Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a life-threatening lung disease of hematological malignancy or bone marrow transplant patients caused by the ubiquitous environmental fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Current diagnostic tests for the disease lack sensitivity as well as specificity, and culture of the fungus from invasive lung biopsy, considered the gold standard for IPA detection, is slow and often not possible in critically ill patients. In a previous study, we reported the development of a novel non-invasive procedure for IPA diagnosis based on antibody-guided positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (immunoPET/MRI) using a [64Cu] DOTA-labeled mouse monoclonal antibody (mAb), mJF5, specific to Aspergillus. To enable translation of the tracer to the clinical setting, we report here the development of a humanised version of the antibody (hJF5), and pre-clinical imaging of lung infection using a [64Cu] NODAGA-hJF5 tracer. The humanised antibody tracer shows a significant increase in in vivo biodistribution in A. fumigatus infected lungs compared to its radiolabeled murine counterpart [64Cu] NODAGA-mJF5. Using reverse genetics of the pathogen, we show that the antibody binds to the antigenic determinant beta 1,5-galactofuranose (Galf) present in a diagnostic mannoprotein antigen released by the pathogen during invasive growth in the lung. The absence of the epitope Galf in mammalian carbohydrates, coupled with the enhanced imaging capabilities of the hJF5 antibody, means that the [64Cu] NODAGA-hJF5 tracer developed here represents an ideal candidate for the diagnosis of IPA and translation to the clinical setting.
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- Infectious Diseases
- Monoclonal Antibody