in the sample. The invention also provides methods of identifying compounds for treating aggressive tumors comprising providing a plurality of cells that express Nodal; assaying the cells in the presence and absence of a candidate compound for activity of Nodal; and identifying the compound as a compound for treating aggressive tumors if the Nodal activity is less in the presence of the candidate compound than in the absence of the candidate compound.
In addition, the invention provides methods for monitoring the effectiveness of a pharmaceutical composition as an agent for treating aggressive tumors in a patient, for detecting the presence of aggressive tumor cells, and for methods for detecting the presence of cells having a dedifferentiated, multipotent plastic phenotype in a mammal
Specific embodiments of the invention will become evident from the following more detailed description of certain preferred embodiments and the claims.
In certain embodiments, the invention provides a composition comprising one or more isolated factors from a microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). As used herein, “one or more isolated factors” refers to any one or any group of factors present in a microenvironment of hESCs. The factors may be individually isolated, or isolated in a manner that provides a group of factors in combination. Alternatively, “one or more isolated factors” may refer to any one or a group of factors present on a defined matrix. As used herein, a “microenvironment” is an environment that comprises a basement membrane or other defined matrix that is in contact with embryonic stem cells, preferably human embryonic stem cells, and that is influenced by the embryonic stem cells. A “preconditioned” microenvironment is a microenvironment that has been in contact with human embryonic stem cells under appropriate conditions as described herein, and described for example, in Postovit et al., 2006, Stem Cells 24:501-505 and illustrated in
In one embodiment, the isolated factor(s) from a microenvironment of hESCs inhibit Nodal. As described herein, aggressive tumor cells express Nodal, and Nodal is essential for plasticity, tumorgenicity and aggressiveness. Therefore, inhibiting Nodal provides an excellent approach for treating and preventing aggressive tumors. As used herein, the terms “aggressive tumor” and “aggressive cancer,” which include “aggressive melanoma” and “aggressive breast carcinoma” refer to a malignant cell that has neoplastic growth with or without metastatic involvement. In a non-limiting example, an aggressive tumor may refer to a malignant cell that has a transdifferentiated phenotype characterized by the aberrant expression of genes normally restricted to other cell lineages, concomitant with the loss of lineage-specific factors. For example, aggressive melanoma cells possess keratin-positive, intermediate filaments indicative of epithelial cells, and they aberrantly express genes, including VE-Cadherin, normally associated with endothelial cells. Furthermore, the expression of melanocyte specific markers, such as Tyrosinase, is dramatically reduced, and sometimes absent, in aggressive melanoma cells. Tyrosinase catalyses the conversion of tyrosine to the pigment melanin, and is reduced by more than 35-fold in aggressive melanomas as compared to their poorly aggressive counterparts. Aggressive tumor cells also have the ability to express multiple stem cell markers, suggestive of a multipotent, dedifferentiated phenotype. These aggressive tumor cells are also highly metastatic.
In one embodiment of the invention, the factor from a microenvironment of hESCs is Lefty. As noted herein, Lefty, including hESC-derived Lefty, is an inhibitor of Nodal. As used herein, the terms “Lefty A/B” and “Lefty” are interchangeable and refer to either Lefty A or Lefty B, or both Lefty A and Lefty B in combination. In one embodiment, Lefty, isolated from a microenvironment, may be substantially pure. In another embodiment, Lefty may be present in combination with other hESC factors.
In another embodiment, the invention provides an isolated Lefty protein produced by conditioning a matrix with human embryonic stem cells. As used herein, “conditioning a matrix” refers to preparing a preconditioned microenvironment as defined herein. In certain embodiments, the matrix is conditioned with hESCs from 0 to 10 days or any range in between, including, but not limited to, from 0.5 to 10 days, from 2 to 8 days, from 3 to 6 days, from 3 to 5 days, from 3 to 4 days, or for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. Lefty may be isolated from the matrix by any method known to one of skill in the art, including through use of anti-Lefty antibodies.
In one embodiment, the invention provides a protein comprising glycosylated Lefty. In this embodiment, Lefty may be glycosylated to varying degrees, and may comprise one or more N- and/or O-linked glycosylation sites, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the glycosylated Lefty is characterized in that more than 0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, or 95% of the possible N- and/or O-glycosylation sites are glycosylated. In another embodiment, the glycosylated Lefty is characterized in that less than 100%, 95%, 90%, 85%, 80%, 75%, 70%, 65%, 60%, 55%, 50%, 45%, 40%, 35%, 30%, 25%, 20%, 15%, 10%, or 5% of the possible N- and/or O-glycosylation sites are glycosylated. In another embodiment, the glycosylated Lefty is characterized in that the percentage of possible N- and/or O-glycosylation sites that are glycosylated is based on a combination of the “more than” and “less than” percentages recited above. Thus, in one non-limiting example, the glycosylated Lefty is characterized in that more than 30% and less than 70% of the possible N- and/or O-glycosylation sites are glycosylated. In another embodiment, 100% of the possible N- and/or O-glycosylation sites are glycosylated.
In one embodiment, the glycosylated Lefty is glycosylated to substantially the same extent as Lefty derived from hESCs.
Glycosylated Lefty may be prepared by any method, including by recombinant methods (see, e.g. Sambrook et al., 2001, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 3rd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.). In one embodiment, glycosylated Lefty is prepared recombinantly in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. Alternatively, glycosylated Lefty may be prepared by chemical synthesis methods (such as solid phase peptide synthesis) using techniques known in the art such as those set forth by Merrifield et al., 1963, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 85:2149; Houghten et al., 1985, Proc Natl Acad. Sci. USA 82:5132; and Stewart and Young, Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis (Pierce Chemical Co. 1984), or by a combination of synthetic and recombinant techniques. Glycosylated Lefty may also be prepared by isolation from hESCs, including by isolation from the microenvironment of hESCs.
Included within the scope of the invention are fragments or derivatives of Lefty or glycosylated Lefty. As used herein, “fragment” means any portion of the full length Lefty sequence having an activity of the full length protein, including, but not limited to, the ability to inhibit Nodal. Included in the scope of “fragments” are naturally occurring enzymatic cleavage products. Included in the scope of the term “derivatives” are derivatives of full length Lefty as well as fragments thereof. As used herein, “derivative” or “derivatives” includes variations of Lefty having one or more amino acid residues which have been added, deleted, inserted or substituted, where the resulting polypeptide has an activity of Lefty, including, but not limited to, the ability to inhibit Nodal. As used herein, “derivatives” also includes chemical derivatives of Lefty and variations thereof. It will be understood to one of skill in the art that these variations may occur in any combination.
Chemically modified derivatives of glycosylated Lefty may be prepared by one skilled in the art, in view of the disclosures described herein. Glycosylated Lefty derivatives are modified in a manner that is different—either in the type or location of the molecules naturally attached to the polypeptide. Derivatives may include molecules formed by the deletion of one or more naturally-attached chemical group, or they may be modified by the covalent attachment of one or more polymers. For example, the polymer selected is typically water-soluble so that the protein to which it is attached does not precipitate in an aqueous environment, such as a physiological environment. Included within the scope of suitable polymers is a mixture of polymers. Preferably, for therapeutic use of the end-product preparation, the polymer will be pharmaceutically acceptable.
The polymers each may be of any molecular weight and may be branched or unbranched. The polymers each typically have an average molecular weight of between about 2 kDa to about 100 kDa (the term “about” indicating that in preparations of a water-soluble polymer, some molecules will weigh more, some less, than the stated molecular weight). The average molecular weight of each polymer is preferably between about 5 kDa and about 50 kDa, more preferably between about 12 kDa and about 40 kDa and most preferably between about 20 kDa and about 35 kDa.
Suitable water-soluble polymers or mixtures thereof include, but are not limited to, N-linked or O-linked carbohydrates, sugars, phosphates, polyethylene glycol (PEG) (including the forms of PEG that have been used to derivatize proteins, including mono-(C.sub.1-C.sub.10), alkoxy-, or aryloxy-polyethylene glycol), monomethoxy-polyethylene glycol, dextran (such as low molecular weight dextran of, for example, about 6 kD), cellulose, or other carbohydrate based polymers, poly-(N-vinyl pyrrolidone) polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol homopolymers, polypropylene oxide/ethylene oxide co-polymers, polyoxyethylated polyols (e.g., glycerol), and polyvinyl alcohol. Also encompassed by the present invention are bifunctional crosslinking molecules which may be used to prepare covalently attached glycosylated Lefty polypeptide multimers.
In general, chemical derivatization may be performed under any suitable condition used to react a protein with an activated polymer molecule. The optimal reaction conditions will be determined based on known parameters and the desired result. For example, the larger the ratio of polymer molecules to protein, the greater the percentage of attached polymer molecule. In one embodiment, the glycosylated Lefty derivative may have a single polymer molecule moiety at the amino-terminus. See, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,234,784.
The pegylation of a polypeptide may be specifically carried out using any of the pegylation reactions known in the art. Such reactions are described, for example, in the following references: Francis et al., 1992, Focus on Growth Factors 3:4-10; European Patent Nos. 0154316 and 0401384; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,179,337.
In another embodiment, glycosylated Lefty polypeptides may be chemically coupled to biotin. The biotin/glycosylated Lefty polypeptide molecules are then allowed to bind to avidin, resulting in tetravalent avidin/biotin/glycosylated Lefty polypeptide molecules. Glycosylated Lefty polypeptides may also be covalently coupled to dinitrophenol (DNP) or trinitrophenol (TNP) and the resulting conjugates precipitated with anti-DNP or anti-TNP-IgM to form decameric conjugates with a valency of 10.
Generally, conditions that may be alleviated or modulated by the administration of the present glycosylated Lefty derivatives include those described herein for glycosylated Lefty. However, the glycosylated Lefty derivatives disclosed herein may have additional activities, enhanced or reduced biological activity, or other characteristics, such as increased or decreased half-life, as compared to the non-derivatized molecules.
In a further embodiment, the present invention provides a composition comprising a glycosylated Lefty. Compositions may be formulated as known to one of skill in the art or as described herein. In another embodiment, the present invention provides methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal a composition comprising a glycosylated Lefty at a physiologically acceptable dosage. Such a composition may be administered in an effective or therapeutically effective amount. As used herein, “effective amount” and “therapeutically effective amount” are used interchangeably.
By mammal it is meant humans, companion animals such as cats and dogs, primates such as monkeys and chimpanzees, and livestock animals such as horses, cows, pigs, and sheep, or any patient in need of, or that will benefit from, administration of any of the methods or compounds or compositions of the invention. The term “patient” as used herein includes human and animal subjects.
In one embodiment, the invention comprises methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal a composition comprising a glycosylated Lefty at a dosage between 0.01 and 500 ng/mL, between 0.01 and 200 ng/mL, between 0.1 and 200 ng/mL, between 0.1 and 100 ng/mL, between 1 and 100 ng/mL, between 10 and 100 ng/mL, between 10 and 75 ng/mL, between 20 and 75 ng/mL, between 20 and 50 ng/mL, between 25 and 50 ng/mL, or between 30 and 40 ng/mL. In another embodiment, the invention comprises methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal a composition comprising a glycosylated Lefty at a dosage of about 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 75, 100, 200, or 500 ng/mL. As used in this context, “about” means within 0, 1, 2, or 3 ng/mL of the recited concentration.
In certain embodiments, the invention provides methods of using one or more factors from a microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells to inhibit tumor cell aggressiveness. In one embodiment, the factor(s) is an inhibitor of Nodal, including, but not limited to Lefty and glycosylated Lefty.
In one embodiment of these methods, the factor(s) inhibiting tumor cell aggressiveness do so by increasing apoptosis. As used herein, “apoptosis” refers to the physiologic process of programmed cell death which normally occurs during embryonic development and during maintenance of tissue homeostasis. In a further embodiment, the factor(s) inhibiting tumor cell aggressiveness do so by decreasing cell proliferation. Cell proliferation is defined as the increase in number of cells resulting from completion of the cell cycle, as contrast to growth, which is the increase in the individual cell mass. In a further embodiment, the factor(s) inhibiting tumor cell aggressiveness do so by both increasing apoptosis and by decreasing cell proliferation and/or by decreasing the tumor cell proliferation-to-apoptosis ratio.
In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of a preconditioned microenvironment, which has been in contact with human embryonic stem cells.
In further embodiments of the invention, Nodal and/or Lefty are used as biomarkers for aggressive tumor cell aggressiveness and for prognostic, diagnostic and clinical diagnoses for aggressive carcinoma including, but not limited to, melanoma and breast cancer. In certain embodiments, the invention provides methods for detecting aggressive tumors (including but not restricted to melanoma or breast cancer) in a patient comprising the steps of: obtaining a sample from a patient; assaying the sample for the presence of Nodal and Lefty; and detecting aggressive tumors if Nodal is present and Lefty is absent in the sample. As used in this context, “a sample” includes, but is not limited to, tumor cells, tissue samples, and bodily fluids as defined herein. In a non-limiting example, the sample can be serum.
In certain embodiments, the presence of Nodal can be detected by assaying for the Nodal gene or gene product. For example, a nucleic acid based assay or a protein based assay can be used to detect the presence of Nodal in a tumor sample. Exemplary assays that can be used to detect Nodal include those described herein. The presence of Lefty can be similarly detected. Those of skill in the art readily recognize that other assays can be designed following conventional methods as described, for example, in Sambrook et al., 2001, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 3rd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.
In another embodiment, compounds for treating aggressive tumors may be identified by providing a plurality of cells that express Nodal, assaying the cells for Nodal activity in the presence and absence of a candidate compound, and identifying the compound as a compound suitable for treating aggressive tumors if the Nodal activity is less in the presence of the compound than in the absence of the candidate compound. As used in this context, “Nodal activity” refers Nodal expression and/or to any of the activities recited herein, including maintaining tumor cell plasticity, tumorgenicity and aggressiveness.
In another method of the invention, the effectiveness of a pharmaceutical composition as an agent for treating aggressive tumors in a patient may be monitored. The method comprises obtaining a first sample from a patient; assaying the first sample for the presence of Nodal; administering an amount a pharmaceutical composition to the patient; assaying subsequently-collected biological samples from the patient for the presence of Nodal; and comparing the amount of Nodal detected in the first sample with the amount of Nodal detected in the subsequent samples, wherein the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical composition is monitored by detecting changes in the amount of Nodal in the subsequently-collected samples compared with the first sample. As used in this context, “a sample” or “biological sample” includes, but is not limited to, tumor cells, tissue samples, and bodily fluids as defined herein. In a non-limiting example, the sample can be serum.
In another method of the invention, the presence of aggressive tumor cells in a mammal may be detected by obtaining a sample of tumor cells from a patient; conducting a sequence based methylation analysis of the Nodal CpG island in the tumor cells; comparing the degree of methylation in the CpG island of Nodal in the tumor cells to that of non-aggressive or non-tumor cells; and correlating hypermethylation of Nodal with the presence of aggressive tumor cells. The sequence based methylation analysis may be based on the entirety of the CpG island or on a subsection thereof. In a further method of the invention the presence of cells having a dedifferentiated, multipotent plastic phenotype in a mammal may be detected by obtaining a sample from a mammal; assaying the sample for the presence of Nodal; and correlating the presence of Nodal with the presence cells having a dedifferentiated, multipotent plastic phenotype. The sample may be a bodily fluid. Bodily fluids include, but are not limited to, whole blood, blood plasma, blood serum, urine, semen, saliva, lymph fluid, meningal fluid, amniotic fluid, glandular fluid, sputum and cerebrospinal fluid. Bodily fluid also includes experimentally separated fractions of all of the preceding and solutions or mixtures containing homogenized solid material, such tissues and biopsy samples. These methods may be used as a prognostic or diagnostic assay for aggressive cancer or susceptibility to aggressive cancer, including, but not limited to, melanoma and breast cancer.
In other embodiments, the invention provides methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of an inhibitor of Nodal activity.
The invention also provides methods of treating aggressive tumors in a mammal comprising administering to the mammal, having at least one tumor cell present in its body, an effective amount of an inhibitor of Nodal activity. As used herein, the phrase “treating aggressive tumors” refers to a method comprising administering a Nodal inhibitor to a mammal in need thereof, wherein the Nodal inhibitor prevents aggressive tumor cell growth, and/or prevents aggressive tumor cell metastasis in the mammal.
In one embodiment, the invention provides methods of inhibiting tumor cell growth and/or treating aggressive tumors comprising contacting the tumor cell with a microenvironment that comprises human embryonic stem cells or a microenvironment that has been preconditioned by human embryonic stem cells (“CMTX”). In certain embodiments, the basement membrane matrix can be Matrigel™. There is variability between lots of Matrigel basement membrane matrix, which can impact the preparation of the preconditioned media. More specifically, occasional lots of Matrigel will not produce a preconditioned microenvironment that has the tumor inhibiting properties of the invention. In such situations, an alternate lot can be used. One of skill in the art will understand that other matrices may be used.
As used herein, an “inhibitor” can be any chemical compound, nucleic acid molecule, endogenous protein such as Lefty A/B, peptide or polypeptide such as an antibody against Nodal that can reduce Nodal activity or interfere with expression of a Nodal gene. Included within the scope of the term “inhibitor” is any combination of two or more such inhibitors administered concurrently or separately and in any order. A Nodal inhibitor can inhibit the activity of a Nodal protein either directly or indirectly. Direct inhibition can be accomplished, for example, by binding to a Nodal protein and thereby preventing the Nodal protein from binding an intended target, such as a receptor. Indirect inhibition can be accomplished, for example, by binding to a Nodal protein's intended target, such as a receptor or binding partner, thereby blocking or reducing activity of the Nodal protein. Furthermore, a Nodal inhibitor can inhibit a Nodal gene by reducing or inhibiting expression of the gene, inter alia by interfering with gene expression (transcription, processing, translation, post-translational modification), for example, by interfering with the Nodal mRNA and blocking translation of the Nodal gene product or by post-translational modification of the Nodal gene product, or by causing changes in intracellular localization.
A Nodal inhibitor can also be an endogenously produced protein, including but not restricted to, Lefty A/B derived from the microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells. For example, Lefty A/B is produced in human embryonic stem cells and is secreted into the microenvironment surrounding the cells. Lefty A/B can be isolated from the microenvironment. Alternatively, Lefty A/B can be isolated from the human embryonic stem cells directly (i.e. before it is secreted into the microenvironment). In another embodiment, a Nodal inhibitor within the scope of the invention is recombinant Lefty A/B (rLefty) that may be prepared by any conventional methods known in the art. Lefty A/B may be glycosylated or non-glycosylated. In certain embodiments, Nodal inhibitors in accordance with the invention are glycosylated Lefty A/B produced by hESCs. In other embodiments, glycosylated Lefty A/B may be prepared by using CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary) cells. In some instances, glycosylated Lefty A/B may be a more potent inhibitor of Nodal than its non-glycosylated or recombinant counterpart, and may therefore be administered in therapeutic applications at a lower dose.
In other embodiments, Nodal inhibitors are molecules which interfere with Nodal signaling, such as activin-like kinase (ALK) inhibitors. For example, Nodal propagates its signal by binding to heterodimeric complexes between type I (ALK 4/5/7) and type II (ActRIIB) activin-like kinase receptors. Assembly of the complex causes phosphorylation and activation of ALK 4/5/7 by ActRIIB, which is followed by ALK 4/5/7 mediated phosphyorylation of Smad-2/3. Inhibitors of ALK 4, ALK 5, and/or ALK7 are included within the scope of the invention; as described herein, ALK 4/5/7 inhibitors can abrogate Nodal expression. In one embodiment, the ALK inhibitor is SB431542 (Sigma, St. Louis, Mo.).
In one embodiment, an inhibitor can be, for example, a small molecule inhibitor, an antibody, a nucleic acid such as an antisense oligonucleotide, a short interfering RNA (siRNA) molecule, or a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) molecule. In addition, such inhibitors can be specifically designed using the methods described herein or using methods known in the art.
In certain embodiments, an antisense oligonucleotide is complementary to at least a portion of a Nodal gene, so long as hybridization of the antisense oligonucleotide inhibits Nodal activity. The term “oligonucleotide” as used herein includes naturally occurring, and modified nucleotides linked together by naturally occurring, and/or non-naturally occurring oligonucleotide linkages. Oligonucleotides are a polynucleotide subset generally comprising no more than 200 nucleotides. In certain embodiments, oligonucleotides are 10 to 60 nucleotides in length. In certain embodiments, oligonucleotides are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, or 30 to 40 bases in length. Oligonucleotides are single stranded, e.g. for use in the construction of a gene mutant using site directed mutagenesis techniques.
The oligonucleotides of the invention may also comprise nucleotide analogs that may be better suited as therapeutic or experimental reagents. An example of an oligonucleotide analogue is a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) wherein the deoxyribose (or ribose) phosphate backbone in the DNA (or RNA), is replaced with a polyamide backbone which is similar to that found in peptides (P. E. Nielsen, et al Science, 1991, 254, 1497). PNA analogues have been shown to be resistant to degradation by enzymes and to have extended lives in vivo and in vitro. PNAs also bind stronger to a complimentary DNA sequence due to the lack of charge repulsion between the PNA strand and the DNA strand. Other oligonucleotides may contain nucleotides containing polymer backbones, cyclic backbones, or acyclic backbones. For example, the nucleotides may have morpholino backbone structures (U.S. Pat. No. 5,034,506). Oligonucleotides may also contain groups such as reporter groups, a group for improving the pharmacokinetic properties of an oligonucleotide, or a group for improving the pharmacodynamic properties of an oligonucleotide. Oligonucleotides may also have sugar mimetics.
The antisense nucleic acid molecules may be constructed using chemical synthesis and enzymatic ligation reactions using procedures known in the art. The antisense nucleic acid molecules of the invention or a fragment thereof, may be chemically synthesized using naturally occurring nucleotides or variously modified nucleotides designed to increase the biological stability of the molecules or to increase the physical stability of the duplex formed with mRNA or the native gene e.g. phosphorothioate derivatives and acridine substituted nucleotides. The antisense sequences may be produced biologically using an expression vector introduced into cells in the form of a recombinant plasmid, phagemid or attenuated virus in which antisense sequences are produced under the control of a high efficiency regulatory region, the activity of which may be determined by the cell type into which the vector is introduced.
In one embodiment, the Nodal inhibitors of the invention are anti-Nodal Morpholinos.
In one embodiment, certain inhibitors provided by the invention are species of short interfering RNA (siRNA). The term “short interfering RNA” or “siRNA” as used herein refers to a double stranded nucleic acid molecule capable of RNA interference or “RNAi”, as disclosed, for example, in Bass, 2001, Nature 411: 428-429; Elbashir et al., 2001, Nature 411: 494-498; and Kreutzer et al., International PCT Publication No. WO 00/44895; Zernicka-Goetz et al., International PCT Publication No. WO 01/36646; Fire, International PCT Publication No. WO 99/32619; Plaetinck et al., International PCT Publication No. WO 00/01846; Mello and Fire, International PCT Publication No. WO 01/29058; Deschamps-Depaillette, International PCT Publication No. WO 99/07409; and Li et al., International PCT Publication No. WO 00/44914. As used herein, siRNA molecules need not be limited to those molecules containing only RNA, but further encompasses chemically modified nucleotides and non-nucleotides having RNAi capacity or activity. Specific siRNA molecules that inhibit Nodal activity can be designed using methods known to those of skill in the art or commercially available technology (such as technology provided by Dharmacon Research, Lafayette, Colo.).
In another embodiment, the Nodal inhibitors of the invention include any chemical compounds, nucleic acids, proteins, peptides, polypeptides, antibodies, or other molecules that inhibit Notch. In certain embodiments, the Nodal inhibitors are Notch4 inhibitors. In certain embodiments the Nodal inhibitors are Notch siRNAs. In certain embodiments, the Nodal inhibitors are Notch4 siRNAs.
In certain embodiments, the invention provides antibodies or immunologically functional fragments thereof that selectively bind to Nodal and methods for selectively inhibiting or interfering with the activity of Nodal proteins. Standard methods for preparation of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies and immunologically active fragments thereof are well known in the art, for example as described in Harlow and Lane (1988, A
In preferred embodiments, methods of the invention comprise the step of administering a pharmaceutical composition comprising an effective amount of one or a plurality of Nodal inhibitors together with a pharmaceutically acceptable diluent, carrier, solubilizer, emulsifier, preservative and/or adjuvant, wherein the pharmaceutical composition is capable of inducing a desired therapeutic effect when properly administered to a patient. Preferably, acceptable formulation materials are nontoxic to recipients at the dosages and concentrations employed.
The expression “effective amount” in reference to a pharmaceutical composition comprising one or a plurality of Nodal inhibitors is understood to mean, according to the invention, an amount of the said pharmaceutical composition that is capable of preventing or reducing growth of aggressive melanoma cells. For example, a pharmaceutical composition is therapeutically effective where a patient who has aggressive melanoma has a reduced number of melanoma cells and/or reduced metastases of melanoma cells after treatment with the pharmaceutical composition compared with prior to said treatment. A pharmaceutical composition administered to a patient is also therapeutically effective where metastases of melanoma cells are prevented from occurring in a patient who has melanoma, has a history of melanoma (e.g. patient is in remission), or who is considered likely to present with melanoma (e.g. has a genetic disposition favoring onset of melanoma).
In certain embodiments, a pharmaceutical composition useful in the methods of the invention may contain formulation materials for modifying, maintaining or preserving, for example, the pH, osmolarity, viscosity, clarity, color, isotonicity, odor, sterility, stability, rate of dissolution or release, adsorption or penetration of the composition. In such embodiments, suitable formulation materials include, but are not limited to, amino acids (such as glycine, glutamine, asparagine, arginine or lysine); antimicrobials; antioxidants (such as ascorbic acid, sodium sulfite or sodium hydrogen-sulfite); buffers (such as borate, bicarbonate, Tris-HCl, citrates, phosphates or other organic acids); bulking agents (such as mannitol or glycine); chelating agents (such as ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA)); complexing agents (such as caffeine, polyvinylpyrrolidone, beta-cyclodextrin or hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin); fillers; monosaccharides; disaccharides; and other carbohydrates (such as glucose, mannose or dextrins); proteins (such as serum albumin, gelatin or immunoglobulins); coloring, flavoring and diluting agents; emulsifying agents; hydrophilic polymers (such as polyvinylpyrrolidone); low molecular weight polypeptides; salt-forming counterions (such as sodium); preservatives (such as benzalkonium chloride, benzoic acid, salicylic acid, thimerosal, phenethyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, chlorhexidine, sorbic acid or hydrogen peroxide); solvents (such as glycerin, propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol); sugar alcohols (such as mannitol or sorbitol); suspending agents; surfactants or wetting agents (such as pluronics, PEG, sorbitan esters, polysorbates such as polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80, triton, tromethamine, lecithin, cholesterol, tyloxapal); stability enhancing agents (such as sucrose or sorbitol); tonicity enhancing agents (such as alkali metal halides, preferably sodium or potassium chloride, mannitol sorbitol); delivery vehicles; diluents; excipients and/or pharmaceutical adjuvants. See REMINGTON'S PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES, 18th Edition, (A. R. Gennaro, ed.), 1990, Mack Publishing Company.
In certain embodiments, the optimal pharmaceutical composition will be determined by one skilled in the art depending upon, for example, the intended route of administration, delivery format and desired dosage. See, for example, REMINGTON'S PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES, supra. In certain embodiments, such compositions may influence the physical state, stability, rate of in vivo release and rate of in vivo clearance of the Nodal inhibitors.
In certain embodiments, the primary vehicle or carrier in a pharmaceutical composition may be either aqueous or non-aqueous in nature. For example, a suitable vehicle or carrier may be water for injection, physiological saline solution or artificial cerebrospinal fluid, possibly supplemented with other materials common in compositions for parenteral administration. Neutral buffered saline or saline mixed with serum albumin are further exemplary vehicles. In preferred embodiments, pharmaceutical compositions of the present invention comprise Tris buffer of about pH 7.0-8.5, or acetate buffer of about pH 4.0-5.5, and may further include sorbitol, sucrose, Tween-20 and/or a suitable substitute therefor. In certain embodiments of the invention, Nodal inhibitor compositions may be prepared for storage by mixing the selected composition having the desired degree of purity with optional formulation agents (REMINGTON'S PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES, supra) in the form of a lyophilized cake or an aqueous solution. Further, in certain embodiments, the Nodal inhibitor product may be formulated as a lyophilizate using appropriate excipients such as sucrose.
The pharmaceutical compositions of the invention can be selected for parenteral delivery. Alternatively, the compositions may be selected for inhalation or for delivery through the digestive tract, such as orally. Preparation of such pharmaceutically acceptable compositions is within the skill of the art.
The formulation components are present preferably in concentrations that are acceptable to the site of administration. In certain embodiments, buffers are used to maintain the composition at physiological pH or at a slightly lower pH, typically within a pH range of from about 5 to about 8.
When parenteral administration is contemplated, the therapeutic compositions for use in this invention may be provided in the form of a pyrogen-free, parenterally acceptable aqueous solution comprising the desired Nodal inhibitor in a pharmaceutically acceptable vehicle. A particularly suitable vehicle for parenteral injection is sterile distilled water in which the Nodal inhibitor is formulated as a sterile, isotonic solution, properly preserved. In certain embodiments, the preparation can involve the formulation of the desired molecule with an agent, such as injectable microspheres, bio-erodible particles, polymeric compounds (such as polylactic acid or polyglycolic acid), beads or liposomes, that may provide controlled or sustained release of the product which can be delivered via depot injection. In certain embodiments, hyaluronic acid may also be used to promote sustained duration in the circulation. In certain embodiments, implantable drug delivery devices may be used to introduce the desired Nodal inhibitor.
Pharmaceutical compositions of the invention can be formulated for inhalation. In these embodiments, Nodal inhibitors are advantageously formulated as a dry, inhalable powder. In preferred embodiments, Nodal inhibitor inhalation solutions may also be formulated with a propellant for aerosol delivery. In certain embodiments, solutions may be nebulized. Pulmonary administration and formulation methods therefore are further described in International Patent Application No. PCT/US94/001875, which is incorporated by reference and describes pulmonary delivery of chemically modified proteins.
It is also contemplated that formulations can be administered orally. Nodal inhibitors that are administered in this fashion can be formulated with or without carriers customarily used in the compounding of solid dosage forms such as tablets and capsules. In certain embodiments, a capsule may be designed to release the active portion of the formulation at the point in the gastrointestinal tract when bioavailability is maximized and pre-systemic degradation is minimized. Additional agents can be included to facilitate absorption of the Nodal inhibitor. Diluents, flavorings, low melting point waxes, vegetable oils, lubricants, suspending agents, tablet disintegrating agents, and binders may also be employed.
A pharmaceutical composition of the invention is preferably provided to comprise an effective quantity of one or a plurality of Nodal inhibitors in a mixture with non-toxic excipients that are suitable for the manufacture of tablets. By dissolving the tablets in sterile water, or another appropriate vehicle, solutions may be prepared in unit-dose form. Suitable excipients include, but are not limited to, inert diluents, such as calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate or bicarbonate, lactose, or calcium phosphate; or binding agents, such as starch, gelatin, or acacia; or lubricating agents such as magnesium stearate, stearic acid, or talc.
Additional pharmaceutical compositions will be evident to those skilled in the art, including formulations involving Nodal inhibitors in sustained- or controlled-delivery formulations. Techniques for formulating a variety of other sustained- or controlled-delivery means, such as liposome carriers, bio-erodible microparticles or porous beads and depot injections, are also known to those skilled in the art. See, for example, International Patent Application No. PCT/US93/00829, which is incorporated by reference and describes controlled release of porous polymeric microparticles for delivery of pharmaceutical compositions. Sustained-release preparations may include semipermeable polymer matrices in the form of shaped articles, e.g. films, or microcapsules. Sustained release matrices may include polyesters, hydrogels, polylactides (as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,773,919 and European Patent Application Publication No. EP 058481, each of which is incorporated by reference), copolymers of L-glutamic acid and gamma ethyl-L-glutamate (Sidman et al., 1983, Biopolymers 22:547-556), poly (2-hydroxyethyl-methacrylate) (Langer et al., 1981, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 15:167-277 and Langer, 1982, Chem. Tech. 12:98-105), ethylene vinyl acetate (Langer et al., supra) or poly-D(−)-3-hydroxybutyric acid (European Patent Application Publication No. EP 133,988). Sustained release compositions may also include liposomes that can be prepared by any of several methods known in the art. See e.g., Eppstein et al., 1985, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 82:3688-3692; European Patent Application Publication Nos. EP 036,676; EP 088,046 and EP 143,949, incorporated by reference.
Pharmaceutical compositions used for in vivo administration are typically provided as sterile preparations. Sterilization can be accomplished by filtration through sterile filtration membranes. When the composition is lyophilized, sterilization using this method may be conducted either prior to or following lyophilization and reconstitution. Compositions for parenteral administration can be stored in lyophilized form or in a solution. Parenteral compositions generally are placed into a container having a sterile access port, for example, an intravenous solution bag or vial having a stopper pierceable by a hypodermic injection needle.
Once the pharmaceutical composition has been formulated, it may be stored in sterile vials as a solution, suspension, gel, emulsion, solid, or as a dehydrated or lyophilized powder. Such formulations may be stored either in a ready-to-use form or in a form (e.g., lyophilized) that is reconstituted prior to administration.
Nodal inhibitors useful in the methods of the invention can be admixed, encapsulated, conjugated or otherwise associated with other molecules, molecule structures or mixtures of compounds, for example, liposomes, receptor targeted molecules, oral, rectal, topical or other formulations, for assisting in uptake, distribution and/or absorption in a patient, using methods that are well known in the pharmaceutical arts.
The Nodal inhibitors may be administered orally, topically, parenterally, by inhalation or spray or rectally in dosage unit formulations containing conventional non-toxic pharmaceutically acceptable carriers, adjuvants and vehicles. The term parenteral as used herein includes percutaneous, subcutaneous, intravascular (e.g., intravenous), intramuscular, or intrathecal injection or infusion techniques and the like.
Compositions intended for oral use may be prepared according to any method known to the art for the manufacture of pharmaceutical compositions and such compositions may contain one or more agents selected from the group consisting of sweetening agents, flavoring agents, coloring agents and preservative agents in order to provide pharmaceutically elegant and palatable preparations. Tablets contain the active ingredient in admixture with non-toxic pharmaceutically acceptable excipients that are suitable for the manufacture of tablets. These excipients may be for example, inert diluents, such as calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate, lactose, calcium phosphate or sodium phosphate; granulating and disintegrating agents, for example, corn starch, or alginic acid; binding agents, for example starch, gelatin or acacia, and lubricating agents, for example magnesium stearate, stearic acid or talc. The tablets may be uncoated or they may be coated by known techniques. In some cases such coatings may be prepared by known techniques to delay disintegration and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and thereby provide a sustained action over a longer period. For example, a time delay material such as glyceryl monosterate or glyceryl distearate may be employed.
Formulations for oral use may also be presented as hard gelatin capsules, wherein the active ingredient is mixed with an inert solid diluent, for example, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate or kaolin, or as soft gelatin capsules wherein the active ingredient is mixed with water or an oil medium, for example peanut oil, liquid paraffin or olive oil.
Formulations for oral use may also be presented as lozenges.
Aqueous suspensions contain the active materials in admixture with excipients suitable for the manufacture of aqueous suspensions. Such excipients are suspending agents, for example sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose, hydropropyl-methylcellulose, sodium alginate, polyvinylpyrrolidone, gum tragacanth and gum acacia; dispersing or wetting agents may be a naturally-occurring phosphatide, for example, lecithin, or condensation products of an alkylene oxide with fatty acids, for example polyoxyethylene stearate, or condensation products of ethylene oxide with long chain aliphatic alcohols, for example heptadecaethyleneoxycetanol, or condensation products of ethylene oxide with partial esters derived from fatty acids and a hexitol such as polyoxyethylene sorbitol monooleate, or condensation products of ethylene oxide with partial esters derived from fatty acids and hexitol anhydrides, for example polyethylene sorbitan monooleate. The aqueous suspensions may also contain one or more preservatives, for example ethyl, or n-propyl p-hydroxybenzoate, one or more coloring agents, one or more flavoring agents, and one or more sweetening agents, such as sucrose or saccharin.
Oily suspensions may be formulated by suspending the active ingredients in a vegetable oil, for example arachis oil, olive oil, sesame oil or coconut oil, or in a mineral oil such as liquid paraffin. The oily suspensions may contain a thickening agent, for example beeswax, hard paraffin or cetyl alcohol. Sweetening agents and flavoring agents may be added to provide palatable oral preparations. These compositions may be preserved by the addition of an anti-oxidant such as ascorbic acid.
Dispersible powders and granules suitable for preparation of an aqueous suspension by the addition of water provide the active ingredient in admixture with a dispersing or wetting agent, suspending agent and one or more preservatives. Suitable dispersing or wetting agents or suspending agents are exemplified by those already mentioned above. Additional excipients, for example sweetening, flavoring and coloring agents, may also be present.
Pharmaceutical compositions of the invention may also be in the form of oil-in-water emulsions. The oily phase may be a vegetable oil or a mineral oil or mixtures of these. Suitable emulsifying agents may be naturally-occurring gums, for example gum acacia or gum tragacanth, naturally-occurring phosphatides, for example soy bean, lecithin, and esters or partial esters derived from fatty acids and hexitol, anhydrides, for example sorbitan monooleate, and condensation products of the said partial esters with ethylene oxide, for example polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate. The emulsions may also contain sweetening and flavoring agents.
Syrups and elixirs may be formulated with sweetening agents, for example glycerol, propylene glycol, sorbitol, glucose or sucrose. Such formulations may also contain a demulcent, a preservative, flavoring and/or coloring agents. The pharmaceutical compositions may be in the form of a sterile injectable aqueous or oleaginous suspension. This suspension may be formulated according to the known art using those suitable dispersing or wetting agents and suspending agents that have been mentioned above. The sterile injectable preparation may also be a sterile injectable solution or suspension in a non-toxic parentally acceptable diluent or solvent, for example as a solution in 1,3-butanediol. Among the acceptable vehicles and solvents that may be employed are water, Ringer's solution and isotonic sodium chloride solution. In addition, sterile, fixed oils are conventionally employed as a solvent or suspending medium. For this purpose any bland fixed oil may be employed including synthetic mono- or diglycerides. In addition, fatty acids such as oleic acid find use in the preparation of injectables.
The Nodal inhibitors may also be administered in the form of suppositories, e.g., for rectal administration of the drug. These compositions can be prepared by mixing the drug with a suitable non-irritating excipient that is solid at ordinary temperatures but liquid at the rectal temperature and will therefore melt in the rectum to release the drug. Such materials include cocoa butter and polyethylene glycols.
Nodal inhibitors may be administered parenterally in a sterile medium. The drug, depending on the vehicle and concentration used, can either be suspended or dissolved in the vehicle. Advantageously, adjuvants such as local anesthetics, preservatives and buffering agents can be dissolved in the vehicle.
The formulations can also be preferably applied as a topical gel, spray, ointment or cream, or as a suppository, containing the active ingredients in a total amount of, for example, 0.075 to 30% w/w, preferably 0.2 to 20% w/w and most preferably 0.4 to 15% w/w. When formulated in an ointment, the active ingredients may be employed with either paraffinic or a water-miscible ointment base.
Alternatively, the active ingredients may be formulated in a cream with an oil-in-water cream base. If desired, the aqueous phase of the cream base may include, for example at least 30% w/w of a polyhydric alcohol such as propylene glycol, butane-1,3-diol, mannitol, sorbitol, glycerol, polyethylene glycol and mixtures thereof. The topical formulation may desirably include a compound which enhances absorption or penetration of the active ingredient through the skin or other affected areas. Examples of such dermal penetration enhancers include dimethylsulfoxide and related analogs.
The compounds of this invention can also be administered by a transdermal device. Preferably topical administration will be accomplished using a patch either of the reservoir and porous membrane type or of a solid matrix variety. In either case, the active agent is delivered continuously from the reservoir or microcapsules through a membrane into the active agent permeable adhesive, which is in contact with the skin or mucosa of the recipient. If the active agent is absorbed through the skin, a controlled and predetermined flow of the active agent is administered to the recipient. In the case of microcapsules, the encapsulating agent may also function as the membrane. The transdermal patch may include the compound in a suitable solvent system with an adhesive system, such as an acrylic emulsion, and a polyester patch.
The oily phase of the emulsions of this invention may be constituted from known ingredients in a known manner. While the phase may comprise merely an emulsifier, it may comprise a mixture of at least one emulsifier with a fat or an oil or with both a fat and an oil. Preferably, a hydrophilic emulsifier is included together with a lipophilic emulsifier which acts as a stabilizer. It is also preferred to include both an oil and a fat. Together, the emulsifier(s) with or without stabilizer(s) make-up the so-called emulsifying wax, and the wax together with the oil and fat make up the so-called emulsifying ointment base which forms the oily dispersed phase of the cream formulations. Emulsifiers and emulsion stabilizers suitable for use in the formulation of the present invention include Tween 60, Span 80, cetostearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, glyceryl monostearate, and sodium lauryl sulfate, among others.
The choice of suitable oils or fats for the formulation is based on achieving the desired cosmetic properties, since the solubility of the active compound in most oils likely to be used in pharmaceutical emulsion formulations is very low. Thus, the cream should preferably be a non-greasy, non-staining and washable product with suitable consistency to avoid leakage from tubes or other containers. Straight or branched chain, mono- or dibasic alkyl esters such as di-isoadipate, isocetyl stearate, propylene glycol diester of coconut fatty acids, isopropyl myristate, decyl oleate, isopropyl palmitate, butyl stearate, 2-ethylhexyl palmitate or a blend of branched chain esters may be used. These may be used alone or in combination depending on the properties required. Alternatively, high melting point lipids such as white soft paraffin and/or liquid paraffin or other mineral oils can be used.
For therapeutic purposes, the Nodal inhibitors of this invention are ordinarily combined with one or more adjuvants appropriate to the indicated route of administration. If administered by mouth, the compounds may be admixed with lactose, sucrose, starch powder, cellulose esters of alkanoic acids, cellulose alkyl esters, talc, stearic acid, magnesium stearate, magnesium oxide, sodium and calcium salts of phosphoric and sulfuric acids, gelatin, acacia gum, sodium alginate, polyvinylpyrrolidone, and/or polyvinyl alcohol, and then tableted or encapsulated for convenient administration. Such capsules or tablets may contain a controlled-release formulation as may be provided in a dispersion of active compound in hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose. Formulations for parenteral administration may be in the form of aqueous or non-aqueous isotonic sterile injection solutions or suspensions. These solutions and suspensions may be prepared from sterile powders or granules having one or more of the carriers or diluents mentioned for use in the formulations for oral administration. The compounds may be dissolved in water, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, ethanol, corn oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, benzyl alcohol, sodium chloride, and/or various buffers. Other adjuvants and modes of administration are well and widely known in the pharmaceutical art.
Dosage levels of the order of from about 0.1 mg to about 140 mg per kilogram of body weight per day are useful in the treatment of the above-indicated conditions (about 0.5 mg to about 14 g per patient per day). The amount of active ingredient that may be combined with the carrier materials to produce a single dosage form will vary depending upon the host treated and the particular mode of administration. Dosage unit forms will generally contain between from about 1 mg to about 500 mg of an active ingredient. The daily dose can be administered in one to four doses per day. In the case of skin conditions, it may be preferable to apply a topical preparation of compounds of this invention to the affected area two to four times a day.
It will be understood, however, that the specific dose level for any particular patient will depend upon a variety of factors including the activity of the specific compound employed, the age, body weight, general health, sex, diet, time of administration, route of administration, and rate of excretion, drug combination and the severity of the particular disease undergoing therapy.
For administration to non-human animals, the composition may also be added to the animal feed or drinking water. It may be convenient to formulate the animal feed and drinking water compositions so that the animal takes in a therapeutically appropriate quantity of the composition along with its diet. It may also be convenient to present the composition as a premix for addition to the feed or drinking water.
Dosing frequency will depend upon the pharmacokinetic parameters of the particular Nodal inhibitor used in the formulation. Typically, a clinician administers the composition until a dosage is reached that achieves the desired effect. The composition may therefore be administered as a single dose, or as two or more doses (which may or may not contain the same amount of the desired molecule) over time, or as a continuous infusion via an implantation device or catheter. Further refinement of the appropriate dosage is routinely made by those of ordinary skill in the art and is within the ambit of tasks routinely performed by them. Appropriate dosages may be ascertained through use of appropriate dose-response data. In certain embodiments, Nodal inhibitors can be administered to patients throughout an extended time period.
Pharmaceutical compositions and/or Nodal inhibitors can be administered alone or in combination with other therapeutic agents, in particular, in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents.
In addition, the invention provides methods for monitoring the effectiveness of a pharmaceutical composition as an agent for treating aggressive melanoma in a patient comprising the steps of: (a) obtaining a sample of skin cells from a patient; (b) assaying the skin cells for the presence of Nodal; (c) administering an amount a pharmaceutical composition to the patient; (d) repeating step (a) using a subsequently-collected biological sample obtained from the patient; and (e) comparing the amount of Nodal detected in the skin cells from step (a) with the amount of Nodal detected in the skin cells from step (c), wherein the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical composition is monitored by detecting changes in the amount of Nodal in the subsequently-collected skin cells compared with the skin cells taken in step (a).
Unless otherwise required by context, singular terms used herein shall include pluralities and plural terms shall include the singular.
The following examples, including the experiments conducted and results achieved are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.
As illustrated in
To further analyze epigenetic changes in the phenotype of C8161 cells exposed to the human embryonic stem cell microenvironment, Western blot and RT-PCR analyses of a melanocyte marker, Melan-A were performed (
Aggressive Tumor Cells are Less Invasive and Tumorigenic Following Culture on hESC Microenvironments
The aggressiveness of tumor cells is correlated with their ability to invade through the extracellular matrix; thus, the effect of hESC microenvironments on melanoma cell invasion was investigated. As illustrated in
Comparable results were found in vivo tumor formation. A microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells (H9 CMTX) was prepared as described above. C8161 human cutaneous melanoma cells were exposed to the H9 CMTX or Matrigel for 3 to 4 days prior to transplantation in a mouse model. Nude immunocompromised mice received an injection of the C8161 cells subcutaneously into the midscapular region (to mimic spontaneous metastatic dissemination found in human cancers). The animals were injected using a 25 or 27-gauge needle with 2.5×105 tumor cells/mouse in 0.05 ml RPMI media.
Tumor size was monitored on alternate days and was measured using a microcaliper. At the time of necropsy (19 days after injection), the mice were euthanized using CO2 compressed gas asphyxiation followed by cervical dislocation and the tumor and major organs were removed and prepared for histology. The sections were stained with anti-Nodal antibodies (R&D Systems) to determine Nodal expression in the tumors (see Example 6). As shown in
In order to elucidate the expression of key components of the Nodal signaling pathway in normal, neoplastic and stem cell types, Western blot analyses were conducted which revealed that in a manner similar to hESCs, metastatic melanoma (C8161) and breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cells express Nodal protein at approximately 48 kDA (
The Lefty proteins (Lefty-A, Lefty-B), divergent members of the TGF-β superfamily, spatially and temporally antagonize Nodal in embryological systems (Tabibzadeh et al., 2006, Stem Cells 24:1998-2006). Moreover, the Lefty genes are downstream targets of Nodal signaling, thereby providing a powerful negative-feedback loop for this pathway. Id. Using Western blot analysis it was determined that hESCs express Lefty protein at approximately 42, 34 and 28 kDAs. In contrast, Lefty is not expressed by metastatic breast carcinoma and melanoma cells or by corresponding normal somatic cell types (
Nodal propagates its signal by binding to heterodimeric complexes between type I (ALK 4/7) and type II (ActRIIB) activin-like kinase receptors. Genetic studies in zebrafish and mice have determined that Cripto, an Epidermal Growth Factor-Cripto-1/FRL1/cryptic (EGF-CFC) family member, directly associates with ALK 4 and Nodal and that these associations facilitate the ability of Nodal to propagate its signal (Schier et al.; Yeo et. al., 2001, Mol. Cell 7:949-957). Using Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy, it was determined that hESCs uniformly express high levels of Cripto at approximately 35 kDA; however, only a subpopulation of metastatic human melanoma (C8161) and breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cells express a relatively low level of Cripto (FIGS. 5A,C).
In order to analyze the expression of Nodal, Lefty and Cripto in other human stem cell types and in first trimester human cytotrophoblast cells (HTR-8/SVneo), Western blot analyses were conducted which revealed that umbilical cord derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC; SC00125) and adult MSCs do not express Nodal and Cripto, and that although amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (GM00473, GM00957A) and cytotrophoblast cells express Cripto, only the latter developmental cell type expresses an appreciable amount of Nodal (
In summary, like hESCs, cancer cells express Nodal, while unlike hESCs, they do not express Lefty. C8161 cells (human metastatic melanoma cells) and MDA-MB-231 cells (human metastatic breast carcinoma cells) expressed Nodal and Cripto (at a low level), and they did not express Lefty. Expression of Nodal, Lefty, and Cripto was undetectable in normal human melanocytes, Hs 578 Bst normal human myoepithelial cells, and HMEpC normal human mammary epithelial cells.
Nodal Expression Correlates with Tumor Progression
Human melanoma specimens were screened for the presence of Nodal protein. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival tissue was obtained from patients with primary or metastatic cutaneous melanoma (Loyola University Chicago, Ill.). Immunohistochemical staining was performed on a HNS 710i Automated Immunostainer (Richard-Allan Scientific (RAS), Kalamazoo, Mich.) with the Multi-Species HRP/AEC Detection Systems. Following deparaffinization in xylene, ethanol degradation, and antigen retrieval with citrate buffer, four blocking steps were applied: 0.03% hydrogen peroxide, Avidin and Biotin blocks (Avidin/Biotin blocking kit, Vector Laboratories, Inc., Burlingame, Calif.), and a Serum-Free protein block. Anti-Nodal antibody (20 μg/mL, R&D) was applied for 90 minutes. Slides were rinsed in TBS-T, incubated with biotinylated anti-goat IgG (2 μg/ml, Vector Labs), washed with TBS-T and incubated with the streptavidin peroxidase reagent for 15 minutes. Color was produced with AEC (red) substrate (RAS) and counterstaining with Mayer's hematoxylin. Samples were dehydrated in reagent grade alcohol and cover slipped with permanent mounting medium. Negative control reactions were conducted with ChromPure Goat IgG (Jackson Labs), isotype matched and used at the same concentration as the Nodal antibody.
The immunohistochemistry demonstrated that Nodal is absent in normal skin (
As with the positive correlation of Nodal expression with melanoma progression, such that Nodal protein is not expressed in normal melanocytes or radial growth phase melanomas, but is present in more aggressive vertical growth phase and metastatic lesions, immunohistochemical analysis of a human breast tissue microarray (TMA) revealed that Nodal protein is similarly absent in normal breast tissue, and that its expression is positively correlated with breast carcinoma progression (
The expression and prevalence of Nodal staining in breast tissue was designated as none, weak (<25%), moderate (25-75%) or strong (>75%). DCIS is ductal carcinoma in situ and IDC is invasive ductal carcinoma. Spearman's rank correlation showed a significant positive correlation between breast cancer progression and Nodal expression (P<0.05) (data summarized in Table 2).
Localization of Nodal and Lefty in hESC Matrices
Immunofluorescence localization with confocal microscopy was performed in order to visualize the deposition of Lefty into the microenvironment of hESCs. Utilizing this methodology, it was determined that Lefty protein localizes to the areas where hESCs are in contact with the underlying Matrigel matrix, and that hESC-derived Lefty permeates into the underlying matrix (
Nodal Expression Down-Regulated in Aggressive Tumor Cells Exposed to hESC Conditioned Matrix
A determination of the effects of H9 CMTX on Nodal expression in metastatic melanoma (C8161) and breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cells was undertaken. As illustrated in
As a functional correlate, it was determined that exposure of C8161 and MDA-MB-231 cells to H9 CTMX results in a significant reduction in their ability to undergo anchorage independent growth, and that this inhibition of in vitro clonogenicity can be partially rescued by the inclusion of recombinant Nodal (100 ng/mL) (
Protein lysates were prepared and quantified as previously described in Hess et al., 2001, Cancer Res. 61:3250-3255. Equal amounts of protein were separated by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions, and the resolved proteins were transferred onto Immobilon-P membranes (Millipore Corp., Bedford, Mass.). Membranes were blocked in 1% TBS, 0.1% Tween 20 (TBS-T) and 5% dry milk powder or 3% gelatin (for Nodal Westerns). Blots were incubated with anti-Nodal or anti-Lefty antibodies (Polyclonal rabbit anti-Nodal (H-110) 1:500 Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Polyclonal goat anti-Lefty 1:500 R&D Systems, Minneapolis, Minn.), washed in TBS-T, and incubated with the appropriate horseradish peroxidase-labeled secondary antibody. Secondary antibodies were detected by enhanced chemiluminescence (Super Signal; Pierce, Rockford, Ill.) and exposure to autoradiography film (Molecular Technologies, St Louis, Mo.). Nodal protein was detected as two major bands at ˜48 and ˜35 kDa representing precursor and pro-Nodal respectively. Nodal often appeared as multiple bands, likely due to degradation of protein modifications. All experiments were done at least three times.
Lefty is a Major hESC-Derived Factor Responsible for Inhibiting Nodal Expression and Clonogenicity in Metastatic Cancer Cells
As noted previously, the microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) leads to the reduction of Nodal expression and tumorgenicity in plastic metastatic melanoma and breast cancer cells exposed to the embryonic preconditioned matrix. It was determined that there is an abundance of the Nodal inhibitor Lefty within the hESC conditioned matrices (
Cancer cells were also exposed to Matrigel conditioned by hESCs in which Lefty protein expression was knocked down with FITC-tagged Morpholino oligonucleotides specific for Lefty-A and Lefty-B (MOLEFTY). The fluorescently-tagged Morpholinos could be detected microscopically in over 75% of the hESC colonies treated (
Additionally, Dynabeads covalently coupled to anti-Lefty antibody were utilized to isolate Lefty from hESCs cultured on a feeder-free Matrigel matrix. This purified hESC-derived Lefty was subsequently seeded into fresh Matrigel and the effects of the “Lefty-containing” matrix on cancer cell phenotype were examined. Western blot analysis revealed that hESC-derived Lefty abrogates and diminishes Nodal protein expression in metastatic melanoma (C8161) and breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cells, respectively (
Also, exposure of C8161 and MDA-MB-231 cells to “H9 Lefty-containing” matrix was found to significantly reduce anchorage independent growth, and this inhibition of in vitro clonogenicity could be completely rescued by the inclusion of recombinant Nodal (100 ng/mL) (
rLefty Capable of Inhibiting Nodal at Elevated Concentrations
As shown in the Western blot in
Lefty Derived from hESC's, Unlike Recombinant Lefty, is Glycosylated
In an effort to understand the disparate results between hESC-derived Lefty and rLefty on Nodal signaling, an analysis of glycoprotein content in rLefty-B, rLefty-A and a lysate from the H9 hESCs plus their conditioned matrix was undertaking. It was found that in contrast to the rLefty proteins, H9-derived Lefty is heavily glycosylated (
Nodal Inhibition and the Microenvironment of hESCs Abrogate Tumorigenicity In Vivo
The effects of the hESC microenvironment on the in vivo tumorigenicity of melanoma and breast carcinoma cells were examined using orthotopic mouse models. Exposure of metastatic melanoma (C8161) and breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cells to H9 CMTX resulted in a significant reduction in tumorigenicity as compared to cells exposed to unconditioned Matrigel (
In order to establish a mechanism by which exposure to the hESC microenvironment abrogates tumorigenicity, the effects of this treatment on the in vivo tumor cell proliferation-to-apoptosis ratio were analyzed. Using immunohistochemical staining for Ki67 as a measure of proliferation, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase biotin-dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) as a measure of apoptosis, it was determined that Nodal knock down and exposure to hESC CMTX correspondingly decreased the ratio of proliferation to apoptosis in metastatic C8161 melanoma cells and in metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells (FIGS. 13DE & 13E). Moreover, an in vitro analysis of cell proliferation demonstrated reduced proliferation in C8161 and MDA-MB-231 cells treated with MONodal relative to cells treated with MOControl (
The role of Nodal signaling in tumor formation was analyzed, and it was found that downregulation of Nodal signaling results in acquisition of a melanocyte-like phenotype and loss of the dediffernentiated, plastic phenotype.
Administration of an anti-Nodal Morpholino (MO Nodal) also resulted in down-regulation of Nodal, and an in vivo reduction in tumor formation. An in vitro colony forming assay was used to analyze colony-forming ability of poorly aggressive C81-61 cells, aggressive C8161 cells, C8161 cells treated with MONodal and C8161 cells treated with MONodal and rescued with recombinant Nodal (100 ng/mL). The assay was conducted using 50,000 cells suspended in 0.35% agarose in RPMI containing 10% serum, which were plated into 6-well dishes on 0.5% agar in the same medium. Colonies grew, and pictures were taken at day 7. After 2 weeks, colonies were stained with Crystal Violet and counted.
Utilizing the in vitro assay, it was found that C8161 cells were able to form colonies in soft agar within 7 days, and that their less aggressive isogenic counterparts (C81-61) were not clonogenic (
As a corollary to these findings, an orthotopic mouse model was used to examine the effect of Nodal inhibition on melanoma tumor formation. For the experimental tumourigenesis model, 5 week old nude mice (Harlan, Madison, Wis.) were injected subcutaneously with 250,000 C8161 cells, treated with control or anti-Nodal Morpholinos, in 50 μL of complete RPMI. Tumor measurements were taken on days 3, 7, 14 and 17 post-injection, and mice were sacrificed on day 17. In vivo tumor formation in a mouse injected with C8161 cells treated with either MOControl or MONodal is shown in
Palpable subcutaneous tumors arose within 7 days following the injection of only 250,000 control C8161 cells. In contrast, knocking down Nodal expression resulted in a significant reduction in C8161 tumorigenicity (
Immunohistochemistry was used to analyze tumors from the mice, which showed that the tumors that formed in the MONodal treatment group started to regain Nodal expression by day 17 (
Additionally, poorly aggressive melanoma cells (C81-61) cells acquired tumorigenic potential when transfected with Nodal cDNA. C81-61 cells were transfected with either an empty vector or a Nodal expression construct (n=5). As shown in
Administration of an ALK 4/5/7 inhibitor resulted in a reduction of the expression of various vasculogenic mimicry plasticity biomarkers.
The experiments described above revealed that metastatic melanomas express the embryonic morphogen Nodal, that Nodal is essential for tumor formation, and that its effects can be mitigated through Nodal pathway inhibition, either directly or indirectly (e.g. through ALK inhibition).
To address the possible molecular mechanisms underlying the reprogramming of melanoma cells exposed to the hESC matrix microenvironments, an analysis of the Nodal promoter was initiated, a putative binding sequence effector for the Notch pathway (CBF-1) was discovered, and the possibility of molecular cross-talk between the Notch and Nodal pathways was investigated. Nodal expression in metastatic melanoma cells treated with Notch siRNAs was knocked down, particularly with Notch 4 siRNA. Conversely, Notch expression was relatively unaffected by knockdown of Nodal, suggesting that Notch is upstream of Nodal with possible molecular cross-talk.
As shown in
Hypermethylation of Nodal was observed in the highly metastatic C8161 cells, but not in the isogenically matched C81-61 melanoma cells, nor in melanocytes or hESCs (H9). Sequencing based methylation analyses, therefore, could be used to indicate the methylation status in human tumors, and hence serve as a valuable prognostic marker for disease state.
Nodal's methylation status is supported by work in Feinberg's laboratory showing that CTCF binding site methylation separates enhancers from promoters. (Gius, et. al., 2004, Cancer Cell 6:361-371) In that work, it was found that azacytidine shut down expression of as many genes as it activated; it is known now that this subset of genes contains CTCF binding sites within the promoter CpG island. In particular for Nodal, the sequence is CCGCGCTGGGTGCCCAG [SEQ ID NO: 1]. The consensus that was identified in genes activated by methylation is CCGCGN(N)GG(G)(N)GCC(N)CAG [SEQ ID NO:2], and Feinberg has directly demonstrated methylation dependent activation, with CTCF insulator binding abrogation in several promoters with this consensus sequence. Paradoxically, when this site is methylated, CTCF can no longer bind, and the promoter is enabled. This is a major imprinting mechanism, and has significant implications for how Nodal may be regulated during both cancer and development.
The derivation and phenotypic characteristics of the human melanoma cell lines have been previously described. Seftor, et. al., 2002, Clin. Experim. Metastas. 19:233-246; Seftor, et. al., 2005 Cancer Res. 65:10164-10169. The melanoma cell lines are maintained in RPMI 1640 medium (Invitrogen) supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS, Gemini Bioproducts) and 0.1% gentamycin sulfate with the exception of C81-61 cells which are maintained in Ham's F10 medium supplemented with 15% FBS, 1×Mito+ (BD Bioscience) and gentamycin sulfate. Normal human melanocytes are purchased (Cascade Biologics) or isolated from neonatal foreskins. Seftor, et. al., 2005. A single cell suspension is prepared, added to plastic flasks for the adherence of melanocytes and the cells propagated in Medium 254 with Human Melanocyte Growth Supplement (Cascade Biologics) including, 100 units/ml penicillin, 100 μg/ml streptomycin, and 250 ng/mL amphotericin B. The human embryonic stem cell lines are cultured as previously described. Thomson, et. al., 1998, Science 282:1145-1147. Briefly, cells are grown in 6-well plates precoated with 0.1% porcine gelatin and containing 1.9×105 irradiated mouse embryonic fibroblasts (strain CF-1; ATCC) per well. The cells are maintained in medium containing DMEM/F12 (1:1), 20% knock-out serum replacement, non-essential minimal amino acids, L-glutamine (Invitrogen), β-mercaptomethanol, and 4 ng/ml FGF-2 (R&D Systems), and are split with collagenase (1 mg/ml) before the colonies begin to overlap. The cultures are determined to be free of mycoplasma contamination using a PCR-based assay (Roche). The normal human neonatal epidermal melanocytes (HEMn-LP; Cascade Biologics, Portland Oreg.), myoepithelial cells (Hs 578 Bst; American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), Manassas, Va.) and primary mammary epithelial cells (HMEpC; Cell Applications Inc., San Diego Calif.) were maintained as per distributor instructions. Live umbilical cord blood stem cells (SC00125; New Jersey Stem Cell Resource at Coriell Institute for Medical Research) amniotic fluid derived stem cells (GM00473, GM00957A) and adult bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (Stem Cell Technologies, Vancouver BC, Canada) were maintained under the recommended conditions. The HTR-8/SVneo is a well characterized immortalized human extravillous cytotrophoblast cell line, and was maintained as previously described Graham et al., 1993, Exp. Cell Res. 206:204-211. Recombinant Nodal and Lefty (R&D Systems) were diluted as per manufacturer suggestions. The expression vector for wild type Nodal was kindly provided by Dr. Daniel Constam (Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Epalinges, Switzerland) and was transfected into C81-61 cells as previously described. Le Good et al., 2005, Curr. Biol. 15:31-36.
25-30 μl of a defined human matrix (50 μg/ml human laminin; 50 μg/ml human collagen IV in a 3 mg/ml human collagen I base; Sigma) are either spread onto coverslips or directly placed into 12-well culture dishes and polymerized with an application of 100% ethanol at room temperature. After extensive washes with PBS, hESC's are seeded onto the 3-D matrix in complete stem cell medium. After 3-4 days images are captured digitally using a Zeiss Televal inverted microscope and Hitachi HV-C20 CCD camera. The cells are then removed with 20 mM NH4OH followed by thorough washes with sterile water, PBS and then complete medium. The conditioned matrix is then analyzed by 2-D LDS-PAGE and Western blot directly, or reseeded with melanoma cells and incubated for an additional 3 days. The cells re then harvested for further biochemical, molecular and functional analyses.
Conditioned matrices were prepared using hESCs, melanocytes, myoepithelial cells, amniotic fluid derived stem cells, or trophoblast cells on growth factor-reduced Matrigel (14 mg/mL; BD Biosciences) as previously described. Postovit et al., 2006, Stem Cells 24: 501-505. In all cases, cells were 80-100% confluent during the conditioning of the matrix. Alternatively, hESC-derived Lefty protein was seeded into Matrigel prior to polymerization. Human melanoma (C8161) or breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cells, 2.5×105 cells/6-well dish, were subsequently exposed to this preconditioned matrix for 3 to 4 days.
The Membrane Invasion Culture System (MICS) chamber is used to evaluate the degree of tumor cell invasion through matrices in vitro (both stimulated and unstimulated) as described previously. Hendrix, M. J. C. et. al., 1992, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 84:165-174.
Cell proliferation is assayed by immunohistochemical staining of BrdU incorporation into newly synthesized DNA of replicating cells at various time points (BrdU Labeling and Detection Kit III; Roche). Assessment of proliferation index is monitored by Ki-67 expression.
1.5×104 cells were plated in individual wells of a 24-well dish under standard tissue culture conditions and cell counts were taken daily following harvesting.
Clonogenicity of cells are assessed as previously described. Hamburger, A. W., and Salmon, S. E., 1977, Science 197:461-463. Each parameter is tested in triplicate for clone formation in soft agar. Briefly, 104 cells are plated in 60 mm Petri dishes in complete medium placed over the soft agar. On specific days after the cells are plated, phase contrast images of the colonies are taken using a Zeiss Axiovert 25 with an Hitachi HCV-20 color camera.
Anchorage independent growth assays were conducted as previously described. Topczewska et al., 2006, Nat. Med. 12: 925-932.
Stem cells from the various 3-D preconditioned matrices are harvested and replated on an appropriate ECM in a specified differentiation media, as previously described. Hendrix et. al., 2003, Nature Rev. Cancer 3:411-421; Hsu et. al., 2004, Methods Mol. Med. 107:13-28; Pittenger et. al., 1999, Science 284:143-147
5 week old mice were injected subcutaneously with 250,000 C8161 or 500,000 C81-61 human cutaneous melanoma cells in 50 μL of complete RPMI; or 500,000 MDA-MB-231 cells in 50 μL of complete RPMI were injected into the mammary fat pad of 8 week old mice. When tumors became palpable measurements were taken twice per week.
Analysis of extracellular matrix components before and after conditioning by the different cells is performed using Invitrogen's 3-10 pH IPG strips in the first dimension and 4-12% Bis/Tris LDS-polyacrylamide gradient gels in the second dimension using MES (proteins up to ˜100 kDa) or MOPS (proteins >100 kDa) reservoir buffers, as per the manufacturer's protocols. The gels are stained with Sypro Red then electroblotted onto Immobilon P membranes (Millipore) for Western analysis using specific extracellular matrix antibodies (Chemicon; R&D Systems; Life Technologies).
Recovery of Lefty from Cell Conditioned Matrices
M-280 tosylactivated Dynabeads (Dynal Biotech) are covalently coupled to anti-Lefty antibody (M-20:sc7408; Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.) at a final concentration of 8 μg antibody/1×107 beads as per the manufacturer's protocol. The cell conditioned matrix is solubilized in RIPA buffer, sonicated, centrifuged and the supernatant mixed by rotation with the beads for 1 hour at 4° C. After washing twice with PBS, Lefty is recovered using either 50 mM glycine-HCl (pH 3.0), then normalized to pH 7.4 with a 0.1 volume of 1 M Tris pH 8.5, or 0.2 M Tris pH8.5 plus 0.5 M NaCl.
Total RNA was isolated using TRIzol reagent (Invitrogen) and 1 μg was reverse transcribed as previously described. Topczewska et al., 2006. Real-time PCR was performed as previously described (Id.) using TaqMan® gene expression human primer/probe sets for the following genes: VEGF (Hs00173626_ml), TSP-1 (Hs00170236_ml), Ki67 (Hs00606991_ml), Leftyl/B (Hs00764128_sl), Nodal (Hs00250630_sl). Target gene expression was normalized to the endogenous control gene GAPDH (GAPDH: 4333764F), RPLPO (RPLPO: 4333761F) and/or 18S rRNA (Hs99999901_sl). Data was analyzed using Applied Biosystems Sequence Detection Software (Version 1.2.3).
Fluorescence Activated Cell (FAC) analyses and sorting are conducted using the BD FACsAria. Prior to FAC analysis, cells are incubated with antibodies as per manufacturer instructions and intracellular proteins detected in cells that have been previously permeabilized. The FAC protocols are optimized for both cell surface proteins (such as CD34) and intracellular proteins (such as keratins). Live cell sorts are conducted using a 100 μm nozzle and aseptic technique. Successful live sorts are performed against cell surface proteins, fluorescently labeled cells and cells containing fluorescent anti-sense Morpholinos.
Protein lysates underwent SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and transfer and were stained for glycoproteins using the Pro-Q Emerald 300 staining kit (Molecular Probes). After drying the blot, glycoproteins were visualized using an ultraviolet tansilluminator and an image of the green fluorescing proteins captured using a color CCD camera (Toshiba) equipped with a deep yellow #15 filter. The blot was then rehydrated as per the manufacturer's instructions and Lefty protein was detected with immunoblotting.
Real-time biophotonic imaging of GFP-labeled tumor cells in the mouse model(s) is performed using a Xenogen IVIS Imaging System 200 Series imager. This system contains a custom lens and improved resolution with single cell sensitivity for in vitro analyses. A laser scanner and associated software provides an ability to perform 3-D surface topography for single-view diffuse tomographic reconstructions of internal sources in order to track tumor formation and metastatic potential of GFP-labeled tumor cells. Quantitative in vivo assays are performed using dual reporters to differentiate increases in cell proliferation from increases in specific gene expression.
The Veritas Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) system (Arcturus) combines a three objective lens microscope (up to 40×) for visualizing a sample mounted on a slide and selecting the areas of interest, a UV laser for cutting around the perimeter of the areas of interest, and a IR laser that melts and thereby sticks the surface of a collector cap to these areas, or individual cells for isolation. The Veritas LCM can be used for isolating live cells cultured on 3-D matrices which have been cast in the etched space of a specially made membrane containing slide compatible with the Veritas system (PEN frame slides). Captured material is subsequently lysed for RNA isolation (Picopure, Arcturus) and downstream applications including Q-PCR and microarray gene expression analysis.
Immuno-confocal microcopy is performed using a Zeiss LSM 510 META Confocal Microscope. Prior to analysis, 3-D cultures or tissue sections are incubated with specific antibodies against target proteins as per protocols previously established in the laboratory.
3-D cultures or tissue samples are placed on subbed microscope slides, and prepared as previously described. Kulesa, et. al., 2000, Develop. 127 (13):2843-2852.
Nodal, and Lefty protein expression were inhibited using anti-sense Morpholino oligonucleotides (Gene Tools Inc., Philomath, Oreg.). The Morpholino sequences were selected based on manufacturer's recommendations (21-25 mer antisense). Fluoroscein (FITC)-conjugated control (5′-CCTCTTACCTCAGTTACAATTTATA-3′) [SEQ ID NO: 19], Nodal (5′-AAGCAGCACCTCCAGCCCTTATATC-3′) [SEQ ID NO: 20], Lefty-A (5′-GCCACATGGTGCTGCCCTGGG-3′) [SEQ ID NO: 21], and Lefty-B (5′CTGCATGGTGCTGCCCTGGAGGA-3′) [SEQ ID NO: 22]. Morpholinos (20 μM) were delivered using the scrape method. Topczewska et al., 2006. Cancer cells were sorted for FITC and were recovered for 1 day prior to experimentation.
Knockdown of Gene Expression by siRNA
Cells are plated in 6-well tissue culture plates and allowed to grow to 50% confluence in serum containing, antibiotic-free medium. The cells are then transfected with 10 or 100 nM of a gene-specific siRNA or a non-specific siRNA control using oligoFECTAMINE according to manufacturer's specifications (Invitrogen). The cells are then harvested 3 days post transfection and assessed for gene expression by RT-PCR, Q-PCR and Western blot analysis, as well as functional assays. Quantitative PCR (Q-PCR): Total RNA is isolated from cells using Trizol RNA isolation reagent (Invitrogen) according to manufacturer's specifications. Reverse transcription of the total RNA is performed in a Robocycler gradient 96 thermocycler (Stratagene) using the Advantage PCR kit according to the manufacturer's instructions (Clontech). Q-PCR is performed using a 7500 Real Time PCR System (Applied Biosystems) and TaqMan® gene expression primer/probe sets (Applied Biosystems). Briefly, 5 μl cDNA, 1.25 μl 20×Assays-on-Demand Gene Expression Assay Mix and 12.5 μl 2×TaqMan® Universal PCR Master Mix in a total of 25 μl are amplified with the following thermocycler protocol: 1 cycle at 50° C. for 2 min; 1 cycle at 95° C. for 10 min; and 40 cycles at 95° C. for 15 seconds/60° C. for 1 min. All data is analyzed with the Sequence Detection Software (version 1.2.3, Applied Biosystems), and expression of each target gene normalized to an endogenous control gene. Each experiment is repeated twice and each sample is performed in triplicate.
Microarray and bioinformatics analyses of the cells is performed using the U133A Human Genome Array from Affymetrix as a cooperative agreement with Translational Genomics (TGen; Phoenix, Ariz.; Dr. Jeffrey Trent).
Genomic DNA is isolated from cells using the PUREGENE DNA isolation kit (Gentra Systems). Five μg of gDNA is digested with EcoRI, extracted with phenol:chloroform, ethanol precipitated, and resuspended in sterile distilled water, as previously described. O'Hagan et. al., 2003, Cancer Res. 53:5352-5356.
All statistical analyses are performed using Microsoft Excel's spreadsheet software with the majority of statistics consisting of a “one-way analysis of variance” (ANOVA) determination with a value of p<0.05 deemed significant. For the orthotopic mouse tumor formation studies, we determined statistical significance using the Kruskal-Wallis One Way Analysis of Variance on Ranks, followed by Dunn's method or a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by the Student-Newman-Keuls method for pairwise multiple comparisons. For the clonogenic and proliferation assays we determined statistical significance using ANOVA followed by the Student-Newman-Keuls method for pairwise multiple comparisons. For the correlation of breast cancer stage and Nodal expression, a Spearman Rank Order Correlation was employed. In all cases, differences were statistically significant at P<0.05.
Analysis of DNA methylation by sequencing of sodium bisulfite-treated DNA
Genomic DNA is obtained by digestion with proteinase K (Quiagen) followed by phenol/chloroform extraction, and is subjected to sodium bisulfite treatment to modify unmethylated cytosine to uracil using the ‘CpGenome™ DNA Modification Kit’ (Chemicon International). Bisulfite-treated DNA is amplified by a nested-PCR protocol using the primers described in Table 1.
PCR is performed in a volume of 25 μl containing PCR Buffer (Qiagen); 1.5 mM of MgCl2 (Qiagen); 200 μM of dNTPs (Invitrogen); 0.32 μM of each primer and 1 U of Hot Start Taq Plus DNA Polymerase (Qiagen). The PCR conditions are: 94° C. for 10 min, 94° C. for 3 min, 48° C. for 3 min, 72° C. for 2 min one cycle; 94° C. for 3 min, 50° C. for 3 min, 72° C. for 2 min five cycles and 94° C. for 1 min, 52° C. for 1 min, 72° C. for 1 min 35 cycles for the first reaction and the same annealing temperatures (48°, 50° and 52° C.) for the nested reaction. Amplified products are purified using the Gel Purification Kit (Qiagen) and are ligated to a vector using the TOPO TA Cloning Kit (Invitrogen). Twenty four positive clones are sequenced for each sample using the vector's forward and reverse primers. DNA sequencing reactions are performed using the ‘DNA dRhodamine Terminator Cycle Sequencing Ready reaction’ kit (Applied Biosystems) and an ABI3730x1 sequencer (Applied Biosystems) according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Protein lysates were prepared and quantified as previously described in Hess et al., 2001, Cancer Res. 61:3250-3255. Equal amounts of protein were separated by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions, and the resolved proteins were transferred onto Immobilon-P membranes (Millipore Corp., Bedford, Mass.). Membranes were blocked in 1% TBS, 0.1% Tween 20 (TBS-T) and 5% dry milk powder or 3% gelatin (for Nodal Westerns). Blots were incubated with primary antibody (Table 2), washed in TBS-T or TBS-T containing 0.5M NaCl for the Nodal Westerns, and incubated with the appropriate horseradish peroxidase-labeled secondary antibody. Secondary antibodies were detected by enhanced chemiluminescence (Super Signal; Pierce, Rockford, Ill.) and exposure to autoradiography film (Molecular Technologies, St Louis, Mo.). Nodal protein was detected as two major bands at ˜48 and ˜35 kDa representing precursor and pro-Nodal respectively. Nodal often appeared as multiple bands, likely due to degradation of protein modifications.
Cells were fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde, made permeable with 20 mM Hepes, 0.5% TritonX-100 and blocked with serum-free protein block (DAKO, Carpinteria, Calif.). Primary antibodies were diluted in antibody dilutent (DAKO) to the concentrations outlined in SI Table 2, and appropriate fluorochrome-conjugated secondary antibodies were used according to manufacturer recommendations. For certain images, nuclei were stained with DAPI (0.1 mg/mL; Molecular Probes), and images were obtained using confocal microscopy (Zeiss 510 META, Carl Zeiss Inc.).
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival tissue was obtained from patients with primary or metastatic cutaneous melanoma (Loyola University Chicago, Ill.). Immunohistochemical staining was performed on a HNS 710i Automated Immunostainer (Richard-Allan Scientific (RAS), Kalamazoo, Mich.) with the Multi-Species HRP/AEC Detection Systems. Following deparaffinization in xylene, ethanol degradation, and antigen retrieval with citrate buffer, four blocking steps were applied: 0.03% hydrogen peroxide, Avidin and Biotin blocks (Avidin/Biotin blocking kit, Vector Laboratories, Inc., Burlingame, Calif.), and a Serum-Free protein block. Anti-Nodal antibody (20 μg/mL, R&D Systems, Minneapolis, Minn.) was applied for 90 minutes. Slides were rinsed in TBS-T, incubated with biotinylated anti-goat IgG (2 μg/ml, Vector Labs), washed with TBS-T and incubated with the streptavidin peroxidase reagent for 15 minutes. Color was produced with AEC (red) substrate (RAS) and counterstaining with Mayer's hematoxylin. Samples were dehydrated in reagent grade alcohol and cover slipped with permanent mounting medium. Negative control reactions were conducted with ChromPure Goat IgG (Jackson Labs), isotype matched and used at the same concentration as the Nodal antibody. Immunohistochemical staining for Nodal in a breast carcinoma progression TMA (CBL-TMA-029; Creative Biollabs, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) was performed as previously described. Topczewska et al., 2006. Tissues from the orthotopic tumor models were formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded and immunohistochemical staining on this tissue was conducted using a Ki67-specific antibody (Table 2) or ChromPure Goat IgG (Jackson Labs) as previously described. Topczewska et al., 2006. TUNEL assays to measure apoptosis were conducted as per instructions (Upstate).
It should be understood that the foregoing disclosure emphasizes certain specific embodiments of the invention and that all modifications or alternatives equivalent thereto are within the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The combination of particular aspects of the various embodiments of the invention is included in the scope of the invention. All patents, patent applications, and other scientific or technical writings referred to anywhere herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety.