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Poster Display session 3

5991 - Master Checkpoint Cbl-b Inhibition: Anti-tumor Efficacy in a Murine Colorectal Cancer Model Following siRNA-based Cell Therapy


30 Sep 2019


Poster Display session 3



Tumour Site


Kathrin Thell


Annals of Oncology (2019) 30 (suppl_5): v475-v532. 10.1093/annonc/mdz253


K. Thell1, M. Urban1, J. Harrauer1, I. Haslinger1, M. Kuttke2, J.S. Brunner2, A. Vogel2, G. Schabbauer2, J. Penninger3, A. Gaweco4

Author affiliations

  • 1 Research & Development, Apeiron Biologics AG, 1030 - Vienna/AT
  • 2 Institute Of Physiology, Medical University Vienna, 1090 - Vienna/AT
  • 3 Life Sciences Institute & Dept Of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancover/CA
  • 4 Global Clinical Development, Apeiron Biologics AG, 1030 - Vienna/AT


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Abstract 5991


The E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b is a key master immune checkpoint regulator that limits immune activation critical for anti-tumor immunity. We first reported that Cbl-b deficiency in mice confers spontaneous in vivo rejection of tumor cells. This checkpoint role in anti-tumor immunity was confirmed in multiple mouse and human studies. Further discovery efforts led to the advancement of APN401, an ex vivo human Cbl-b siRNA-based autologous cellular therapy, currently in clinical development in patients with advanced solid tumors. APN401 has been target validated and its preclinical efficacy was established in various mouse syngeneic tumor models. We present here the potent anti-tumor efficacy of APN401 immunotherapy of Cbl-b silenced murine T cells in a syngeneic MC38 colorectal tumor model.


T cells isolated from MC38 tumor-bearing donor C57Bl/6 mice were silenced ex vivo with APN401 murine Cbl-b specific siRNA vs control siRNA, adoptively transferred into MC38 tumor-bearing recipient mice, and tumor growth was monitored using an in vivo imaging system.


Murine APN401 treatment resulted in a significant MC38 tumor growth inhibition of 63% (p = 0.008) vs controls after just a single dose application. Profound anti-tumor efficacy induced by Cbl-b-silenced T cells strongly correlated with enhanced production of TH1 cytokines IL-2 and IFN-γ. Furthermore, in vivo tracking of fluorescently labeled and silenced T cells revealed migration to relevant lymphoid organs and local tumor sites. Murine APN401 treatment was safe and well-tolerated similar to recent human APN401 clinical phase Ia study results in patients with advanced solid tumors.


In a model of murine colon cancer, Cbl-b-silencing induced vigorous in vivo anti-tumorigenic immune responses. The treatment modality was safe and well tolerated. These data provide direct preclinical proof of concept that siRNA-based silencing of Cbl-b provides a novel, effective and tunable approach as cellular immunotherapy. Targeting Cbl-b through human APN401 cell therapy is a promising novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of solid cancers, also highlighted by our fast-tracked global APN401 clinical development.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

The authors.


Has not received any funding.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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