Clostridium novyi has demonstrated selective efficacy against solid tumors largely due to the microenvironment contained within dense tumor cores. The core of a solid tumor is typically hypoxic, acidic, and necrotic—impeding the penetration of current therapeutics. C. novyi is attracted to the tumor microenvironment and once there, can both lyse and proliferate while simultaneously re-activating the suppressed immune system. C. novyi systemic toxicity is easily mitigated by knocking out the phage DNA plasmid encoded alpha toxin resulting in C. novyi-NT; but, after intravenous injection spores are quickly cleared by phagocytosis before accomplishing significant tumor localization. C. novyi-NT could be designed to accomplish intravenous delivery with the potential to target all solid tumors and their metastases in a single dose. This study characterizes CRISPR/Cas9 modified C. novyi-NT to insert the gene for RGD, a tumor targeting peptide, expressed within the promoter region of a spore coat protein. Expression of the RGD peptide on the outer spore coat of C. novyi-NT indicates an increased capacity for tumor localization of C. novyi upon intravenous introduction based on the natural binding of RGD with the αvβ3 integrin commonly overexpressed on the epithelial tissue surrounding a tumor, and lead to immune stimulation.
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