25 September 2017
Antibodies have been shown to be a potent therapeutic tool. However, their use for targeting brain diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases and brain cancers, has been limited, particularly because the blood–brain barrier (BBB) makes brain tissue hard to access by conventional antibody-targeting strategies. In this review, we summarize new antibody therapeutic approaches to target brain tumors, especially malignant gliomas, as well as their potential drawbacks. Many different brain delivery platforms for antibodies have been studied such as liposomes, nanoparticle-based systems, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), and cell-based approaches. We have already shown the successful delivery of single-chain fragment variable (scFv) with CPP as a linker between two variable domains in the brain. Antibodies normally face poor penetration through the BBB, with some variants sufficiently passing the barrier on their own. A “Trojan horse” method allows passage of biomolecules, such as antibodies, through the BBB by receptor-mediated transcytosis (RMT). Such examples of therapeutic antibodies are the bispecific antibodies where one binding specificity recognizes and binds a BBB receptor, enabling RMT and where a second binding specificity recognizes an antigen as a therapeutic target. On the other hand, cell-based systems such as stem cells (SCs) are a promising delivery system because of their tumor tropism and ability to cross the BBB. Genetically engineered SCs can be used in gene therapy, where they express anti-tumor drugs, including antibodies. Different types and sources of SCs have been studied for the delivery of therapeutics to the brain; both mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and neural stem cells (NSCs) show great potential. Following the success in treatment of leukemias and lymphomas, the adoptive T-cell therapies, especially the chimeric antigen receptor-T cells (CAR-Ts), are making their way into glioma treatment as another type of cell-based therapy using the antibody to bind to the specific target(s). Finally, the current clinical trials are reviewed, showing the most recent progress of attractive approaches to deliver therapeutic antibodies across the BBB aiming at the specific antigen.