Therapies using antibodies directed against cell surface proteins have improved survival for human patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). It is possible that similar immuno-therapeutic approaches may also benefit canine NHL patients. Unfortunately, variability between human and canine epitopes often limits the usefulness of such therapies in pet dogs. The Lym-1 antibody recognizes a unique epitope on HLA-DR10 that is expressed on the majority of human B-cell malignancies. The Lym-1 antibody has now been observed to bind to dog lymphocytes and B-cell NHL. Sequence comparisons and computer modeling of a human and three canine DRB1 proteins identified several orthologs of human HLA-DR10 expressed by dog lymphocytes. Immuno-staining confirmed the presence of proteins containing the Lym-1 epitope on dog lymphocytes and B-cell NHL. In addition, a selective high affinity ligand (SHAL) SH-7139 designed to bind within the Lym-1 epitope of HLA-DR10 was also observed to bind to canine B-cell NHL tissue. This SHAL, which is selectively cytotoxic to cells expressing HLA-DR10 and has been shown to cure mice bearing human B-cell lymphoma xenografts, may prove useful in treating B-cell malignancies in pet dogs.
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