A highly stable human single-domain antibody-drug conjugate exhibits superior penetration and treatment of solid tumors
The inefficient tumor penetration of therapeutic antibodies has hampered their effective use in treating solid tumors. Here, we report the identification of a fully human single-domain antibody (UdAb), designated as n501, targeting the oncofetal antigen 5T4. The high-resolution crystal structure indicates that n501 adopts a compact structure very similar to that of camelid nanobodies, and binds tightly to all eight leucine-rich repeats of 5T4. Furthermore, the UdAb n501 exhibits exceptionally high stability, with no apparent activity changes over 4 weeks of storage at various temperatures. Importantly, the UdAb-based antibody-drug conjugate (n501-SN38) showed much deeper tumor penetration, significantly higher tumor uptake, and faster accumulation at tumor sites than conventional IgG1-based antibody-drug conjugate (m603-SN38), resulting in improved tumor inhibition. These results highlight the potential of UdAb-based antibody-drug conjugates as a potential class of antitumor therapeutics with characteristics of high stability and strong tumor penetration for the effective treatment of solid tumors.