WO2015144855A1 - Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer - Google Patents

Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer Download PDF

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WO2015144855A1
WO2015144855A1 PCT/EP2015/056654 EP2015056654W WO2015144855A1 WO 2015144855 A1 WO2015144855 A1 WO 2015144855A1 EP 2015056654 W EP2015056654 W EP 2015056654W WO 2015144855 A1 WO2015144855 A1 WO 2015144855A1
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antibody
amino acid
acid sequence
seq id
antigen
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PCT/EP2015/056654
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French (fr)
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Jörg WISCHHUSEN
Markus JUNKER
Tina SCHÄFER
Dirk PÜHRINGER
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Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K16/00Immunoglobulins [IGs], e.g. monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies
    • C07K16/18Immunoglobulins [IGs], e.g. monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies against material from animals or humans
    • C07K16/22Immunoglobulins [IGs], e.g. monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies against material from animals or humans against growth factors ; against growth regulators
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K39/00Medicinal preparations containing antigens or antibodies
    • A61K2039/505Medicinal preparations containing antigens or antibodies comprising antibodies
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/20Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by taxonomic origin
    • C07K2317/24Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by taxonomic origin containing regions, domains or residues from different species, e.g. chimeric, humanized or veneered
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/30Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by aspects of specificity or valency
    • C07K2317/34Identification of a linear epitope shorter than 20 amino acid residues or of a conformational epitope defined by amino acid residues
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/50Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by immunoglobulin fragments
    • C07K2317/56Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by immunoglobulin fragments variable (Fv) region, i.e. VH and/or VL
    • C07K2317/565Complementarity determining region [CDR]
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/70Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by effect upon binding to a cell or to an antigen
    • C07K2317/73Inducing cell death, e.g. apoptosis, necrosis or inhibition of cell proliferation
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/70Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by effect upon binding to a cell or to an antigen
    • C07K2317/76Antagonist effect on antigen, e.g. neutralization or inhibition of binding
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/90Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by (pharmaco)kinetic aspects or by stability of the immunoglobulin
    • C07K2317/92Affinity (KD), association rate (Ka), dissociation rate (Kd) or EC50 value
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2317/00Immunoglobulins specific features
    • C07K2317/90Immunoglobulins specific features characterized by (pharmaco)kinetic aspects or by stability of the immunoglobulin
    • C07K2317/94Stability, e.g. half-life, pH, temperature or enzyme-resistance

Abstract

The present invention relates to monoclonal anti-human-GDF-15 antibodies. The antibodies include chimeric antibodies and humanized antibodies. The invention also relates to monoclonal anti-human-GDF-15 antibodies including murine antibodies, chimeric antibodies and humanized antibodies for use in methods for the treatment of cancer cachexia and also for the treatment of cancer. The invention also provides pharmaceutical compositions, kits, methods and uses and cell lines capable of producing the monoclonal antibodies of the invention.

Description

Monoclonal Antibodies to Growth and Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF-15) , and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to monoclonal anti-human-GDF- 15 antibodies, pharmaceutical compositions, kits, methods and uses and the cell lines capable of producing the monoclonal antibodies described herein. The present invention further relates to antibodies to human GDF-15 capable of inhibiting cancer growth, treating cancer- induced weight loss and cancer cachexia .

BACKGROUND

To date, many cancers are still areas of unmet medical needs , and accordingly, means to more effectively treat cancer, and to treat cancer in a broader range of cancers are needed .

In addition to the suffering caused by the cancer itself , many patients suffer from cancer cachexia , a medical condition triggered by the cancer that typically involves weight loss and loss of skeletal muscle mass . Cancer cachexia accounts for more than 20 percent of all cancer-related deaths (Murphy KT and Lynch GS : Update on emerging drugs for cancer cachexia . Expert Opin Emerg Drugs . 2009 Dec ; 14 (4) : 619- 32. ) .

Thus , in order to improve the treatment and prognosis of cancers which lead to cancer cachexia, treatment regimens that target both of these medical conditions are needed . To date, most of the emerging drugs for treatments of cancer cachexia are drugs that target cachexia but not the cancer itself ( see Murphy KT and Lynch GS : Update on emerging drugs for cancer cachexia . Expert Opin Emerg Drugs . 2009 Dec ; 14 (4 ) : 619-32. ) . Only very few drugs are effective against both the cancer and cancer cachexia, and therefore, complex treatment regimens that combine anti-cancer drugs and anticancer cachexia drugs are oftentimes needed. Accordingly, there is still an unmet medical need for drugs that can be used to effectively treat both cancer and cancer cachexia in a broad range of cancers.

Many types of cancer are known to express growth factors, including factors such as VEGF, PDGF, TGF-β and GDF-15.

GDF-15 , growth and differentiation factor-15 , is a divergent member of the TGF-β superfamil . It is a protein which is intracellularly expressed as a precursor, subsequently processed and eventually becomes secreted from the cell into the environment . Both the active, fully processed (mature) form and the precursor of GDF-15 can be found outside cells. The precursor covalently binds via its C00H- terminal amino acid sequence to the extracellular matrix (Bauskin AR et al . , Cancer Research 2005 ) and thus resides on the exterior of a cell . The active , fully processed (mature) form of GDF-15 is soluble and is found in blood sera . Thus , the processed form of GDF-15 may potentially act on any target cell within the body that is connected to the blood circulation, provided that the potential target cell expresses a receptor for the soluble GDF-15 ligand.

During pregnancy, GDF-15 is found under physiological conditions in the placenta . However, many malignant cancers (especially aggressive brain cancers , melanoma, lung cancer, gastrointestinal tumors , colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer (Mimeault M and Batra SK, J. Cell Physiol 2010 ) ) exhibit increased GDF-15 levels in the tumor as well as i blood serum. Likewise , correlations have been described between high GDF-15 expression and chemoresistance (Huang CY et al . , Clin. Cancer Res . 2009) and between high GDF- 15 expression and poor prognosis , respectively (Brown DA et al . , Clin. Cancer Res . 2009). GDF-15 is expressed in gliomas of different WHO grades as assessed by immunohistochemistry (Roth et al . , Clin. Cancer Res . 2010) . Further, Roth et al . stably expressed short hairpin RNA-expressing DNA constructs targeting endogenous GDF-15 or control constructs in SMA560 glioma cells . When using these pre-established stable cell lines , they observed that tumor formation in mice bearing GDF- 15 knockdown SMA560 cells was delayed compared to mice bearing control constructs .

Patent application PCT/EP2013/070127 relates to monoclonal anti-GDF- 15 antibodies , in particular to an antibody produced by the hybridoma cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fiir Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DSMZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142 under the Budapest treaty. PCT/EP2013/070127 also relates to uses of the anti- GDF-15 antibodies .

Patent applications WO 2005/099746 and WO 2009/021293 relate to an anti-human-GDF- 15 antibody (Mab26) capable of antagonizing effects of human GDF-15 on tumor- induced weight loss in vivo in mice : In these documents , immunologically compromised mice were administered with human tumor cells {prostate carcinoma cells DU145 ) transfected with plasmids overexpressing human GDF-15. Tumor cells carrying plasmids lacking a GDF-15 sequence served as a negative control . Those mice expressing xenograft GDF-15 exhibited a tumor- induced weight loss (clinical term : cachexia) and anorexia . A single intraperitoneal administration of 1 mg of Mab26 from WO 2005/099746 resulted in a complete reversal of tumor- induced weight loss . WO 2005/099746 and WO 2009/021293 do not disclose effects of an anti -human-GDF- 15 antibody on tumor growth . Moreover, these documents are silent as to whether anti -human-GDF- 15 antibodies could lead to an increase in body weight of the treated mice compared to their body weight before the onset of cachexia . Similarly, Johnen H et al . {Nature Medicine, 2007) reported effects of an anti-human-GDF- 15 monoclonal antibody on cancer- induced anorexia and weight loss but did not observe any effects of the anti -human-GDF- 15 antibody on the size of the tumor formed by the cancer, even when the antibody was administered at a high dosage of 1 mg, and thus the antibody did not inhibit growth of the cancer .

Accordingly, to date , there was still a need in the art for means to effectively treat cancer and cancer cachexia , and for means to treat cancer and cancer cachexia in a broader range of cancers .

It is therefore an obj ect of the invention to obtain means that can be used to effectively treat cancer cachexia, and to also effectively treat cancer, and means that ca be used to treat cancer cachexia, and to also effectively treat cancer in a broader range of cancers .

In an effort to find means to achieve these objects, the present inventors have surprisingly found that a monoclonal antibody to human GDF- 15 can be used to treat cancer cachexia and to also treat cancer of human xenograft tumors in mice.

Additionally, an antibody to human GDF- 15 in accordance with the present invention has an equilibrium dissociation constant of about 790 pM for recombinant GDF- 15 even without additional affinity maturation, which is a higher affinity compared to most known therapeutic antibodies.

Thus , the antibody to human GDF- 15 according to the present invention has superior properties compared to antibodies known from the art , and is particularly useful for inhibiting cancer growth and cancer cachexia . The antibody of the present invention is therefore useful for treating cancer and for treating cancer cachexia. Accordingly, the present invention was completed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the above-mentioned objects by providing the monoclonal antibodies , pharmaceutical compositions, kits, uses and the cell lines capable of producing the monoclonal antibodies described herein.

In particular, the present inventors surprisingly show that monoclonal antibodies to human GDF-15 and antigen binding portions thereof according to the invention are capable of inhibiting cancer cachexia and/o cancer growth. This was unexpected because those monoclonal antibodies to GDF-15 that were previously known from the art (WO 2005/099746, WO 2009/021293 and Johnen H et al . , Nature Medicine, 2007) were only known to cause a reversal of cancer- induced weight loss (i.e. a reversal of a secondary symptom induced by the GDF-15 expressed by the cancer) , but were shown to fail at inhibiting growth of the cancer .

By showing that the monoclonal antibodies to human GDF-15 according to the invention can be used to treat cancer- induced weight loss and/or cancer cachexia and treat cancer, the present inventors also surprisingly show that human GDF- 15 protein can be targeted by the antibodies of the invention in a way that both cancer growth is inhibited and cancer- induced weight loss and cancer cachexia is treated . It is expected that the same mechanisms of cancer growth inhibition and treatment of cancer- induced weight loss and cancer cachexia are applicable to a large number of cancers that overexpress human GDF-15 including the cancers listed below.

The monoclonal antibodies and antigen-binding portions thereof according to the invention are derived from a murine anti-GDF-15 antibody, mAb-Bl-23 , which was described in PCT/EP2013/070127 and deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DSMZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142 under the Budapest treaty. The anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 antibodies according to the invention can be generated by replacing constant domains of the murine antibody mAb-Bl-23 with the constant domains of a human IgGl antibody .

Surprisingly, it was observed that a chimeric and a humanized Bl-23 antibody according to the invention showed no tendency to aggregate, These antibody properties according to the invention are expected to increase the bioavailability of these antibodies and to be advantageous for clinical formulation of these antibodies .

Thus , the present invention relates to a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto , and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .

The present invention also relates to a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of

SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal. The method comprises administering the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof to said mammal. Additionally, the present invention relates to a corresponding method for treatment .

Further, the invention also relates to a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the ami o acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more pre erably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .

Further, the invention also relates to a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No; 25 and SEQ ID No: 26, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal . The method comprises administering the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof to said mammal . Additionally, the present invention relates to a corresponding method for treatment .

The invention also relates to a pharmaceutical composition comprising the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof according to the invention . The invention also relates to an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof according to the invention for use in medicine .

Further, the invention relates to an antibody or antigen- binding portion thereof or a pharmaceutical composition according to the invention for use in a method for treating cancer in a mammal . The method comprises administering the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof or the pharmaceutical composition to said mammal.

Further, the invention relates to an antibody or antigen- binding portion thereof or a pharmaceutical composition according to the invention for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal . The method comprises administering the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof or the pharmaceutical composition to said mammal .

Additionally, the invention relates to a kit comprising the pharmaceutical composition according to the invention.

The invention also relates to an expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding the antibody or antigen- binding portio thereof according to the invention .

Further, the invention relates to a ceil line capable of producing an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof according to the invention.

Thus , by providing monoclonal antibodies to human GDF-15 , the present invention provides means for the treatment of cancer cachexia and a cancer growth inhibitor that meets the above- defined needs in the art . BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1: NKG2D Expression on NK Cells after Treatment with or without GDF-15. The ceil surface expression of NKG2D was determined on NK cells after treatment with the indicated cytokines in the presence or absence of the anti-GDF- 15 antibody mAb Bl-23. The figure displays specific fluorescence intensities determined by flow cytometry, quantified relative to an unspecific control antibody.

Figure 2: Akt Phosphorylation in the Ovarian Carcinoma Cell Line SK-OV-3. In order to quantify the Western Blot for the ovarian carcinoma cell line SK-OV-3, the ratio of phosphorylated Akt to the total amount of Akt was calculated and normalized to the untreated control.

Figure 3: JNK1/2 Phosphorylation in Immune Cells. In order to quantify the Western Blot, the ratio of phosphorylated JNKl/2 to the total amount of JNK was calculated and normalized to the untreated control .

Figure 4 :

An anti-tumor effect of murine Bl-23 in vivo . Balb/cnu/nu nude mice were used in a xenograft setting with the melanoma cell line UACC-257. The tumor size of the animal cohort treated with Bl-23 (open squares) was significantly

decreased, compared to the PBS control group ( filled solid circles) . Significance was defined as p<0.05 as assessed by Wilcoxon's log-rank test .

Figure 5; Treatment of cancer cachexia with anti-GDF- 15 antibodies . The figure shows a comparison of the mean body weight of all treated Balb/cnu/nu nude mice, which were inoculated with UACC-257 cells . The changes of the body weight are depicted in percent as compared to the starting body weight on day 0, for a period of 38 days . Figure 6: Coomassie stain of antibodies used in the study No.

140123.

Figure 7 : Improved solubility of the chimeric and the

humanized antibody at physiological pH.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Definitions

Unless otherwise defined below, the terms used in the present invention shall be understood in accordance with their common meaning known to the person skilled in the art .

The term "antibody" as used herein refers to any functional antibody that is capable of specific binding to the antigen of interest, as generally outlined in chapter 7 of Paul , W.E. (Ed,).: Fundamental Immunology 2nd Ed. Raven Press , Ltd. , New York 1989 , which is incorporated herein by reference . Without particular limitation, the term "antibody" encompasses antibodies from any appropriate source species , including chicken and mammalian such as mouse , goat , non-human primate and human . Preferably, the antibody is a humanized antibody. The antibody is preferably a monoclonal antibody which can be prepared by methods well-known in the art . The term "antibody" encompasses an IgG-1, -2 , -3 , or -4, IgE, IgA, IgM, or IgD isotype antibody. The term "antibody" encompasses monomeric antibodies (such as IgD, IgE, IgG) or oligomeric antibodies ( such as IgA or IgM) . The term "antibody" also encompasses - without particular limitations - isolated antibodies and modified antibodies such as genetically engineered antibodies , e.g. chimeric antibodies .

The nomenclature of the domains of antibodies follows the terms as known in the art . Each monomer of an antibody comprises two heavy chains and two light chains , as generally known in the art . Of these, each heavy and light chain comprises a variable domain ( termed V¾ for the heavy chain and VL for the light chain) which is important for antigen binding . These heavy and light chain variable domains comprise (in an N-terminal to C-terminal order) the regions FR1 , CDR1 , FR2 , CDR2 , FR3 , CDR3 , and FR4 (FR, framework region; CDR, complementarity determining region which is also known as hypervariable region) . The identification and assignment of the above-mentioned antibody regions within the antibody sequence is generally in accordance with Kabat et al . (Sequences of proteins of immunological interest , U.S. Dept . of Health and Human Services , Public Health Service , National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. 1983) , or Chothia et al . ( Conformations of immunoglobulin hypervariable regions . Nature . 1989 Dec 21-28 ; 342 ( 6252 ): 877- 83.) , or may be performed by using the IMGT/V-QUEST software described in Giudicelli et al . ( IMGT/V-QUEST, an integrated software program for immunoglobulin and T cell receptor V-J and V-D-J rearrangement analysis . Nucleic Acids Res . 2004 Jul 1 ; 32 (Web Server issue) : W435 -40. ) , which is incorporated herein by reference . Preferably, the antibody regions indicated above are identified and assigned by using the IMGT/V-QUEST software .

A "monoclonal antibody" is an antibody from an essentially homogenous population of antibodies , wherein the antibodies are substantially identical in sequence (i.e. identical except for minor fraction of antibodies containing naturally occurring sequence modifications such as amino acid modifications at their N- and C-termini) . Unlike polyclonal antibodies which contain a mixture of different antibodies directed to numerous epitopes , monoclonal antibodies are directed to the same epitope and are therefore highly specific . The term "monoclonal antibody" includes (but is not limited to) antibodies which are obtained from a monoclonal cell population derived from a single cell clone , as for instance the antibodies generated by the hybridoma method described in Kohler and Milstein (Nature, 1975 Aug 7;256 (5517) :495-7) or Harlow and Lane ("Antibodies : A Laboratory Manual" Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor , New York 1988) . A monoclonal antibody may also be obtained from other suitable methods, including phage display techniques such as those described in Clackson et al . (Nature . 1991 Aug 15 ; 352 (6336) : 624-8) or Marks et al . (J Mol Biol . 1991 Dec 5 222 (3 ) : 581-97) . A monoclonal antibody may be an antibody that has been optimized for antigen-binding properties such as decreased Kd values, optimized association and dissociation kinetics by methods known in the art . For instance, Kd values may be optimized by display methods including phage display, resulting in affinity-matured monoclonal antibodies . The term "monoclonal antibody" is not limited to antibody sequences from particular species of origin or from one single species of origin. Thus , the meaning of the term "monoclonal antibody" encompasses chimeric monoclonal antibodies such as humanized monoclonal antibodies .

"Humanized antibodies" are antibodies which contain human sequences and a minor portion of non-human sequences which confer binding specificity to an antigen of interest (e.g. human GDF-15) . Typically, humanized antibodies are generated by replacing hypervariable region sequences from a human acceptor antibody by hypervariable region sequences from a non-human donor antibody (e.g. a mouse , rabbit , rat donor antibody) that binds to an antigen of interest (e.g. human GDF-15) . In some cases , f amework region sequences of the acceptor antibody may also be replaced by the corresponding sequences of the donor antibody. In addition to the sequences derived from the donor and acceptor antibodies, a "humanized antibody" may either contain other (additional or substitute) residues or sequences or not . Such other residues or sequences may serve to further improve antibody properties such as binding properties (e.g. to decrease Kd values) and/or immunogenic properties (e.g. to decrease antigenicity in humans ) . Non- limiting exam les for methods to generate humanized antibodies are known in the art , e.g. from Riechmann et al . (Nature. 1988 Mar 24 ; 332 ( 6162) : 323 - 7 ) or Jones et al. (Nature. 1986 May 29-Jun 4;321 (6069) : 522-5) .

The term "human antibody" relates to an antibody containing human variable and constant domain sequences. This definition encompasses antibodies having human sequences bearing single ami o acid substitutions or modifications which may serve to further improve antibody properties such as binding properties (e.g. to decrease Kd values) and/or immunogenic properties (e.g. to decrease antigenicity in humans ) . The term "human antibody" excludes humanized antibodies where a portion of non-human sequences confers binding specificity to an antigen of interest .

An "antigen-binding portion" of an antibody as used herein refers to a portion of an antibody that retains the capability of the antibody to specifically bind to the antigen (e.g. GDF- 15 ) , i.e. the "antigen-binding portion" is capable of competing with the antibody for specific binding to the antigen . The "antigen-binding portion" may contain one or more fragments of the antibody. Without part icular limitation, it can be produced by any suitable method known in the art , including recombinant DNA methods and preparation by chemical or enzymatic fragmentation of antibodies . Antigen-b: nding portions may be Fab fragments , F(ab') fragments, F (ab' ) 2 fragments , single chain antibodies (scFv) , single-domain antibodies , diabodies or any other portion (s) of the antibody that allow (s) to retain binding to the antigen.

An "antibody" (e.g. a monoclonal antibody) or an "antigen- binding portion" may have been derivatized or be linked to a different molecule . For example, molecules that may be linked to the antibody are other proteins (e.g. other antibodies) , a molecular label (e.g. a fluorescent , luminescent , colored or radioactive molecule) , a pharmaceutical and/or a toxic agent . The antibody or antigen-binding portion may be linked directly (e.g. in form of a fusion between two proteins) , or via a linker molecule (e.g. any suitable type of chemical linker known in the art) .

As used herein, the terms "binding" or "bind" refer to specific binding to the antigen of interest (e.g. human GDF- 15) . Preferably, the Kd value is less than 100 nM, more preferably less than 50 nM, still more preferably less than 10 nM, still more preferably less than 5 nM and most preferably less than 2 nM.

The term "epitope" as used herein refers to a small portion of an antigen that forms the binding site for an antibody.

In the context of the present invention, binding or competitive binding of antibodies or their antigen-binding portions to the antigen of interest (e.g. human GDF-15) is measured by using surface plasmon resonance measurements as a reference standard assay, as described below.

The terms or "¾ value" relate to the equilibrium dissociation constant as known in the art . In the context of the present invention, these terms relate to the equilibrium dissociation constant of an antibody with respect to a particular antigen of interest (e.g. human GDF-15) . The equilibrium dissociation constant is a measure of the propensity of a complex (e.g. an antigen- ntibody complex) to reversibly dissociate into its components (e.g. the antigen and the antibody) . For the antibodies according to the invention, Kjy values (such as those for the antigen human GDF-15) are generally determined by using surface plasmon resonance measurements as described below.

The term "cancer growth" as used herein relates to any measureable growth of the cancer . For cancers forming solid tumors, "cancer growth" relates to a measurable increase in tumor volume over time . If the cancer has formed only a single tumor, "cancer growth" relates only to the increase in volume of the single tumor. If the cancer has formed multiple tumors such as metastases, "cancer growth" relates to the increase in volume of all measurable tumors . For solid tumors, the tumor volume can be measured by any method known in the art, including magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography (CT scan) .

For leukemias which are characterized by the presence of cancerous cells of the blood system in blood, "cancer growth" relates to a measurable increase in the number of cancer cells per blood volume. In order to carry out such measurements, cancer cells can be identified from blood samples by using any method known in the art, including cell morphology measurements, or staining of tumor cell marker proteins such as tumor marker cell surface proteins, e.g. by staining with specific antibodies, and the cancer cells can be counted .

Terms such as "inhibiting cancer growth" as used herein refer to a measurable inhibition of cancer growth in patient treated with the antibody. Preferably, the inhibition is statistically significant . Inhibition of cancer growth may be assessed by comparing cancer growth in a group of patients treated in accordance with the present invention to a control group of untreated patients , or by comparing a group of patients that receive a standard cancer treatment of the art plus a treatment according to the invention with a control group of patients that only receive a standard cancer treatment of the art . Such studies for assessing the inhibition of cancer growth are designed in accordance with accepted standards for clinical studies , e.g. double-blinded, randomized studies with sufficient statistical power . The term "inhibiting cancer growth" includes an inhibition of cancer growth where the cancer growth is inhibited partially (i.e. where the cancer growth in the patient is delayed compared to the control group of patients) , an inhibition where the cancer growth is inhibited completely (i.e. where the cancer growth in the patient is stopped) , and an inhibition where cancer growth is reversed (i.e. the cancer shrinks) .

An "isolated antibody" as used herein is an antibody that has been identified and separated from the majority of components (by weight) of its source environment , e.g. from the components of a hybridoma cell culture or a different cell culture that was used for its production (e.g. producer cells such as CHO cells that recombinantly express the antibody) . The separation is performed such that it sufficiently removes components that may otherwise interfere with the suitability of the antibody for the desired applications (e.g. with a therapeutic use of the anti-human GDF- 15 antibody according to the invention) . Methods for preparing isolated antibodies are known in the art and include Protein A chromatography, anion exchange chromatography, cation exchange chromatography, virus retentive filtration and ultrafiltration. Preferably, the isolated antibody preparation is at least 70 % pure (w/w) , more preferably at least 80 % pure (w/w) , still more preferably at least 90 % pure (w/w) , still more preferably at least 95 % pure (w/w) , and most preferably at least 99 % pure (w/w) , as measured by using the Lowry protein assay .

A "diabody" as used herein is a small bivalent antigen- binding antibody portion which comprises a heavy chain variable domain linked to a light chain variable domain on the same polypeptide chain linked by a peptide linker that is too short to allow pairing between the two domains on the same chain. This results in pairing with the complementary domains of another chain and in the assembly of a dimeric molecule with two antigen binding sites . Diabodies may be bivalent and monospecific (such as diabodies with two antigen binding sites for human GDF- 15) , or may be bivalent and bispecific (e.g. diabodies with two antigen binding sites , one being a binding site for human GDF-15, and the other one being a binding site for a different antigen) . A detailed description of diabodies can be found in Holliger P et al .

(" "Diabodies" : small bivalent and bispecific antibody fragments." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Jul 15; 90 (14) : 6444-8, ) .

A "single-domain antibody" (which is also referred to as "Nanobody™") as used herein is an antibody fragment consisting of a single monomeric variable antibody domain. Structures of and methods for producing single-domain antibodies are known from the art, e.g. from Holt LJ et al .

("Domain antibodies: proteins for therapy." Trends Biotechnol . 2003 Nov; 21 ( 11) ; 484 - 90. ) , Saerens D et al .

("Single-domain antibodies as building blocks for novel therapeutics." Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2008 Oct; 8(5): 600-8. Epub 2008 Aug 22. ) , and Arbabi Ghahroudi M et al . ("Selection and identification of single domain antibody fragments from camel heavy-chain antibodies." FEBS Lett. 1997 Sep 15; 414 (3) : 521- 6.) .

The term "higher" as used herein means that a value (e.g. a GDF-15 level) in a patient sample is higher than a value in a corresponding control sample or group of control samples. Preferably, the difference is statistically significant.

The term "elevated GDF-15 levels" as used herein means that the human patient has higher GDF-15 levels in blood serum before administration of the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof or the pharmaceutical composition according to the invention, when compared to median GDF-15 levels in blood sera of healthy human control individuals as a

reference .

A preferred median reference for GDF-15 level in blood sera of healthy human control individuals is < 0.8 ng/ml . The expected range is between 0.2 ng/ml and 1.2 ng/ml in healthy human controls (Reference: Tanno T et al . : "Growth differentiation factor 15 in erythroid health and disease." Curr Opin Hematol . 2010 May; 17(3): 184-190.).

Preferably, the levels are 1.2 -fold higher, more preferably 1.5- fold higher, still more preferably 2-fold higher and most preferably 5 -fold higher.

The term "prior to administration" as used herein means the period of time immediately before administration of the antibody, fragment thereof or the pharmaceutical composition according to the invention . Preferably, the term "prior to administration" means a period of 30 days immediately before administration; most preferably a period of one week immediately before administration.

The terms "significant" , "significantly" , etc. as used herein refer to a statistically significant difference between values .

The terms "cancer" and "cancer cell" is used herein in accordance with their common meaning in the art (see for instance Weinberg R . et al.: The Biology of Cancer . Garland Science : New York 2006. 850p. ) .

The term "cancer- induced weight loss " is used herein in accordance with its common meaning in the art . Cancer- induced weight loss is frequently seen as an adverse effect in individuals having cancer (see , for instance Fearon K. et al . : Definition and classification of cancer cachexia: an international consensus . Lancet Oncol . 2011 May; 12(5) : 489- 95. ; Tisdale MJ. : Mechanisms of cancer cachexia. Physiol Rev. 2009 Apr; 89(2) :381-410.) . The term "cancer-induced weight loss" relates to the body weight loss induced by the cancer . Additional body weight loss in addition to the cancer-induced weight loss - e.g. body weight loss induced by cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy - can also occur i individuals having cancer . It is understood that the meaning of the term "cancer-induced weight loss" does not include this additional body weight loss. However, this does not exclude the possibility that the antibodies of the present invention - in addition to their effects on cancer- induced weight loss and on cancer growth - may have beneficial effects against such additional body weight loss , e.g. by reverting or partly reverting such additional weight loss, or by preventing or partly preventing such additional body weight loss .

Body weight can easily be measured by weighing, and body weight is typically expressed in units of mass such as kg.

The term "cancer cachexia" is used herein in accordance with its common meaning in the art ( see , for instance Fearon K . et al . : Definition and classification of cancer cachexia : an international consensus . Lancet Oncol . 2011 May; 12(5) : 489 - 95.; Tisdale MJ . : Mechanisms of cancer cachexia . Physiol Rev . 2009 Apr ; 89 (2) : 381-410.) . The most common symptom of cancer cachexia is cancer- induced weight loss . Thus , according to one definition, cancer cachexia is characterized by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass (with or without loss of fat mass ) that cannot be fully reversed by conventional nutrition . In human patients, cancer cachexia can be defined by a weight loss of more than 5% during the past 6 months , or by a body mass index of less than 20 g/m2 and any degree of ongoing weight loss that is higher than 2% , or by sarcopenia (i.e. degenerative loss of muscle mass) and an ongoing weight loss that is higher than 2% (see , Fearon K. et al . : Definition and classification of cancer cachexia : an international consensus . Lancet Oncol . 2011 May; 12(5) : 489- 95. ) . A further symptom of cancer cachexia can be a depletion of adipose tissue .

With respect, to cancer cachexia, a "treatment" according to the present invention may be a treatment for preventing and/or a treatment for inhibiting or reverting cancer cachexia. Typically, a treatment for preventing cancer cachexia is a treatment that is given prophylac ically at a stage of the cancer disease where no cancer cachexia has yet occurred, A treatment for inhibiting cancer cachexia is typically a treatment that is given at a stage of the cancer disease where some cancer cachexia has occurred, in order to inhibit a further progression of the cancer cachexia . A treatment for reverting cancer cachexia is typically a treatment that is started at a stage of the cancer where some cancer cachexia has occurred, and which reverts the cancer cachexia . The effect of the treatment can be a partial effect , i.e. a partial prevention, a partial inhibition or a partial reversion of cancer cachexia, or a complete effect , i.e. a complete prevention, a complete inhibition or a complete reversion of cancer cachexia . Preferably, according to the present invention, the effect of the treatment is a complete prevention, a complete inhibition or a complete reversion of cancer cachexia . More preferably, the effect of the treatment according to the present invention is a complete prevention or a complete reversion of cancer cachexia .

As used herein, the term "complete ( ly) " in connection with a treatment of cancer cachexia according to the invention means that in case of a treatment for preventing, no cancer cachexia occurs in the treated individual during and/or following the treatment . In case of a treatment for inhibiting cancer cachexia, the term "complete (ly) " means that no further progression of the cancer cachexia occurs in the treated individual during and/or following the treatment . In case of a treatment for reverting cancer cachexia, the term "complete (ly) " means that during or following the treatment , the cancer cachexia is completely reverted such that no cancer cachexia is present in the treated individual .

With respect to these effects of the treatment according to the invention, the term "no cancer cachexia" means that by using standard methods for measurements and for diagnosis known in the art , no cancer cachexia is detectable . Likewise , the term "no further progression of the cancer cachexia" means that by using standard methods for measurements and for diagnosis known in the art , no further progression of cancer cachexia is detectable. The methods known in the art and referred to herein are for instance described in Fearon KC . : Cancer cachexia : developing multimodal therapy for a multidimensional problem. Eur J Cancer . 2008 May;44 (8) : 1124- 32 ; Fearon K. et al . : Definition and classification of cancer cachexia : an international consensus . Lancet Oncol . 2011 May; 12 (5) : 489-95. ; or Tisdale J. : Mechanisms of cancer cachexia . Physiol Rev. 2009 Apr; 89 (2) : 381-410.

In addition to completely preventing or completely reverting cancer cachexia, the treatment methods and products for use in these methods according to the invention may increase the body weight of the treated mammal compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia . As used herein, the term "before the onset of cancer cachexia" means a point in time during the course of the cancer disease , after which cancer cachexia becomes measurable by the methods known in the art such as the methods referred to above .

Preferably, the above-defined effects of the cancer cachexia treatment according to the invention are statistically significant when assessed against a suitable control group whereas individual patients who are treated would not show significant cachexia .

In accordance with the present invention, each occurrence of the term "comprising" may optionally be substituted with the term "consisting of" . Methods and Techniques

Generally, unless otherwise defined herein, the methods used in the present invention {e.g. cloning methods or methods relating to antibodies) are performed in accordance with procedures known in the art, e.g. the procedures described in Sambrook et al. ("Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual.", 2nd Ed. , Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 1989), Ausubel et al. ("Current Protocols in Molecular Biology." Greene Publishing Associates and Wiley Interscience ; New York 1992) , and Harlow and Lane ("Antibodies : A Laboratory Manual" Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press , Cold Spring Harbor, New York 1988) , all of which are incorporated herein by reference .

Molecular weight is measured by methods known in the art such as mass spectrometry. It is expressed in DaIton (Da) or Kilodalton (kDa) .

Binding of monoclonal anti-human-GDF- 15 antibodies according to the invention is generally assessed by employing surface plasmon resonance measurements using a Bio-Rad® ProteOn™ XPR36 system and Bio-Rad® GLC sensor chips as described for murine anti -human GDF- 15 mAb-Bl-23 in Example 1.

Sequence alignments of sequences according to the invention are performed by using the BLAST algorithm (see Altschul et al . (1990) "Basic local alignment search tool . " Journal of Molecular Biology 215. p. 403-410. ; Altschul et al . : (1997) Gapped BLAST and PSI -BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs . Nucleic Acids Res . 25:3389-3402.). Preferably, the following parameters are used: Max target sequences 10 ; Word size 3; BLOSUM 62 matrix; gap costs : existence 11, extension 1; conditional compositional score matrix adj ustment . Thus , when used in connection with sequences, terms such as "identity" or "identical" refer to the identity value obtained by using the BLAST algorithm . Monoclonal antibodies according to the invention can be produced by any method known in the art, including but not limited to the methods referred to in Siegel DL ("Recombinant monoclonal antibody technology." Transfus Clin Biol. 2002 Jan; 9 (1) : 15-22. ) . In a preferred embodiment, an antibody according to the invention is produced by the hybridoma cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DS Z) under the accession No. DS ACC3142 under the Budapest treaty. The deposit was filed on September 29, 2011.

Cell proli eration can be measured by suitable methods known in the art, including (but not limited to) visual microscopy, metabolic assays such as those which measure mitochondrial redox potential (e.g. MTT (3- (4 , 5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl) -2,5- diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay; Resazurin staining which is also known as Alamar Blue® assay) , staining of known endogenous proliferation biomarkers (e.g. Ki- 67 ) , and methods measuring cellular DNA synthesis (e.g. BrdU and [3H] - Thymidine incorporation assays) .

Immunosuppression can be measured by suitable methods known in the art , including (but not limited to) immune cell proliferation, cytokine secretion, intracellular cytokine staining by flow cytometry, cytokine measurement by qRT-PCR, redirected target cell lysis , further cytotoxicity or degranulation assays , downregulation of activating immune cell receptors (like NKG2D) , upregulation of inhibitory immune cell receptors , immunological synapse formation, immune cell infiltration . For the term immunosuppression to apply, an effect shall be measurable in at least one of these or in any other suitable assay. The lack of effect in a specific test does not imply a general absence of immunosuppression.

Human GDF- 15 levels can be measured by any method known in the art , including measurements of GDF- 15 mRNA levels by methods including (but not limited to) quantitative real-time PGR (qRT-PCR) for human GDF-15 mRNA using primers specific to human GDF-15, mRNA in situ hybridization with probes specific to human GDF-15 , mRNA deep sequencing methods ; and including measurements of GDF-15 protein levels by methods including (but not limited to) mass spectrometry for proteins or peptides derived from human GDF-15 , Western Blotting using antibodies specific to human GDF-15, flow cytometry using antibodies specific to human GDF-15, strip tests using antibodies specific to human GDF-15 , or immunocytochemistry using antibodies specific to human GDF-15. For such methods using antibodies specific to human GDF-15, the anti-human GDF-15 antibodies of the present invention are preferred, and the antibody of the invention produced by the hybridoma cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur ikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DSMZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142 is most pre erred.

Embodiments of the Invention

As described above , the inventors show that human GDF-15 protein can be targeted by an antibody in accordance with the invention in a way that cancer cachexia and cancer- induced weight loss can be treated and that also cancer growth is inhibited.

When taking into account the present invention, it becomes clear that the anti-GDF-15 antibodies known from WO 2005/099746, WO 2009/021293 and Johnen H et al . , Nature Medicine , 2007 only inhibit one of the effects of human GDF- 15 (i.e. cancer- induced weight loss) , but fail to inhibit other effects of human GDF-15 such as those related to cancer growth. In view of the present invention, one possible explanation for this failure is that the antibodies known from the above documents may only interfere with transport of human GDF-15 across the blood-brain barrier (by forming a large complex that cannot be transported across the blood- brain barrier) but are incapable of binding human GDF-15 in a way that renders it generally unable to interact with its receptor (e.g. a receptor residing on cells outside the brain) . Furthermore, and different from the antibodies of the present invention, the anti-GDF-15 antibodies known from WO 2005/099746, WO 2009/021293 and Johnen H et al . , Nature Medicine, 2007 did not lead to a detectable increase in the body weight of the mammals compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia.

Accordingly, the effects of the antibodies for use according to the invention are unexpected in view of the art.

The following properties of the antibodies of the present invention are expected to contribute to their capability of inhibiting the effects of human GDF-15 more completely, including the treatment of cachexia and the inhibition of cancer growth:

Broad Binding Specificity to Forms o Human GDF-15

The antibodies of the present invention are capable of binding to mature recombinant human GDF-15 (represented by SEQ ID No: 8) and are therefore capable of binding to active , fully processed (mature) human GDF-15.

Additionally, by performing staining experiments with the murine mAb-Bl-23 antibody according to the invention on human cells , the inventors show that the mAb-Bl-23 antibody according to the invention is capable of binding to the human GDF-15 precursor on human cells .

Thus , it is expected that binding and effects of the antibodies according to the present invention, in particular the inhibition of cancer growth, are not generally limited to effects on a particular form of human GDF-15.

As to the effects of human GDF-15 on cancer cachexia, these effects may be caused a subset of orms human GDF-15 , for instance to soluble forms human GDF-15 , which are capable of passing the blood-brain barrier. As exemplified in the Examples of the present invention, all of the tested anti- GDF- 15 antibodies according to the invention can be used to treat cancer-induced cachexia. Thus, the antibodies according to the present invention can interfere with the forms of human GDF-15 which are responsible for cancer cachexia.

High Binding Affinity

The antibodies and antigen binding portions thereof according to the invention have high binding affinity, as demonstrated by the mAb-Bl-23 antibody according to the invention which has an equilibrium dissociation constant of about 790pM for recombinant human GDF-15. Notably, such affinity values are superior to most of the existing therapeutic antibodies , e.g. to the therapeutic antibody Rituximab which has an equilibrium dissociation constant of about 8 nM .

High binding affinity will ensure that the antibody to human GDF-15 according to the invention stably binds to human GDF- 15 , such that effects of human GDF-15 including effects on cancer growth are effectively inhibited. Likewise , stable binding of the antibodies according to the invention is expected to ensure that forms of human GDF-15 which cause cancer cachexia cannot carry out their pathological function. This may for instance be due to an antibody-dependent sequestration of these forms of human GDF-15 from their possible site of action in the brain. Such binding and sequestration may for instance take place at the site of the cancer, or the antibodies according to the inventio may interfere with the transport of human-GDF- 15 across the blood brain-barrier .

Binding to a Discontinuous or Conformational Epitope

The antibodies and antigen binding portions thereof according to the invention bind to a discontinuous or conformational epitope, as demonstrated below for a murine mAb-Bl-23 antibody according to the invention.

Binding of antibodies and antigen binding portions thereof according to the invention to a discontinuous or conformational GDF-15 epitope may help to keep human GDF-15 in a specific conformation. This conformation-specificity may be advantageous to keep GDF-15 in a for that cannot be released from the tumor, or that cannot cross the blood brain-barrier and cause cancer cachexia at a possible site of action in the brain. Additionally, such binding to a discontinuous or conformational GDF- 15 epitope may contribute to the effective inhibition of effects of human GDF-15 including effects on cancer growth, e.g. by keeping GDF-15 in a conformation that cannot functionally interact with its receptor .

Thus , the invention relates to the following embodiments :

A) Antibodies, Vectors and Cell Lines

Concretely, the invention relates to a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and where n the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto . In a preferred aspect of this embodiment, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to the amino acid, sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No; 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 95% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the ami o acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 98% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No:

29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto.

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 99% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspec of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 95% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32.

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 98% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant dom in of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 2 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 99% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

In this embodiment , most preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

In an alternative embodiment , the invention relates to a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15, or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence that differs by not more than one amino acid from the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 5 , and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence or an amino acid sequence that differs by not more than one amino acid from the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .

In a preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98% , preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an ami o acid sequence at least 85% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29 , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32, or an ami o acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto . In another preferred aspect of this embodiment, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 95% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 98% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more pre erably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 99% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32. In another preferred aspect of this embodiment, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No; 32.

In another preferred, aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98%, and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 95% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32.

In anothe preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an amino acid sequence at least 98% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

In another preferred aspect of this embodiment , the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , still more preferably at least 98% , and most preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises an ami o acid sequence at least 99% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32. In this embodiment , most preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32.

Further, a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof is provided, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto . Preferably, the constant dom in of the heavy chain of this monoclonal antibody or an igen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 2 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain of this monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto . More preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98% , preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98% , preferably at least 99% identical thereto . Still more preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence Of SEQ ID No: 32.

Further, a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof is provided, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence that differs by not more than one amino acid from the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence or an amino acid sequence that differs by not more than one amino acid from the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7. Preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain of this monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain of this monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto . More preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98% , preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto. Still more preferably, the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29 , and the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 32.

In a second embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments , the heavy chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 5 , or the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 , In a third embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments, the heavy chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5, and the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7.

In a fourth embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments, the heavy chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 3 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, and the light chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises a CDRl region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence ser-ala-ser .

In a fifth embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments , the antibody is a humanized antibody . Preferably, all of the variable domains of the humanized antibody are humanized variable domains .

In a further embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments , the heavy chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90%, preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the light chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 31, or an amino acid sequence at least 90% , preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto . In the most preferred aspect of this embodiment , the heav chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28, and the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID

Mo : 31.

In a further preferred embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments , the heavy chain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 27 , and the light chain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 30.

In a another preferred embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments , the heavy chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 34 , or an amino acid sequence at least 75% , more preferably at least 80% , more preferably at least 85% , more preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and the light chain variable domain of the monoclonal antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 37 , or an amino acid sequence at least 80%, more preferably at least 85%, more preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto . In the most preferred aspect of this embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments, the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 34 , and the light chai variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 37.

In still another embodiment in accordance with the above first to third embodiment , the heavy chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FR1, a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or a sequence 85%, 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96% , 97%, 98% or 99% identical thereto, and the light chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl, a CDR1, an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 2 or a sequence 85%, 90%, 91%, 92%, 93%, 94%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98% or 99% identical thereto.

In a preferred embodiment in accordance with the above first to third embodiment, the heavy chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl, a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or a sequence 95% identical thereto, and the light chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl , a CDR1, an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 2 or a sequence 95% identical thereto .

In a more preferred embodiment in accordance with the above first to third embodiment , the heavy chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl , a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR.2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 1 or a sequence 98% identical thereto, and the light chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl , a CDR1, an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 or a sequence 98% identical thereto .

In a still more preferred embodiment in accordance with the above first to third embodiment , the heavy chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl , a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 1, and the light chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FRl , a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2.

Further, a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof is provided, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid, sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO; 7. In a preferred aspect of this embodiment, the antibody may have CDR3 sequences as defined in any of the embodiments of the invention described above.

In another embodiment, the a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof is provided, wherein the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is capable of inhibiting cancer growth in a mammal, preferably a human patient.

In another embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments, the invention relates to an antigen-binding portion capable of binding to human GDF-15 , wherein the antigen-binding portion is a single-domain antibody (also referred to as "Nanobody™") . In one aspect of this embodiment, the single-domain antibody comprises the CDR1, CDR2 , and CDR3 amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 3, SEQ ID NO : 4, and SEQ ID NO: 5, respectively . In another aspect of this embodiment , the single-domain antibody comprises the CDR1 , CDR2 , and CDR3 amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 6 , SEQ ID NO: 7, and SEQ ID NO: 7 , respectively. In a preferred aspect of this embodiment , the single-domain antibody is a humanized antibody .

Preferably, the antibodies of the invention capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portions thereof have an equilibrium dissociation constant for human GDF- 15 that is equal to or less than 100 nM, less than 20 nM, preferably less than 10 nM, more preferably less than 5 nM and most preferably between 0.1 nM and 2 nM. In another embodiment of the invention, the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof binds to the same human GDF-15 epitope as the antibody to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fiir Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No, DSM ACC3142. As described herein, antibody binding to human GDF-15 in accordance wi h the present invention is assessed by surface plasmon resonance measurements as a reference standard method, in accordance with the procedures described in Example 1. Binding to the same epitope on human GDF- 15 can be assessed similarly by surface lasmon resonance competitive binding experiments of the antibody to human GDF- 15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23 and the antibody that is expected to bind to the same human GDF-15 epitope as the antibody to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23.

In a very preferred embodiment, the antibody is the monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142 or an antigen- binding portion thereof .

In a preferred embodiment , the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the an igen-binding portion thereof according to the invention is a humanized monoclonal antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof . For any given non-human antibody sequence in accordance with the invention (i.e. a donor antibody sequence) , humanized monoclonal anti-human- GDF-15 antibodies of the invention or antigen-binding portions thereof can be generated in accordance with techniques known in the art, as described above .

In a very preferred embodiment, the monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or antigen-binding portion thereof is a humanized antibody derived from the monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl- 23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No . DSM ACC3142 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof . In a non- limiting aspect of this embodiment , the heavy chain variable domain of the humanized antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 5, and the light chain variable domain of the humanized antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 7. In a further non-limiting aspect of this embodiment , the heavy chain variable domain of the humanized antibody or antigen- binding portio thereof comprises or further comprises a CDRl region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 3 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, and the light chain variable domain of the humanized antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof comprises or further comprises a CDRl region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7.

Further , a monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15, or an antigen-binding portion thereof is provided, wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26. In a preferred aspect of this embodiment , the antibody or antigen- binding portion thereof is an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof as defined in any one of the above embodiments .

In another embodiment of the invention in accordance with the above embodiments , the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof is a diabody . In one aspect of this embodiment , the diabody is bivalent and monospecific , with two identical antigen binding sites for human GDF-15. In a second, alternative aspect of this embodiment, the diabody is bivalent and bispecific, with one antigen binding site being a binding site for human GDF-15, and the other antigen binding site being a binding site for a different antigen. Non- limiting examples for the different antigen according to this second aspect of this embodiment are i ) cell surface antigens that are co-expressed with GDF- 15 at high levels on the same cancer (e.g. at higher levels compared to a control sample of the same patient obtained from a non-cancerous part of the tissue which is the tissue of origin of the cancer) , and i i ) cell surface antigens on cells of the immune system which are known as useful antigens for the recruitment of cells of the immune system to the tumor .

In still another embodiment of the invention in accordance with the above embodiments , the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof is linked to a drug . In non- limiting aspects of this embodiment , the drug can be a known anticancer agent and/or an immune- stimulatory molecule . Known anticancer agents include alkylating agents such as cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin, mechlorethamine , eyelophosphamide , chlorambucil , and ifosfamide anti -metabolites such as azathioprine and mercaptopurine ; alkaloids such as vinca alkaloids (e.g. vincristine , vinblastine , vinorelbine, and vindesine) , taxanes (e.g. paclitaxel , docetaxel) etoposide and teniposide ; topoisomerase inhibitors such as camptothecins (e.g. irinotecan and topotecan) ; cytotoxic antibiotics such as actinomycin, anthracyclines , doxorubicin, daunorubicin, valrubicin, ida ubicin, epirubicin, bleomycin, pl camycin and mitomycin; and radioisotopes . Linking of the antibodies or the antigen-binding portions thereof of the invention to anticancer agents is expected to result in stronger cancer tumor growth inhibition compared to the antibody without the anticancer agent , because the resulting conjugate will accumulate at the site of the tumor due to the presence of GDF-15 in the tumor, leading to the accumulation of the anticancer agent at the site of the tumor and to enhanced ef ects of the anticancer agent on the tumor .

In a f rther embodiment in accordance with the above embodiments , the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof is modified by an amino acid tag . Non-limiting examples of such tags include Polyhistidin (His- ) tags, FLAG- tag, Hemagglutinin (HA) tag, glycoprotein D (gD) tag, and c-myc tag . Tags may be used for various purposes . For instance, they may be used to assist purification of the antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 or the antige -binding portion thereof , or they may be used for detection of the antibody or the antigen-binding portion thereof {e.g. when used in diagnostic assays) . Preferably, such tags are present at the C- terminus or N- terminus of the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof .

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention in accordance with the above embodiments, the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof is capable of inhibiting cancer growth in a mammal , preferably a human patient .

In another preferred embodiment of the present invention in accordance with the above embodiments , the human GDF-15 is recombinant human GDF-15 having the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID No: 8.

In still another preferred embodiment of the present invention in accordance with the above embodiments , the binding of the antibody capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen-binding portion thereof is a binding to a conformational o discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15. Preferably, the monoclonal antibodies of the present invention capable of binding to human GDF-15 or the antigen- binding portions thereof are isolated antibodies.

In a preferred embodiment of the above antibodies or antigen- binding portions thereof according to the invention, the antibody has a size of more than 100 kDa, preferably more than 110 kDa, more preferably more than 120 kDa, still more preferably more than 130 kDa, and most preferably more than 140 kDa. Preferably, the antibody is a full-length antibody, more preferably a full-length IgG antibody.

The invention also relates to an expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding the antibody or antigen- binding portion thereof as defined above.

Further, the present invention also provides a cell line capable of producing an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof according to the present invention.

In one embodiment, the cell line can be derived from any ceil line that is known in that art and suitable for the produc io of antibodies or antigen-binding portions thereof .

In a preferred embodiment , the cell line is the cell line Bl- 23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142.

In another preferred embodiment , the cell line contains an expression vector according to the invention as defined above . B) Pharmaceutical Compositions

In a further embodiment, the present invention relates to a pharmaceutical composition comprising any of the antibodies or antigen-binding portions thereof as defined above .

Pharmaceutical compositions in accordance with the present invention are prepared in accordance with known standards for the preparation of pharmaceutical compositions containing antibodies and portions thereof .

For instance, the compositions are prepared in a way that they can be stored and administered appropriately, e.g. by using pharmaceutically acceptable components such as carriers , excipients or stabilizers .

Such pharmaceutically acceptable components are not toxic in the amounts used when administering the pharmaceutical composition to a patient . The pharmaceutical acceptable components added to the pharmaceutical compositions may depend on the particular intended use of the pharmaceutical compositions and the route of administration.

In general , the pharmaceutica1ly acceptable components used in connection with the present invention are used in accordance with knowledge available in the art , e.g. from Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences , Ed. AR Gennaro, 20th edition, 2000 , Williams &. Wilkins , PA, USA.

C) Therapeutic Methods and Products for Use in these Methods

The present invention further relates to a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal . The method comprises administering an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof as defined above, or a pharmaceutical composition as defined above to said mammal . Alternatively, the present invention relates to an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof as defined above , or a pharmaceutical composition as defined above for use in these methods . In a very preferred aspect of these embodiments, the mammal is a human patient.

The present invention further relates to a method for treating cancer in a mammal . The method comprises administering an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof as defined above , or a pharmaceutical composition as defined above to said mammal. Alternatively, the present invention relates to an antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof as defined above, or a pharmaceutical composition as defined above for use in these methods. In a very preferred aspect of these embodiments, the mammal is a human patient.

When taking into account the present invention, it becomes clear that the anti-GDF-15 antibodies known from WO 2005/099746, WO 2009/021293 and Johnen H et al . , Nature Medicine, 2007 only inhibit cancer- induced weight loss, but fail to inhibit other effects of human GDF-15 such as those related to cancer growth.

The present invention relates to several surprising advantages compared to the effects observed in the art.

In particular, one main benefit of the invention lies in that the anti-GDF-15 antibodies disclosed herein can be used to more effectively treat cancer- induced weight loss and/or cancer cachexia .

For instance , the treatment with the antibodies according to the invention can completely prevent cancer cachexia (when given prophylactically) or completely reverse cancer cachexia {when given after the onset of cancer cachexia) .

Moreover, the antibodies according to the invention can even increase the body weight of the treated mammal during a prophylactic treatment for the prevention of cachexia . Likewise, it is expected that in the course of a therapeutic treatment started after the onset of cancer cachexia, the antibodies according to the invention can not only reverse the loss in body weight, but also increase the body weight of the treated mammal compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia.

This unexpected effect of the antibodies according to the invention may be beneficial in various clinical situations. For instance , administration of many ingredients that are pharmaceutically active against cancer (e.g. various chemotherapeutic drugs) can lead to a loss of body weight of mammals including human patients. Such an additional loss in body weight could be counteracted by the increase in body weight due to the administration of the antibodies according to the invention . Therefore , the uses of the antibodies according to the invention may be particularly advantageous and safe for combination regimens with additional chemotherapeutic drugs . Similarly, the uses of the antibodies according to the invention may be particularly advantageous for mammals such as human patients that already had a low body weight prior to the onset of cancer and/or prior to the onset of cancer cachexia . Patients with a low body weight may for instance be cachectic patients , e.g. patients with a body-mass-index of less than 18 kg/m2.

Moreover, unexpectedly, according to the invention, the antibodies are not only effective for the treatment of cancer cachexia, but also effective for the treatment of cancer .

Thus , the treatment methods and products for use of the antibodies according to the invention are expected to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of cancer patient sub-groups which suffer from cancer- induced weight loss and/or cancer cachexia, respectively.

However , the effects according to the invention are also expected to be advantageous for the treatment of a complete patient group of a cancer referred to herein: By using the antibodies according to the invention that are effective both against the cancer itself and against cancer- induced weight loss and/or cancer cachexia, cancer and cancer cachexia treatments may be simplified by using the same treatment for all cancer patients, irrespective of whether or not they suffer from cancer- induced weight loss and/or cancer cachexia. This is because due to the dual effects of the antibodies against cancer and cancer cachexia, it is expected that these antibodies will obviate the need for additional drugs for the treatment of cancer cachexia .

Likewise, due to the dual effects of the antibodies in accordance with the invention, it may also become unnecessary to diagnose cancer-induced weight loss and/or cancer cachexia. Hence it is expected that the overall costs of therapy and diagnosis will be reduced.

Therefore, in a preferred embodiment of the above methods, or antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing or completely reverting cancer cachexia. In a more preferred embodiment of this method, or the antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in this method, the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing cancer cachexia . In an alternative more preferred embodiment of this method, or the antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in this method, the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely reverting cancer cachexia .

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, only mammals suffering from both i) the cancer, and

ii) cancer cachexia

are treated in the method.

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods, or antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the method increases body weight of the mammal compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia. Preferably, the increase in body weight of the mammal is at least 1.5%, preferably at least 2.5%, more preferably at least 5% compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia.

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods, or antibodies , antige -binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the method is a method for both trea ing cancer and treating cancer cachexia in the same mammal .

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the antibody has a size of more than 100 kDa, preferably more than 110 kDa, more preferably more than 120 kDa, still more preferably more than 130 kDa, and most preferably more than 140 kDa . Preferably, the antibody is a full-length antibody, more preferably a full- length IgG antibody.

In a further preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention,, the antibody has an Fc portion which is capable of binding to the Fc receptor.

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF-15 and/or the cancer cells of the mammal stimulate endogenous expression of GDF-15 in noncancerous cells of the mammal .

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the cancer cells of the mammal are characterized in that they endogenously express GDF-15.

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical composi ions for use in these methods according to the invention, the mammal is human patient .

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods according to the invention, the human GDF-15 is recombinant human GDF-15 having the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID No: 8.

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods, or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods, the human patient has elevated GDF-15 levels in blood serum before administration . In a patient sub-group having elevated GDF-15 levels in blood serum, the treatment methods according to the invention are expected to be particularly effective at inhibiting cancer growth . In the most preferred aspect of this embodiment, GDF-15 levels are GDF-15 protein levels measured using the antibody according to the invention obtainable from the hybridoma cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DSMZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142 , preferably measured by immunochemistry .

In another embodiment of the above methods, or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods , the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is the sole ingredient pharmaceutically active against cancer used in the method .

In an alternative embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these me hods , the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is used in combination with one or more furthe ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer . In one aspect of this embodiment , the one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer is a known anticancer agent and/or an immune-stimulatory molecule as defined above . Thus , the anticancer agent can for instance be selected from alkylating agents such as cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin, mechlorethamine , cyclophosphamide , chlorambucil , and ifosfamide ; anti -metabolites such as azathioprine and mercaptopurine ; alkaloids such as vinca alkaloids (e.g. vincristine , vinblastine , vinorelbine , and vindesine) , taxanes (e.g. paclitaxel , docetaxel) etoposide and teniposide ; topoisomerase inhibitors such as camptothecins (e.g. irinotecan and topotecan) ; cytotoxic antibiotics such as actinomycin, anthracyclines , doxorubicin, daunorubicin, valrubicin, idarubicin, epirubicin, bleomycin, plicamycin and mitomycin; and radioisotopes . Due to the increasing effect of the antibodies according to the invention on body weight of the mammals including human patients , these combined uses of the antibodies or antigen-binding portions thereof and the ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer are expected to be particularly safe, because they may compensate a possible additional weight loss resulting from the administration of the ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer.

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods, or antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods , the cancer is selected from the group consisting of brain cancers including glioma, cancers of the nervous system, melanoma, lung cancer, lip and oral cavity cancer, hepatic carcinoma, leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma , Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bladder cancer, cervix uteri cancer, corpus uteri cancer, testis cancer, thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, gallbladder cancer, multiple myeloma, nasopharynx cancer, larynx cancer, pharynx cancer, oesophagus cancer, gastrointestinal tumors including stomach and colorectal cancer , pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, preferably from the group consisting of melanoma , prostate cancer , breast cancer, brain cancers including glioma , colorectal cancer , stomach cancer, oesophagus cancer and ovarian cancer, and most preferably is melanoma . In one embodiment the cancer is selected from the above grou , which further comprises endometrial cancer, such as endomet ial carcinoma, breast cancer including subtypes of breast cancer, in particular triple-negative breast cancer and bladder cancer such as urothelial cell carcinoma .

In another preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods , the tumor or tumors formed by the cancer have higher human GDF-15 levels prior to administration compared to a control sample of the same patient obtained from a non-cancerous part of the tissue which is the tissue of origin of the cancer, pre erably 1.2- fold higher levels, more preferably 1.5-fold higher levels, still more preferably 2- fold higher levels and most preferably 5-fold higher levels. In a patient sub-group having higher GDF- 15 levels in the tumor or tumors formed by the cancer compared to the above control sample , the treatment methods according to the invention are expected to be particularly effective at inhibiting cancer growth .

In a very preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods , the method for treating cancer comprises inhibiting cancer growth. In a preferred aspect of this embodiment , cancer growth is stopped. In a more preferred aspect, the cancer shrinks .

In a preferred embodiment of the above methods , or antibodies , antigen-binding portions thereof or pharmaceutical compositions for use in these methods , the method for treating cancer comprises the induction of killing of cancer cells by NK cells and CD8+ T cells in the human patient . Due to their capability of preventing GDF- 15 mediated down-regulation of the known immune surveillance regulator NKG2D, the antibodies or antigen-binding portions thereof according to the invention are expected to restore immune surveillance and induce the killing of cancer cells by NK cells and CD8+ T cells , in addition to effects of the antibodies or antigen-binding portions thereof that are independent of the immune system .

D) Kits

The present invention also provides kits comprising the pharmaceutical compositions as defined above .

In one embodiment , the kits are kits for use in the methods according to the invention as defined above . In further embodiments, the present invention also provides a diagnostic kit comprising any of the antibodies or antigen- binding portions thereof according to the invention.

In one embodiment, the diagnostic kit may be used to detect whether the tumor or tumors of a cancer patient formed by the cancer have higher human GDF-15 levels compared to a control sample of the same patient obtained from a non- cancerous part of the tissue which is the tissue of origin of the cancer.

In another embodiment, the diagnostic kit may be used to detect whether a human cancer patient has elevated GDF-15 levels in blood serum.

E) Sequences

The amino acid sequences referred to in the present application are as follows (in an N- terminal to C- terminal order; represented in the one-letter amino acid code) :

SEQ ID No: 1 (Region of the Heavy Chain Variable Domain comprising an FR1, a CDR1, an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region from the Polypeptide Sequence of monoclonal anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23) :

QVKLQQSGPGILQSSQTLSLTCSFSGFSLSTSGMGVS IRQPSGKGLEWLAHIYWDDDKRY NPTLKSRLTISKDPSR QVFLKITSVDTADTATYYC

SEQ ID No : 2 (Region of the Light Chain Variable Domain comprising an FR1, a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region from the Polypeptide Sequence of monoclonal anti -human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23) :

DIVLTQSPKFMSTSVGDRVSVTCKASQNVGTNVAWFLQKPGQSPKALIYSASYRYSGVPDR FTGSGSGTDFTLTISNVQSEDLAEYFC

SEQ ID No: 3 (Heavy Chain CDR1 Region Peptide Sequence of monoclonal anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23) :

GFSLSTSGMG SEQ ID No: 4 (Heavy Chain CDR2 Region Peptide Sequence of monoclonal anti -human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 ) :

IY DDDK

SEQ ID No ; 5 (Heavy Chain CDR3 Region Peptide Sequence of monoclonal anti -human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 ) :

ARSSYGAMDY

SEQ ID No : 6 (Light Chain CDR1 Region Peptide Sequence of monoclonal anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23) :

QNVGTN

Light Chain CDR2 Region Peptide Sequence of monoclonal anti- human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 :

SAS

SEQ ID No: 7 (Light Chain CDR3 Region Peptide Sequence of monoclonal anti -human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23) :

QQYNNFPYT

SEQ ID No : 8 (recombinant mature human GDF-15 protein) :

GSARNGDHCPLGPGRCCRLHWRASLEDLGWADWVLSPREVQVTMCIGACPSQFRAANMHA

QIKTSLHRLKPDTVPAPCCVPASYNPMVLIQKTDTGVSLQTYDDLLA DCHCI

SEQ ID No: 9 (human GDF-15 precursor protein) :

MPGQELRTWGSQMLLVLLVLSWLPHGGALSLAEASRASFPGPSELHSEDSRFRELRKRYE DLLTRLRANQSWEDSNTDLVPAPAVRILTPEVRLGSGGHLHLRISRAALPEGLPEASRLHR ALFRLSPTASRSWDVTRPLRRQLSLARPQAPALHLRLSPPPSQSDQLLAESSSARPQLELH

LRPQAARGRRRARARNGDHCPLGPGRCCRLHTVRASLEDLGWADWVLSPREVQVTMCIGAC PSQFRAANMHAQIKTSLHRLKPDTVPAPCCVPASYNPMVLIQKTDTGVSLQTYDDLLAKDC HCI

SEQ ID No : 10 (human GDF-15 precursor protein + N- terminal and C-terminal GSGS linker) :

GSGSGSGMPGQELRTVNGSQMLLVLLVLSWLPHGGALSLAEASRASFPGPSELHSEDSRFR ELRKRYEDLLTRLRANQSWEDSNTDLVPAPAVRILTPEVRLGSGGHLHLRISRAALPEGLP EASRLHRALFRLSPTASRSWDVTRPLRRQLSLARPQAPALHLRLSPPPSQSDQLLAESSSA RPQLELHLRPQAARGRRPJ^ARNGDHCPLGPGRCCRLHTVRASLEDLGWADWVLSPREVQV

TMCIGACPSQFRAA MHAQIKTSLHRL PDTVPAPCCVPASYNPMVLIQ TDTGVSLQTYD DLLAKDCHCIGSGSGSG

SEQ ID NO: 11 (Flag peptide) : DY DDDDKGG SEQ ID NO: 12 (HA peptide) : YPYDVPDYAG

SEQ ID No: 13 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) : ELHLRPQAARGRR

SEQ ID No: 14 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) : LHLRPQAARGRRR

SEQ ID No: 15 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) :

HLRPQAARGRRRA

SEQ ID No: 16 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) : LRPQAARGRRRAR

SEQ ID No : 17 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) :

RPQAARGRRRARA

SEQ ID No: 18 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) : PQAARGRR.RARAR

SEQ ID No: 19 (peptide derived from human GDF- 15) : QAARGRRRARARN

SEQ ID No: 20 (peptide derived from human GDF-15) : MHAQIKTSLHRLK

SEQ ID No: 25 (GDF-15 peptide comprising part of the GDF-15 Epitope that binds to Bl-23) :

EVQVTMCIGACPSQFR SEQ ID No: 26 (GDF-15 peptide comprising part of the GDF-15 Epitope that binds to Bl-23 ) :

TDTGVSLQTYDDLLAKDCHCI

The nucleic acid sequences referred to in the present application are as follows (in a 5' to 3' order; represented in accordance with the standard nucleic acid code) :

SEQ ID No: 21 (DNA nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence defined in SEQ ID No: 1) :

CAAGTGAAGCTGCAGCAGTCAGGCCCTGGGATATTGCAGTCCTCCCAGACCCTCAGTCTGA CTTGTTCTTTCTCTGGGTTTTCACTGAGTACTTCTGGTATGGGTGTGAGCTGGATTCGTCA GCCTTCAGGAAAGGGTCTGGAGTGGCTGGCACACATTTACTGGGATGATGACAAGCGCTAT AACCCAACCCTGAAGAGCCGGCTCACAATCTCCAAGGATCCCTCCAGAAACCAGGTATTCC

TCAAGATCACCAGTGTGGACACTGCAGATACTGCCACATACTACTGT

SEQ ID No: 22 (DNA nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence defined in SEQ ID No : 2) :

GACATTGTGCTCACCCAGTCTCCAAAATTCATGTCCACATCAGTAGGAGACAGGGTCAGCG TCACCTGCAAGGCCAGTCAGAATGTGGGTACTAATGTGGCCTGGTTTCTACAGAAACCAGG GCAATCTCCTAAAGCACTTATTTACTCGGCATCCTACCGGTACAGTGGAGTCCCTGATCGC TTCACAGGCAGTGGATCTGGGACAGATTTCACTCTCACCATCAGCAACGTGCAGTCTGAAG ACTTGGCAGAGTATTTCTGT

SEQ ID No: 23 (DNA nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence defined in SEQ ID No: 5) :

GCTCGAAGTTCCTACGGGGCAATGGACTAC

SEQ ID No : 24 (DNA nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence defined in SEQ ID No: 7) :

CAGCAATATAACAACTTTCCGTACACG

SEQ ID No : 27 (amino acid sequence of the heavy chain of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

QITLKESGPTLVKPTQTLTLTCTFSGFSLSTSGMGVSWIRQPPGKGLEWIAHIYWDDDKRY NPTLKSRLTITKDPSKNQWLTMTM4DPVDTATYYCARSSYGAMDY GQGTLVTVSSASTK GPSVFPLAPSSKSTSGGTAALGCLVKDYFPEPVTVSWNSGALTSGVHTFPAVLQSSGLYSL SSWTVPSSSLGTQTYICNWHKPSNTKVDKKVEPKSCDKTITCPPCPAPELLGGPSVFLF

PPKPKDTLMISRTPEVTOTWDVSHEDPEVKFNWYTOGVEVHNAKTKPREEQYNSTYRWS VLTVLHQDWLNG EYKCKVSNKALPAPIEKTISKAKGQPREPQVYTLPPSREE T QVSL TCLVKGFYPSDIAVEWESNGQPE NYKTTPPVLDSDGSFFLYSKLTVD SRWQQGNVFSCS VMHEALH HYTQKSLSLSPGK

SEQ ID No: 28 (amino acid sequence of the heavy chain variable domain of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

QITLKESGPTLVKPTQTLTLTCTFSGFSLSTSGMGVS IRQPPGKGLEWLAHIYVJDDDKRY NPTLKSRLTITKDPS NQWLTMTNMDPVDTATYYCARSSYGAMDYWGQGTLVTVSS

SEQ ID No: 29 (amino acid sequence of the heavy chain constant domain of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

ASTKGPSVFPLAPSSKSTSGGTAALGCLVKDYFPEPVTVSWNSGALTSGVHTFPAVLQSSG LYSLSSWTVPSSSLGTQTYICNVNHKPSNTKVDKKVEPKSCDKTHTCPPCPAPELLGGPS VFLFPPKPKDTLMISRTPEVTCV DVSHEDPEVKFN YVDGVEVHNAKTKPREEQYNSTY RWSVLTVLHQDWLNGKEYKCKVSNKALPAPIEKTISKAKGQPREPQVYTLPPSREEMTKN

QVSLTCLVKGFYPSDIAVE ESNGQPENNYKTTPPVLDSDGSFFLYSKLTVDKSRWQQGNV FSCSV HEALHNHYTQKSLSLSPGK

SEQ ID No : 30 (amino acid sequence of the light chain of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

DIVLTQSPSFLSASVGDRVTITCKASQNVGTNVAWFQQKPGKSPKALIYSASYRYSGVPDR FTGSGSGTEFTLTISSLQPEDFAAYFCQQYNNFPYTFGGGTKLEIKRAPSVFIFPPSDEQL KSGTASWCLLNNFYPREAKVQWKVDNALQSGNSQESVTEQDSKDSTYSLSSTLTLSKADY EKHKVYACEVTHQGLSSPVTKSFNRGEC

SEQ ID No: 31 (amino acid sequence of the light chain variable domain of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

DIVLTQSPSFLSASVGDRVTITCKASQNVGTNVAWFQQKPGKSPKALIYSASYRYSGVPDR

FTGSGSGTEFTLTISSLQPEDFAAYFCQQYNNFPYTFGGGTKLEIKR SEQ ID No: 32 {amino acid, sequence of the light chain constant domain of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

APSVFIFPPSDEQLKSGTASWCLL NFYPREAKVQWKVDNALQSGNSQESVTEQDSKDST

YSLSSTLTLSKADYEKHKVYACEVTHQGLSSPVTKSFNRGEC

SEQ ID No: 33 (amino acid sequence of the heavy chain of the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

QVKLQQSGPGILQSSQTLSLTCSFSGFSLSTSGMGVSWIRQPSGKGLEWLAHIY DDDKRY NPTLKSRLTISKDPSRNQVFLKITSVDTADTATYYCARSSYGAMDYWGQGTSVTVSSASTK GPSVFPLAPSSKSTSGGTAALGCLVKDYFPEPVTVS NSGALTSGVHTFPAVLQSSGLYSL SSWTVPSSSLGTQTYICNVNHKPSNTKVDKKVEPKSCDKTHTCPPCPAPELLGGPSVFLF PPKPKDTLMISRTPEVTCVWDVSHEDPEVKFNWYVDGVEVHNAKTKPREEQYNSTYRWS VLTVLHQD LNG EYKCKVSNKALPAPIEKTISKAKGQPREPQVYTLPPS EEMTKNQVSL TCLVKGFYPSDIAVE ESNGQPENNYKTTPPVLDSDGSFFLYSKLTVDKSR QQGNVFSCS VMHEALHNHYTQKSLSLSPGK

SEQ ID No: 34 {amino acid sequence of the heavy chain variable domain of the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) : QVKLQQSGPGILQSSQTLSLTCSFSGFSLSTSG GVSWIRQPSGKGLEWLAHIYWDDDKRY NPTLKSRLTISKDPSRNQVFLKITSVDTADTATYYCARSSYGAMDYWGQGTSVTVSS

SEQ ID No: 35 (amino acid sequence of the heavy chain constant domain of the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

ASTKGPSVFPLAPSSKSTSGGTAALGCLVKDYFPEPVTVSWNSGALTSGVHTFPAVLQSSG

LYSLSSWTVPSSSLGTQTYICmnHKPSNTKVDKKVEPKSCDKTHTCPPCPAPELLGGPS

VFLFPPKPKDTLMISRTPEVTCVWDVSHEDPEVKFNWYVDGVEVHNAKTKPREEQYNSTY

RWSVLTVLHQDWLNGKEYKCKVSNKALPAPIE TISKAKGQPREPQVYTLPPSREEMTKN

QVSLTCLVKGFYPSDIAVEWESNGQPENNYKTTPPVLDSDGSFFLYSKLTVDKSRWQQGNV

FSCSVMHEALHNHYTQKSLSLSPGK

SEQ ID No: 36 {amino acid sequence of the light chain of the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

DIVLTQSPKFMSTSVGDRVSVTCKASQNVGTNVAWFLQKPGQSPKALIYSASYRYSGVPDR FTGSGSGTDFTLTISNVQSEDLAEYFCQQYNNFPYTFGGGTKLEIKRTVAAPSVFIFPPSD EQLKSGTASWCLLNNFYPREAKVQWKVDNALQSGNSQESVTEQDSKDSTYSLSSTLTLSK ADYEKHKVYACEVTHQGLSSPVTKSFNRGEC SEQ ID No: 37 (amino acid sequence of the light chain variable domain of the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) : DIVLTQSPKFMSTSVGDRVSVTCKASQNVGTNVAWFL.QKPGQSPKALIYSASYRYSGVPDR FTGSGSGTDFTLTISNVQSEDLAEYFCQQYNNFPYTFGGGTKLEI RTVA

SEQ ID No: 38 (amino acid sequence of the light chain constant domain of the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody) :

APSVFIFPPSDEQL SGTASWCLLNNFYPREAKVQWKVDNALQSGNSQESVTEQDSKDST YSLSS LTLSKADYEKHKVYACEVTHQGLSSPVTKSFNRGEC

F) Examples

The present invention is illustrated by the following non- limiting Examples :

Example 1 : Generation and characterization of the murine GDF- 15 Antibody Bl-23 , and generation of chimeric and humanized antibodies .

The antibody Bl-23 was generated in a GDF- 15 knock out mouse . Recombinant human GDF- 15 (SEQ ID No: 8) was used as the immunogen.

The hybridoma cell line Bl-23 producing mAb-Bl-23 was deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No . DS ACC3142, in accordance with the Budapest Treaty.

By means of a commercially available test strip system, Bl-23 was identified as an IgG2a (kappa chain) isotype . Using surface lasmon resonance measurements , the dissociation constant (Kd) was determined as follows :

Binding of the monoclonal anti -human-GDF- 15 antibody anti - human GDF- 15 mAb-Bl-23 was measured by employing surface plasmon resonance measurements using a Bio-Rad® ProteOn™ XPR36 system and Bio-Rad* GLC sensor chips : For preparing the biosensors recombinant mature human GDF-15 protein was immobilized on flow cells 1 and 2, On one flow cell recombinant GDF-15 derived from Baculvirus-transfected insect cells (HighFive insect cells) and on the other recombinant protein derived from expression in E . coli was used. The GLC sensor chip was activated using Sulfo-NHS (N- Hydroxysulfosticcinimide) and EDC (l-Ethyl-3 - [3 - dimethylaminopropyl] carbodiimide hydrochloride) (Bio-Rad® ProteOn™ Amine Coupling Kit ) according to the manufacturer's recommendation, the sensor surface was subsequently loaded with the proteins up to a density of about 600RU ( lRu = lpg mm"2) . The non-reacted coupling groups were then quenched by perfusion with 1M ethanolamine pH 8.5 and the biosensor was equilibrated by perfusing the chip with running buffer ( 10M HEPES, 150mM NaCl, 3.4mM EDTA, 0.005% Tween®20, pH 7.4, referred to as HBS150 ) . As controls two flow cells were used, one empty with no protein coupled and one cou led with an non-physiological protein partner (human Interleukin- 5 ) , which was immobilized using the same coupling chemistry and the same coupling density. For interaction measurements anti- human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 was dissolved in HBS150 and used in six di ferent concentrations as analyte (concentration: 0.4, 0.8, 3, 12 , 49 und 98 n ) . The analyte was perfused over the biosensor using the one-shot kinetics setup to avoid intermittent regeneration, all measurements were performed at 25°C and using a flow rate of ΙΟΟμΙ min-1. For processing the bulk face effect and unspecific binding to the sensor matrix was removed by subtracting the SPR data of the empty flow cell (flow cell 3 ) from all other SPR data . The resulting sensogram was analyzed using the software ProteOn Manager version 3.0. For analysis of the binding kinetics a 1:1 Langmuir- type interaction was assumed . For the association rate constant a value of 5.4+0.06xl05 M_1s-1 (kon) and for the dissociation rate constant a value of 4.3+0.03x10 "4 s"l (kDff ) could be determined (values are for the interaction of anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 with GDF-15 derived from insect cell expression) . The equilibrium dissociation constant was calculated using the equation KD = kcff/kon to yield a value of about 790pM . Affinity values for the interaction of GDF- 15 derived from E . coli expression and the anti -huma GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 differ by less than a factor of 2, rate constants for GDF-15 derived from insect cells and E . coli deviate by about 45% and are thus within the accuracy of SPR measurements and likely do not reflect a real difference in affinity . Under the conditions used the anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 shows no binding to human interleukin- 5 and thus confirms the specificity of the interaction data and the anti -human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23.

The amino acid sequence of recombinant human GDF-15 (as expressed in Baculovirus- transfected insect cells) is :

GSARNGDHCP LGPGRCCRLH TVRASLEDLG WADWVLSPRE VQVTMCIGAC PSQFRAANMH AQIKTSLHRL KPDTVPAPCC VPASY PMVL IQKTDTGVSL QTYDDLLAKD CHCI

(SEQ ID No: 8)

Thus , using surface plasmon resonance measurements , the dissociation constant (Kd) of 790pM was determined. As a comparison: the therapeutically used antibody Rituximab h s a significantly lower affinity (Kd - 8 nM) .

From the murine anti -human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 , a chimeric anti- human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 antibody according to the invention was generated by replacing constant domains of the murine antibody with the constant domains of a human IgGl antibody (trastuzumab backbone) . The amino acid sequence of the heavy- chain of this chimeric antibody is shown in SEQ ID No : 33 , and the amino acid sequence of the light chain of this chimeric antibody is shown in SEQ ID No: 36.

From the chimeric anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 , a humanized anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 antibody according to the invention was developed by humanizing the variable domains of the chimeric antibody, i.e. by replacing the framework regions of the chimeric antibody with human sequences, The amino acid sequence of the heavy chain of this humanized antibody is shown in SEQ ID No; 27, and the amino acid sequence of the light chain of this humanized antibody is shown in SEQ ID No: 30. This antibody is referred to as H1L5 anti-GDF-15 antibody or humanized B1-23-H1L5 antibody or H1L5 antibody .

In order to generate the above-mentioned chimeric anti-human GDF-15 mAb-Bl-23 antibody and the humanized Bl-23 -H1L5 antibody as indicated above, the cDNAs encoding the antibody sequences were optimized, and the genes were synthesized. The gene sequences were then cloned into a cloning/expression vector system. From these vectors , plasmid DNA with low endotoxin levels was synthesized .

The plasmid DNA was then transiently transfected into CHO cells , followed by an analysis and quantification of antibody expression using a protein A biosensor . The cDNA of candidate cultures for antibody expression was sequenced. The obtained monoclonal antibodies were analyzed ( see Exam les 7 to 9) .

Example 2 : Antagonization of GDF- 15 Mediated Effects with mAB Bl-23 a) The NKG2D (Natural Killer Group 2D) receptor, which is expressed on NK cells and CD8+ T cells, is known to play an important role in the immune surveillance against tumors . Transformed as well as viral infected cells express ligands , which bind to the NKG2D receptor, thereby activating the cytotoxic effector functions of the described immune cells . In that way transformed cells can be detected and eliminated by the immune system . After treatment of immune cells with either recombinant human GDF-15 or tumor cell secreted GDF-15 in vitro for 72 hours , the expression level of NKG2D on the cell surface of lymphocytes was downregulated (Figure 1 ) . After 72 hours incubation the immune cells were stained with the following FACS -antibodies : anti CD3 , anti CD56, anti- NKG2D . Using this antibody combination, the experiment focused on NK cells and their NKG2D surface expression . The low NKG2D level on immune cells led to an impaired tumor/target cell lysis . The GDF-15 mediated downregulation of NKG2D was prevented by mAb Bl-23.

It is therefore concluded that human GDF-15 downregulates expression of NKG2D on the cell surface of lymphocytes and thereby downregulates immune surveillance against tumors . By binding to human GDF-15 , the antibodies of the present invention are capable of preventing GDF- 15 mediated downregulation of NKG2D and should be capable of restoring immune surveillance and inducing the killing of cancer cells by NK cells and CD8+ T cells . Given that the CDR regions of the mAb Bl-23 antibody correspond to CDR regions of the chimeric and humanized antibodies , it is expected that the functional properties including the binding properties of these antibodies are similar . b) The treatment of the ovarian cancer cell line SK-OV-3 with recombinant GDF-15 led to the phosphorylation of AKT . AKT is a molecule, which is part of the PI3K-pathway and contributes to the activation and proliferation of cells . In this experiment SK-OV-3 cells were treated with 10 ng/ml recombinant GDF-15 for 10 min at 37°C, 5% C02. 5 minutes preincubation of 2 μ<3 mAb-Bl-23 with 10 ng/ml GDF-15 at 37°C blocked the GDF-15 mediated AKT-phosphorylation (Figure 2) . This showed the neutralizing effect of mAb-Bl-23. c) Treatment of immune cells with recombinant GDF-15 led to the phosphorylation of JNK, a kinase , which is activated either by cytokines or by stress . Antagonization of 10 ng/ml GDF-15 with 2 μg mAb-Bl-23 (5 minute preincubation at 37°) blocked the GDF-15 mediated JNK1/2 -phosphorylation (Figure 3} . Exam le 3 : Inhibition of Cancer Cell Proliferation Using mAb Bl-23

Data generated with Bl-23 showed an antiproliferative effect of the antibody on cancer cells in vitro . The strongest antiproliferative effect was observed using the prostate cancer cell line LnCap, which produces lots of GDF-15. A metabolic assay (Alamar Blue® assay) showed a decrease of proliferation of 30% after 72hrs when mAb-Bl-23 was present , compared with the control group , where the antibody was not applied. Since cytotoxic effects of the antibody have been excluded in different assays , this effect proves a significantly decreased cell division rate after blockade of GDF- 15.

Example 4 : mAb Bl-23 inhibits Growth of tumors in vivo The following in vivo study was carried out :

To assess an anti- tumor effect of Bl-23 in vivo, Balb/cnu/nu nude mice were used in a xenograft setting with the melanoma cell line UACC-257. The mice were treated either with the antibody Bl-23 or with PBS . Each treatment cohort contained 10 Balb/cnu/nu nude mice.

Prior to injection, the UACC-257 melanoma cells were grown in complete medium, excluding any contamination . The cells were harvested when 70-80% confluence was reached in the cell culture flask . Cells were then washed with PBS and counted. lxlO7 viable cells were suspended in PBS .

The first inj ection/treatment was administered in 6 week old

Balb/cnu/nu nude mice . The inoculation area of the mice was cleaned with ethanol . The UACC 257 cells were mixed and drawn into a syringe without a needle, in order to avoid negative pressure on the tumor cells . The cell suspension containing 1x10 ' cells in PBS was injected subcutaneously (s.c.) into the lower flank of the mice.

The intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of either Bl-23 (25mg/kg body weight) or the same volume of PBS started immediately after the tumor cell inoculation (defined as day 1) and was administered twice a week. The tumors were grown for 48 days. The tumor diameters were measured with a caliper and the tumor volume in mm3 was calculated, by the formula:

Volume = (width) 2 x length/2

The results which were obtained from the study are shown in Figure 4.

As demonstrated in the Figure , the tumor size of the animal cohort treated with Bl-23 was significantly decreased, compared to the PBS control grou .

Given that the CDR regions of the mAb Bl-23 antibody correspond to CDR regions of the chimeric and humanized antibodies , it is expected that the functional properties including anti-cancer effects of these antibodies are similar .

Example 5 : mAb Bl-23 recognizes a conformational or a discontinuous epitope of human GDF-15

Epitope Mapping: Monoclonal mouse antibody GDF-15 against 13mer linear peptides derived from GDF-15

Antigen: GDF-15 :

GSGSGSGMPGQELRTVNGSQMLLVLLVLSWLPHGGALSLAEASRASFPGPSELHSEDSRFR ELRKRYEDLLTRLRANQS EDSNTDLVPAPAVRILTPEVRLGSGGHLHLRISRAALPEGLP EASRLHRALFRLSPTASRSVJDVTRPLRRQLSLARPQAPALHLRLSPPPSQSDQLLAESSSA

RPQLELHLRPQAARGRRPJRARNGDHCPLGPGRCCRLHTVRASLEDLG AD VLSPREVQV TMCIGACPSQFRAANMHAQIKTSLHRLKPDTVPAPCCVPASYNPMVLIQKTDTGVSLQTYD DLLAKDCHCIGSGSGSG (322 amino acids with linker) (SEQ ID No; 10)

The protein sequence was translated into I3mer peptides with a shift of one amino acid. The C- and N-termini were elongated by a neutral GSGS linker to avoid truncated peptides (bold letters) .

Contro1 Peptides :

Flag: DYKDDDDKGG (SEQ ID No: 13), 78 spots; HA: YPYDVPDYAG ( SEQ ID No: 14), 78 spots (each array copy)

Peptide Chip Identifier:

000264_01 (10/90, Ala2Asp linker)

Staining Conditions :

Standard buffer: PBS , pH 7,4 + 0.05% Tween®20

Blocking buffer: Rockland blocking buffer MB-070

Incubation buffer: Standard buffer with 10% Rockland blocking buffer MB-0 0

Primary sample : Monoclonal mouse antibody GDF-15 (1 μς/μΐ) : Staining in incubation buffer for 16 h at 4°C at a dilution of 1:100 and slight shaking at 500 rpm

Secondary antibody: Goat anti-mouse IgG (H+L) IRDye680 , staining in incubation buffer with a dilution of 1:5000 for 30 min at room temperature (RT)

Control antibodies: Monoclonal anti-HA (12CA5) -LL-Atto 680 (1:1000), monoclonal anti -FLAG (M2 ) -FluoProbes752 (1:1000); staining in incubation buffer for 1 h at RT

Scanner :

Odyssey® Imaging System, LI -COR Biosciences

Settings; offset: lmm; resolution: 21 μπι; intensity green/'red : 7/7 Results :

After 30 min pre-swelling in standard buffer and 30 min in blocking buffer, the peptide array with 10, 12 and I5mer B7H3 -derived linear peptides was incubated with secondary goat anti-mouse IgG (H+L) IRDye680 antibody only at a dilution of 1:5000 for lh at room temperature to analyze background interactions of the secondary antibody. The PEPperCHIP® was washed 2x1 min with standard buffer, rinsed with dist, water and dried in a stream of air. Read-out was done with Odyssey® Imaging System at a resolution of 21

Figure imgf000069_0001
and green/red intensities of 7/7; We observed a weak interaction of arginine-rich peptides {ELHLRPQAARGRR (SEQ ID No: 15), LHLRPQAARGRRR (SEQ ID No: 16) , HLRPQAARGRRRA (SEQ ID No: 17), LRPQAARGRRRAR (SEQ ID Νθ:18), RPQAARGRRRARA (SEQ ID No: 19), PQAARGRRRARAR (SEQ ID Νθ:20) and QAARGRRRARARN (SEQ ID No: 21)) that are known as frequent binders, and with the basic peptide MHAQIKTSLHRLK (SEQ ID No: 22) due to ionic interactions with the charged antibody dye .

After pre-swelling for 10 min in standard buffer, the peptide microarray was incubated overnight at 4 °C with monoclonal mouse antibody GDF-15 at a dilution of 1:100. Repeated washing in standard buffer (2x1 min) was followed by incubation for 30 min with the secondary antibody at a dilution of 1:5000 at room temperature. After 2x10 sec. washing in standard buffer and short rinsing with dist. water, the PEPperCHIP® was dried in a stream of air . Read-out was done with Odyssey® Imaging System at a resolution of 21 μπι and green/red intensities of 7/7 before and after staining of control peptides by anti -HA and anti-FLAG ( 2 ) antibodies .

It was shown that none of the linear 13mer peptides derived from GDF-15 interacted with monoclonal mouse antibody GDF-15 even at overregulated intensities . Staining of Flag and HA control peptides that frame the array, however, gave rise to good and homogeneous spot intensities . Summary:

The Epitope Mapping of monoclonal mouse GDF-15 antibody against GDF-15 did not reveal any linear epitope with the 13mer peptides derived from the antigen. According to this finding it is very likely that monoclonal mouse antibody GDF- 15 recognizes a conformational or a discontinuous epitope with low affinity of partial epitopes . Due to the obvious absence of any GDF-15 signal above the background staining of the secondary antibody only, quantification of spot intensities with PepSlide® Analyzer and subsequent peptide annotation were omitted .

Example 6 : Structural identification of peptide ligand epitopes by mass spectrometric epitope excisio and epitope extraction

The epitope of recombinant human GDF-15 which binds to the antibody Bl-23 was identified by means of the epitope excision method and epitope extraction method (Suckau et al . Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 December; 87 (24) : 9848 9852. ; R . Stefanescu et al . , Eur .J. Mass Spectrom. 13 , 69-75 (2007) ) .

For preparation of the antibody column, the antibody Bl-23 was added to NHS-activated 6-aminohexanoic acid coupled sepharose . The sepharose-coupled antibody Bl-23 was then loaded into a 0 , 8 ml microcolumn and washed with blocking and washing buffers .

Epitope extraction experiment :

Recombinant human GDF-15 was digested with trypsin for 2h at 37°C (in solution) , resulting in different peptides , according to the trypsin cleavage sites in the protein. After complete digestion, the peptides were loaded on the affinity column containing the immobilized antibody Bl-23. Unbound as well as potentially bound peptides of GDF-15 were used for mass spectrometry analysis . An identification of peptides by means of mass spectrometry was not possible. This was a further indicator that the binding region of GDF-15 in the immune complex Bl-23 comprises a discontinuous or conformational epitope. In case of a continuous linear epitope, the digested peptides should bind its interaction partner, unless there was a trypsin cleavage site in the epitope peptide. A discontinuous or conformational epitope could be confirmed by the epitope excision method described in the following part .

E itope excision experiment :

The immobilized antibody Bl-23 on the affinity column was then incubated with recombinant GDF-15 for 2h . The formed immune complex on the affinity column was then incubated with trypsin for 2h at 37°C. The cleavage resulted in different peptides derived from the recombinant GDF-15. The immobilized antibody itself is proteolytically stable . The resulting peptides of the digested GDF- 15 protein, which were shielded by the antibody and thus protected from proteolytic cleavage , were eluted under acidic conditions (TFA, pH2 ) , collected and identified by mass spectrometry.

The epitope excision method using MS/MS identification resulted in the following peptides :

Peptide Position in sequence Mass Ion/Charge

EVQVTMCIGACPSQFR 40-55 1769.91 590.50(3+)

(SEQ ID No: 25)

TDTGVSLQTYDDLLAKDCHCI 94-114 2310, 96 771 : 33 (3+)

(SEQ ID NO: 26)

The part of human GDF-15, which binds the antibody Bl-23 , comprises a discontinuous or conformational epitope . Mass spectrometry identified 2 peptides in the GDF-15 protein, which are responsible for the formation of the immune complex. These peptides are restricted to the positions 40- 55 { EVQVTMCIGACPSQFR) and 94-114 {TDTGVSLQTYDDLLAKDCHCI ) in the GDF-15 amino acid sequence. Thus, these two peptides comprise an epitope of the GDF-15 protein that binds to the antibody Bl-23.

Again, since the CDR regions of the mAb Bl-23 antibody correspond to CDR regions of the chimeric and humanized antibodies, it is expected that the binding properties of these antibodies are similar.

Example 7: Treatment of cancer-induced weight loss with anti- GDF-15 antibodies . In the underlying animal study No. 140123 , 10 Balb/c nu/nu mice per treatment group were subcutaneously inoculated with lOxlO6 UACC-257 cells per animal in a 1 : 1 volume ratio with matrigel (100 μΐ cells + 100 μΐ matrigel) . The animals were treated on the same day with the respective antibodies , as indicated below:

Study groups 1-6 Amounts of substances

(10 animals per group) (for 45 days)

1. Dacarbazine*

(reference, Lot . No. : C120522C) 80 mg

2. PBS (SIGMA, Lot . No.: RNBD0341) 30 ml

3. Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody

(murine, Lot . No. : 515980) 75 mg

4. Chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody

(chimeric; Lot . : PRO 057) 75 mg

5. H1L5 anti-GDF-15 antibody

(humanized Bl-23, Lot . : PR3176) 75 mg 6. B12 Isotype control antibody

(Isotype antibody, Lot . No. : ID3195) 75 rag

*Detidemac 500 mg (exp. : 03/2015)

The dacarbazine group (group 1) served as a reference group /positive control for tumor growth arrest (cytostatic drug for the treatment of malignant melanoma in humans ) .

The PBS group (group 2) served as a growth control/vehicle control group , because all used substances of the other groups were administered in PBS .

The group of the murine Bl-23 lead candidate antibody ( group 3) served as reference group for a comparison with the chimeric Bl-23 antibody and with the humanized Bl-23 H1L5 (groups 4 and 5 ) .

Group 4 is the group of the chimerized Bl-23 lead candidate antibody, which contains murine variable domains and constant domains of a human IgGl antibody ( trastuzumab backbone) .

Group 5 is the group of the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 lead candidate antibody, which contains humanized frameworks within the murine variable regions and constant domains of a human IgGl antibody (trastuzumab backbone) .

Group 6 is the group of the B12 isotype antibody. For this isotype control group , the antibody B12 (Lot . No.: ID3195) was produced by the company Evitria AG . B12 binds to an HIV antigen and should therefore neither bind to antigens in nude mice nor to antigens of the human tumor . B12 was selected as a highly suitable isotype control , because the immunog1obu1in backbone of B12 also consists of the human IgGl antibody trastuzumab and is therefore almost identical to the chimeric Bl-23 and the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibodies , except for their variable regions . The study was carried out in a double-blinded manner for the treatment with the antibodies and for the treatment with PBS .

In groups I , 2 and 6 which did not receive anti-GDF-15 antibodies, more than 10% body weight loss was observed {i.e. weight loss to a relative body weight of less than 90% compared to day 0) . In contrast, in the groups which had received treatment with the anti-GDF-15 antibodies Bl-23 , chimeric Bl-23 and humanized Bl-23 -H1L5 , respectively, an increase in body weight was observed (Figure 5) .

Thus , surprisingly, treatment with all of the tested anti- GDF-15 antibodies completely prevents cancer- induced weight loss in mice . This effect was significant for all of the groups treated with anti-GDF-15 antibodies {two-way A OVA ; p<0.05) .

It is also noteworthy that the mice of the groups that did not receive treatment with anti-GDF-15 antibodies exhibited a weight loss of more than 10%. In humans , a weight loss of as little as 5% over a period of 6 months is considered as being indicative of cancer cachexia (Fearon . et al . : Definition and classification of cancer cachexia : an international consensus . Lancet Oncol . 2011 May; 12 (5) : 489-95 , ) . Given the larger weight loss of the mice observed in the present study which even exceeded 10%, it is expected that the mice in the study, which did not receive treatment with anti-GDF-15 antibodies , not only exhibited weight loss but also exhibited cancer cachexia . This effect is completely prevented by the anti-GDF-15 antibodies tested . It is therefore expected that the anti-GDF-15 antibodies in accordance with the invention are capable of both treating cancer- induced weight loss and treating cancer cachexia .

Notably, the extent of weight loss did not correlate with the respective tumor size (r2=10~6) . If the prevention of weight loss were only a secondary effect resulting from the inhibition of cancer growth and the smaller tumor sizes, a correlation between tumor size and weight loss would be expected . Thus , the lack of such correlation shows that uses of the anti-GDF-15 antibodies according to the invention result in two independent treatment effects :

- an inhibition of cancer growth, and

- a prevention of weight loss as an additional effect , which is independent from the inhibition of cancer growth, and which is expected to reflect a prevention of cancer cachexia .

Despite their mechanistic independence , it was observed that these effects can occur simultaneously in the same animals .

In addition to evaluating the mean body weight of the mice , the feed consumption of the mice was evaluated by pairwise comparisons of the study groups (Table 1) . Notably, the feed consumption of the mice in the anti-GDF-15 antibody groups (Bl-23 , chimeric Bl-23 and humanized Bl-23 -H1L5) was significantly higher than the feed consumption of the mice in the groups which did not receive the anti-GDF-15 antibodies .

Table 1 :

Figure imgf000075_0001

(*p<0.05 ; **p<0.01 ; ***p<0.001 as assessed by unpaired two- sided Student's t- test ) Table 1: Comparative evaluation of the feed consumption between the different treatment groups. For the measured time intervals (day 17-20, day 20-24 , day 24-27, day 27-31, day 31-34), the average feed consumption per mouse and day was calculated for each respective group. The values are indicated together with their standard deviation .

The quality of the humanized anti-GDF-15 antibody B1-23-H1L5 used in the study was tested by using gel electrophoresis and coomassie staining of the antibodies (see Figure 6 ) . Notably, the band of the humanized anti-GDF-15 antibody Bl-23 -H1L5 was sharp and clear, whereas the bands of the murine Bl-23 anti- GDF- 15 antibody and the B12 control antibody appeared less sharp and at a higher molecular weight . This suggests that the humanized anti-GDF-15 antibody Bl-23 -H1L5 is not prone to aggregation, and that some aggregation may have shifted the molecular weight of the other antibodies to higher values .

Additionally, by using a colorimetric assay, it was confirmed that all anti-GDF-15 antibodies used in the study bound to GDF-15 in a concentration-dependent manner . To determine the binding of Bl-23 antibody variants to GDF-15 , a colorimetric ELISA experiment was performed. The B12 antibody served as an isotype antibody, which does not bind to human GDF-15. Therefore, Ma isorp 96 well plates (Nunc) were coated with hrGDF- 15 (25 ng protein per well , 50 μΐ volume) over night at 4 °C . The following day, plates were washed to remove unbound protein (3 times with 150 μΐ of PBS 0,05% Tween®) and nonspecific binding sites were blocked with 150 μΐ of PBS 1% BSA for 2 hours at room temperature . Again, plates were washed and different variants of Bl-23 test antibodies were applied (50 μΐ volume) . To inquire specificity of the antibody binding, endpoint dilution was performed starting from 333 ng/ml and 1 : 3 serial dilution. As background control , PBS 1% BSA was applied . Following binding for 1 hour at room temperature , wells were washed as described above . As secondary antibody HRP conjugated Anti-human IgG (Life technologies, 1:5000) was applied for 1 hour at room temperature. Wells were washed as described above to remove unbound secondary antibody. For detection, 50 μΐ of peroxide substrate (TMB 1 : 100 in 0.1 M sodium acetate pH6) were added and following 10 minutes of incubation, 50 μΐ of stop solution (2N H2SO4 ) were added. As negative controls, wells without GDF-15 coating and wells without secondary antibody were included. For analysis, optical densitiy at 450 nm was quantified using the ELISA reader (Tecan Sunrise) and the corresponding Magellan software. It was observed that in comparison to the B12 antibody, the humanized H1L5 antibody, the chimeric Bl-23 antibody and the murine Bl-23 antibody exhibited a clearly concentration-dependent binding to GDF- 15.

Example 8 : Determination of Kd values of anti-GDF-15 antibodies . The Kd values of different anti-GDF-15 antibodies were compared using Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) gold chip biosensors technology (SAW Instruments GmbH, Schwertberger Str . 16, D-53177 Bonn, Germany) :

Antibody: Kd value (nM)

Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody 28.8 nM

(murine, IgG2a)

Chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody 14 nM

(chimerized, human IgGl)

H1L5 humanized Bl-23 5 , 62 nM

(humanized, human IgGl )

Rituxumab 1116 nM

(control antibody)

Herceptin No binding

(control antibody) The murine antibody (Bl-23 ) as well as the chimeric Bl-23 antibody were present in purified form. The H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibody was a serum-free CHO cell culture supernatant. The Kd value of the murine Bl-23 deviates from the Kd values determined by Biacore® analyses (surface plasmon resonance) by a factor of 35.

This deviation may - apart from the differences in the measurement methods - be explained by a reduced availability of free murine Bl-23 antibody, since it was found that this antibody can form aggregates in its form as mouse antibody. The solution of the murine Bl-23 antibody was therefore stabilized by addition of 0.2% BSA. Therefore , binding of the antibody to albumin may have reduced the availability of the murine Bl-23 antibody and could explain the differences in the affinity values obtained by the different measurement methods . Compared to the murine Bl-23 antibody, the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibody surprisingly showed no tendency to aggregate (see also Example 9 below) .

In the present assay, the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody and the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibody exhibited affinities to human GDF-15 which were about 2 - fold and 5-fold higher, respectively, than the affinity of the murine Bl-23 anti-GDF- 15 antibody. Thus, the chimeric Bl-23 anti-GDF-15 antibody and the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibody are high affinity antibodies .

Example 9 : Aggregation studies of the anti-GDF-15 antibodies

In order to test the aggregation properties of anti-GDF-15 antibodies , antibody samples were shaken for 48 hours at room temperature in microcentrifuge tubes , and subsequently, the tubes were visually analyzed for aggregated antibody precipitates . It was observed that compared to the murine Bl-23 antibody, the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibody surprisingly showed no tendency to aggregate, even when the antibody was only present in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) , and when no stabilizing proteins such as BSA were present.

Moreover, in freeze/thaw and dilution experiments, it was observed that the H1L5 humanized Bl-23 antibody did not aggregate during any of the dilution steps or freeze/thaw cycles .

Additionally, the following experiment was carried out ( see Figure 7) :

5 mg of antibody (Bl-23 , chimeric Bl-23 = "ChimBl-23" , H1L5) were loaded on Proteus™ protein A columns , eluted and collected in a TRIS Buffer at physiological pH. After elution, the quality of the purified antibodies was assessed by Coomassie Brilliant Blue gel analysis . The concentration of the eluted antibodies was measured photometrically as well as in a Bradford assay (Roti-Quant , Carl Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany) . All 3 antibody solutions (Bl-23 , ChimBl-23 , H1L5) showed similar concentrations and were adjusted to 0.5 mg/ml . The antibodies were then lOfold concentrated via spin columns (Centricon, MWCO 30) . After this step, turbidity indicated the presence of precipitates in the sample containing Bl-23 , whereas ChimBl-23 and H1L5 showed no signs of aggregation . All concentrated eluates were then centrifuged for 5 min at 13000 rpm in order to precipitate antibody aggregates . The remaining amount of soluble antibodies was finally determined via Bradford assay from the supernatant .

These properties of the antibodies are expected to be advantageous for clinical formulation of the antibodies . G) Industrial Applicability

The antibodies, antigen-binding portions thereof, pharmaceutical compositions and kits according to the present invention may be industrially manufactured and sold as products for the claimed methods and uses {e.g. for treating cancer cachexia and cancer) , in accordance with known standards for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products. Accordingly, the present invention is industrially applicable .

Preferred Embodiments

1. A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 , o an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85%

identical thereto, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% ,

preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .

2. A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .

The antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof of item 1 or 2 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98% , preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the

constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99%

identical thereto .

The antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof of any of items 1 to 3 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No; 29, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-4 , wherein the antibody is a humanized antibody.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 5, wherein all of the variable domains of the antibody are humanized variable domains .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-6, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 28 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90%, preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 31 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90% , preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-7, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 28 , and wherein the light chain variable domain

comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 31. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-8 , wherein the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 27, and wherein the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 30.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-4 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 34, or an amino acid sequence at least 75%, more preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 37 , or an amino acid sequence at least 80% , more preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 10 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 34 , and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 37.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-11 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and a CDR2 region

comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4 , and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence ser-ala- ser .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 2-12, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region

comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1 and 3 - 12 , wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 that is comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26.

he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-14 , wherein the antibody has a size of more than 100 kDa, preferably more than 110 kDa, more preferably more than 120 kDa, still more preferably more than 130 kDa, and most preferably more than 140 kDa.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item

15 , wherein the antibody is a full-length antibody .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item

16, wherein the antibody is a full-length IgG antibody, preferably a full-length IgGl antibody.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1 to 17 , wherein the antibody has an Fc portion which is capable of binding to the Fc receptor . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1 to 18 , wherein the human GDF-15 is recombinant human GDF-15 having the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID No: 8.

An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof

according to any one of items 1 to 19 for use in medicine . An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof

according to any one of items 1 to 19, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal .

An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof

according to any one of items 1 to 19, for use in a method for treating cancer in a mammal ,

An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof

according to any one of items 21 to 22 for use

according to any one of items 21 to 22 , wherein the method is a method for both treating cancer and

treating cancer cachexia in the same mammal .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21 to 23 for the use according to any one of items 21 to 23, wherein the mammal is a human patient .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 21 or 23-24 for the use according to item 21 or 23 -24 , wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing or completely

reverting cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 25 for the use according to item 25 , wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 25 for the use according to item 25 , wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely reverting cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21-27 for the use according to any one of items 21-27 , wherein in the method, only mammals suffering from both

i ) the cancer , and

ii ) cancer cachexia

are treated .

The ant ibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21 or 23-28 for the use according to any one of items 21 or 23 -28 , wherein the method increases body weight of the mammal compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 29 for the use according to item 29, wherein the increase in body weight of the mammal is at least 1.5%, preferably at least 2.5%, more preferably at least 5% compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21 to 30 for the use according to any one of items 21 to 30 , wherein the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF- 15 and/or the cancer cells of the mammal stimulate endogenous expression of GDF- 15 in non- cancerous cells of the mammal .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21 to 31 for the use according to any one of items 21 to 31 , wherein the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF- 15.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 22-32 for the use according to any one of items 22 -32 , wherein the method for treating cancer is a method comprising inhibition of cancer growth .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 22-33 for the use according to any one of items 22-33 , wherein the method for treating cancer comprises the induction of killing of cancer cells by NK cells and CD8+ T cells in the human patient .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21-34 for the use according to any one of items 21 - 34 , wherein the human patient has elevated GDF- 15 levels in blood serum before administration . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21-35 for the use according to any one of items 21-35 , wherein the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is A) the sole ingredient pharmaceutically active against cancer used in the method, or

B) used in combination with one or more further

ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer, he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 21-36 for the use according to any one of items 21-36, wherein the cancer is selected from the group consisting of brain cancers including glioma, cancers of the nervous system, melanoma, lung cancer, lip and oral cavity cancer, hepatic carcinoma,

leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma , Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bladder cancer, cervi uteri cancer, corpus uteri cancer, testis cancer, thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, gallbladder cancer, multiple myeloma, nasopharynx cancer, larynx cancer, pharynx cancer, oesophagus cancer , gastrointestinal tumors including stomach and colorectal cancer , pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, preferably from the group consisting of melanoma, prostate cancer, breast cancer, brain cancers including glioma, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, oesophagus cancer and ovarian cancer, and mos preferably is melanoma .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of anyone of items 21-37 for the use according to any one of items 21-37 , wherein prior to administration, the tumor or tumors formed by the cancer have higher human GDF- 15 levels compared to a control sample of the same patient obtained from a non-cancerous part of the tissue which is the tissue of origin of the cancer, preferably 1.2- fold higher levels , more preferably 1.5-fold higher levels , still more preferably 2-fold higher levels and most preferably 5-fold higher levels .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 38 for the use according to item 38 , wherein the an ibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is used in combination with one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer, and wherein the one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer are selected from the group consisting of: alkylating agents ; anti-metabolites ; alkaloids , taxanes ; topoisomerase inhibitors; cytotoxic

antibiotics; and radioisotopes.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 39 for the use according to item 39, wherein the one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer are selected from the group consisting of: cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin,

mechlorethamine , cyclophosphamide , chlorambucil , and ifosfamide ; azathioprine and merca topurine ;

vincristine , vinblastine, vinorelbine , and vindesine, paclitaxel , docetaxel , etoposide and. teniposide ;

irinotecan and topotecan; actinomycin, anthracyclines , doxorubicin, daunorubicin, valrubicin, idarubicin, epirubicin, bleomycin, plicamycin and mitomycin.

A kit comprising the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 1-19.

he kit of item 41 for a use according to any one of items 21 to 40.

An expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof according to any of items 1-19.

A cell line capable of producing an antibody or

antigen-binding portion thereof according to any one of items 1 to 19.

A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85%

identical thereto, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal . A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15, or an antigen-binding portion thereof, wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 45 or 46 for the use according to item 45 or 46, wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing or completely

reverting cancer cachexia .

he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 47 for the use according to item 47 , wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 47 for the use according to item 47 , wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely reverting cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-49 for the use according to any one of items 45-49, wherein in the method, only mammals suffering f om both

iii) the cancer, and

iv) cancer cachexia

are treated .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 49-50 for the use according to any one of items 49-50 , wherein the method increases body weight of the mammal compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 51 for the use according to item 51 , wherein the increase in body weight of the mammal is at least 1.5%, preferably at least 2.5%, more preferably at least 5% compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-52 for the use according to any one of items 45-52, wherein the method is a method for both treating cancer and treating cancer cachexia in the same mammal .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-53 for the use according to any one of items 45-53, wherein the antibody has a size of more than 100 kDa, preferably more than 110 kDa, more preferably more than 120 kDa, still more preferably more than 130 kDa , and most preferably more than 140 kDa.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item

54 for the use according to item 54 , wherein the antibody is a full-length antibody.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item

55 for the use according to item 55 , wherein the antibody is a full-length IgG antibody .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45 to 56 for the use according to any one of items 45 to 56, wherein the antibody has an Fc portion which is capable of binding to the Fc receptor . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45 to 57 for the use according to any one of items 45 to 57 , wherein the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF-15 and/or the cancer cells of the mammal stimulate endogenous expression of GDF-15 in non-cancerous cells of the mammal .

he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45 to 58 for the use according to any one of items 45 to 58 , wherein the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF-15.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45 to 59 for the use according to any one of items 45 to 59, wherein the mammal is a human patient . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45 to 60 for the use according to any one of items 45 to 60, wherein the human GDF-15 is

recombinant human GDF-15 having the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID No: 8.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 46-61 for the use according to any one of items 46 - 61 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region

comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto . The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45 and 47-61 for the use according to any one of items 45 and 47-61 , wherei the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 that is comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26.

he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 53-63 for the use according to any one of items 53 - 63 , wherein the method for treating cancer is a method comprising inhibition of cancer growth.

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 53-64 for the use according to any one of items 53 - 64 , wherein the method for treating cancer comprises the induction of killing of cancer cells by NK cells and CD8+ T cells in the human patient .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-65 for the use according to any one of items 45 -65 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence ser- ala-ser .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-66 for the use according to any one of items 45 - 66 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical, thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .

The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-67 for the use according to any one of items 45-67 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the

constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99%

identical thereto .

The antibody or ant igen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-68 for the use according to any one of items 45-68 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-69 for the use according to any one of items 45-69, wherein the antibody is a humanized antibody, and wherein all of the variable domains of the antibody are humanized variable domains .

The antibody or ant igen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-70 for the use according to any one of items 45 - 70 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28, or an amino acid sequence at least 90%, preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 31, or an amino acid sequence at least 90·%, preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto.

72. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-71 for the use according to any one of items 45-71, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 31.

73. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-72 for the use according to any one of items 45 - 72 , wherein the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 27, and wherein the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 30.

74. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-69 for the use according to any one of items 45-69, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 34, or an amino acid sequence at least 75%, more preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95%, more

preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 37, or an amino acid sequence at least 80%, more preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98% , still more

preferably at least 99% identical thereto .

75. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 74 for the use according to item 74 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 34, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 37.

76. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-66 for the use according to any one of items 45-66 , wherein the antibody is the antibody to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur

Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142 or an antigen-binding portion thereof .

77. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-75 for the use according to any one of items 45-75 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 , or wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7.

78. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-75 and 77 for the use according to any one of items 45-75 and 77 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 5, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7.

79. he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-69 and 77-78 or the use according to any one of items 45-69 and 77 - 78 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FR1 , a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or a sequence 95% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FR1 , a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 or a sequence 95% identical thereto. 80. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-69 and 77-79 for the use according to any one of items 45-69 and 77-79, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FR1 , a CDR1 , an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or a sequence 98% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a region comprising an FR1, a CDR1, an FR2 , a CDR2 and an FR3 region and comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 or a sequence 98% identical thereto .

81. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of anyone of items 45-80 for the use according to any one of items 45-80, wherein the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof has an equilibrium dissociation

constant for human GDF-15 that is equal to or less than 20 nM, preferably less than 10 nM, more preferably less than 5 nM and most preferably between 0.1 nM and 2 nM.

82. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-75 and 77-81 for the use according to any one of items 45-75 and 77-81, wherein the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof binds to the same human GDF-15 epitope as the antibody to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23 deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No. DSM ACC3142.

83. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-82 for the use according to any one of items 45-82 , wherein the human patient has elevated GDF-15 levels in blood serum before administration.

84. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-83 for the use according to any one of items 45 - 83 , wherein the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is

A) the sole ingredient pharmaceutically active against cancer used in the method, or B) used in combination with one or more further

ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer.

85. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-84 for the use according to any one of items 45 -84 , wherein the cancer is selected from the group consisting of brain cancers including glioma, cancers of the nervous system, melanoma, lung cancer, lip and oral cavity cancer , hepatic carcinoma ,

leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bladder cancer, cervix uteri cancer, corpus uteri cancer, testis cancer , thyroid cancer, kidney cancer , gallbladder cancer, multiple myeloma, nasopharynx cancer, larynx cancer, pharynx cancer, oesophagus cancer, gastrointestinal tumors including stomach and colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, preferably from the group consisting of melanoma, prostate cancer , breast cancer, brain cancers including glioma, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, oesophagus cancer and ovarian cancer, and most preferably is melanoma .

86. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of items 45-85 for the use according to any one of items 45 - 85 , wherein prior to administration, the tumor or tumors formed by the cancer have higher human GDF-15 levels compared to a control sample of the same patient obtained from a non-cancerous part of the tissue which is the tissue of origin of the cancer, preferably 1.2- fold higher levels , more preferably 1.5- fold higher levels , still more preferably 2-fold higher levels and most preferably 5-fold higher levels .

87. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 84 for the use according to item 84, wherein the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof is used in combination with one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer, and wherein the one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer are selected from the group consisting of: alkylating agents; anti -metabolites ; alkaloids, taxanes ; topoisomerase inhibitors ; cytotoxic

antibiotics; and radioisotopes.

88. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of item 87 for the use according to item 87, wherein the one or more further ingredients pharmaceutically active against cancer are selected from the group consisting of : cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin,

mechlorethamine , cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and ifosfamide; azathioprine and mercaptopurine ;

vincristine , vinblastine, vinorelbine, and vindesine, paclitaxel , docetaxel , etoposide and teniposide ;

irinotecan and topotecan; actinomycin, anthracyc1ines , doxorubicin, daunorubicin, valrubicin, idarubicin, epirubicin, bleomycin, plicamycin and mitomycin.

References

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Riechmann L et al.: "Reshaping human antibodies for therapy." Nature. 1988 Mar 24;332 (6162) :323-7. Roth P et al . : "GDF-15 contributes to proliferation and immune escape of malignant gliomas." Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Aug 1; 16 (15) : 3851-9.

Saerens D et al.: "Single-domain antibodies as building blocks for novel therapeutics." Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2008 Oct; 8(5) : 600-8. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

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Weinberg R . et al . : The Biology of Cancer . Garland Science : New York 2006. 850p.

WO 2005/099746

WO 2009/021293 1/1

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(This sheet is not part of and does not count as a sheet of the international application)

Figure imgf000100_0001

Indications are Made All designations

FOR RECEIVING OFFICE USE ONLY -4 This form was received with the

international application: Yes

(yes or no)

-4-1 Authorized officer

Di Miceli, Giuseppe

FOR INTERNATIONAL BUREAU USE ONLY -5 This form was received by the

international Bureau on:

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Claims

99
Claims
1. A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15, or an antigen-binding portion thereof, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%
identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto .
2. A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15 , or an antigen-binding portion thereof , wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF- 15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32, or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto .
3. The antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof of claim 1 or 2 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% identical thereto . 100
The antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1 to 3 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No; 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 98% , preferably at least 99%
identical thereto .
The antibody or an antigen-binding portion thereof of any of claims 1 to 4 , wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No; 29, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32.
The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1-5, wherein the antibody is a humanized antibody .
The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of claim 6, wherein all of the variable domains of the antibody are humanized variable domains .
The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1-7 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90% , preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 31 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90% , preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto .
The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1-8, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28 , and wherein the light chain variable domain
comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 31. 101
10. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1-9, wherein the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 27, and wherein the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 30.
11. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1-5, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 34, or an amino acid sequence at least 75%, more preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 37 , or an amino acid sequence at least 80%, more preferably at least 90% , more preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto .
12. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 11 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 34 , and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 37.
13. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1- 12 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and a CDR2 region
comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence ser-ala-ser .
1 . The an ibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 2-13 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region 102 comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto.
15. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1 and 3-13, wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 that is comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26.
16. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1-15 , wherein the antibody has a size of more than 100 kDa , preferably more than 110 kDa, more preferably more than 120 kDa, still more preferably more than 130 kDa, and most preferably more than 140 kDa.
17. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 16 , wherein the antibody is a full-length
antibody .
18. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 17 , wherein the antibody is a full-length IgG antibody, preferably a full-length IgGl antibody .
19. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1 to 18 , wherein the antibody has an Fc portion which is capable of binding to the Fc receptor .
20. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 1 to 19, wherein the human GDF-15 is recombinant human GDF-15 having the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID No: 8.
21. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof
according to any one of claims 1 to 20 for use in medicine .
22. An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof
according to any one of claims 1 to 20 , for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal .
23. An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof
according to any one of claims 1 to 20 , for use in a method for treating cancer in a mammal .
24. An antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof
according to any one of claims 22 to 23 for use 103 according to any one of claims 22 to 23, wherein the method is a method for both treating cancer and
treating cancer cachexia in the same mammal.
25. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 22 to 24 for the use according to any one of claims 22 to 24, wherein the mammal is a human patient .
26. A kit comprising the antibody or antigen-binding
portion thereof of any of claims 1-20.
27. An expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding the antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof according to any of claims 1-20.
28. A cell line capable of producing an antibody or
antigen-binding portion thereof according to any one of claims 1 to 20.
29. A monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15, or an antigen-binding portion thereof, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85%
identical thereto, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal .
30. monoclonal antibody capable of binding to human GDF- 15, or an antigen-binding portion thereof, wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF-15 comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26, for use in a method for treating cancer cachexia in a mammal .
31. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 29 or 30 for the use according to claim 29 or 30, wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing or completely
reverting cancer cachexia . 104
32. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 31 for the use according to claim 31, wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely preventing cancer cachexia.
33. he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 31 for the use according to claim 31, wherein the method for treating cancer cachexia is a method for completely reverting cancer cachexia.
34. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-33 for the use according to any one of claims 29-33 , wherein in the method, only mammals
suffering from both
i} the cancer, and
ii) cancer cachexia
are treated.
35. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 33-34 for the use according to any one of claims 33 - 34 , wherein the method increases body weight of the mammal compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia.
36. he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 35 for the use according to claim 35 , wherein the increase in body weight of the mammal is at least 1.5%, preferably at least 2.5%, more preferably at least 5% compared to its body weight before the onset of cancer cachexia .
37. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-36 for the use according to any one of claims 29-36 , wherein the method is a method for both treating cancer and treating cancer cachexia in the same mammal .
38. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-37 for the use according to any one of claims 29- 37 , wherein the antibody has a size of more than 100 kDa, preferably more than 110 kDa, more preferably more than 120 kDa, still more preferably 105 more than 130 kDa, and most preferably more than 140 kDa.
39. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 38 for the use according to claim 38, wherein the antibody is a full-length antibody.
40. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 39 for the use according to claim 39, wherein the antibody is a full-length IgG antibody.
41. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29 to 40 for the use according to any one of claims 29 to 40 , wherein the antibody has an Fc portion which is capable of binding to the Fc receptor .
42. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29 to 41 for the use according to any one of claims 29 to 41, wherein the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF-15 and/or the cancer cells of the mammal stimulate endogenous expression of GDF-15 in non-cancerous cells of the mammal .
43. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29 to 42 for the use according to any one of claims 29 to 42 , wherein the cancer cells of the mammal endogenously express GDF-15.
44. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29 to 43 for the use according to any one of claims 29 to 43 , wherein the mammal is a human patient .
45. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29 to 44 for the use according to any one of claims 29 to 44 , wherein the human GDF-15 is
recombinant human GDF-15 having the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID No: 8.
46. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 30-45 for the use according to any one of claims 30-45 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 5 or an amino acid sequence at least 90% identical thereto, and wherein the light 106 chain variable domain comprises a CDR3 region
comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 7 or an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical thereto.
47. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29 and 31-45 for the use according to any one of claims 29 and 31-45, wherein the binding is binding to a conformational or discontinuous epitope on human GDF- 15 that is comprised by the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID No: 25 and SEQ ID No: 26.
48. he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 37-47 for the use according to any one of claims 37-47 , wherein the method for treating cancer is a method comprising inhibition of cancer growth .
49. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 37-48 for the use according to any one of claims 37-48 , wherein the method for treating cancer comprises the induction of killing of cancer cells by NK cells and CD8+ T cells in the human patient .
50. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-49 for the use according to any one of claims 29-49, wherei the heavy chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises a CDR1 region comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO : 6 and a CDR2 region comprising the amino acid sequence ser- ala-ser .
51. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-50 for the use according to any one of claims 29-50, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 85%, preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32 , or an amino acid sequence at least 85% , preferably 107 at least 90%, more preferably at least 95% identical thereto .
52. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-51 for the use according to any one of claims 29-51, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No; 29, or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the
constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 32, or an amino acid sequence at least 98%, preferably at least 99%
identical thereto.
53. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-52 for the use according to any one of claims 29-52, wherein the constant domain of the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 29, and wherein the constant domain of the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 32.
54. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-53 for the use according to any one of claims 29-53 , wherein the antibody is a humanized antibody, and wherein all of the variable domains of the antibody are humanized variable domains .
55. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-54 for the use according to any one of claims 29-54 , wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 28 , or an amino acid sequence at least 90% , preferably at least 95% , more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 31, or an amino acid sequence at least 90%, preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98% , still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto .
56. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-55 for the use according to any one of 108 claims 29-55, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 28, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 31.
57. he antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-56 for the use according to any one of claims 29-56, wherein the heavy chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 27, and wherein the light chain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 30.
58. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-53 for the use according to any one of claims 29-53, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 34, or an amino acid sequence at least 75%, more preferably at least 90%', more preferably at least 95%, more
preferably at least 98%, still more preferably at least 99% identical thereto, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 37, or an amino acid sequence at least 80%, more preferably at least 90%, more preferably at least 95%, more preferably at least 98%, still more
preferably at least 99% identical thereto.
59. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of
claim 58 for the use according to claim 58, wherein the heavy chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No : 34, and wherein the light chain variable domain comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 37.
60. The antibody or antigen-binding portion thereof of any one of claims 29-50 for the use according to any one of claims 29-50, wherein the antibody is the antibody to human GDF-15 obtainable from the cell line Bl-23
deposited with the Deutsche Sammlung fur
Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DMSZ) under the accession No . DSM ACC3142 or an antigen-binding portion thereof .
PCT/EP2015/056654 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer WO2015144855A1 (en)

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GB1405477.9A GB2524553C (en) 2014-03-26 2014-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia

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BR112016022013A BR112016022013A2 (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) and uses thereof for treating cachexia of cancer and cancer
CN201580027932.8A CN106536553A (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer
CA2943694A CA2943694A1 (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer
KR1020167029710A KR20160139005A (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer
AU2015238264A AU2015238264A1 (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer
US15/128,604 US20170204174A1 (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer
JP2016559286A JP2017508475A (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Their use for the treatment of monoclonal antibodies and cancer cachexia and cancer to growth differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15)
EP15712629.3A EP3122775A1 (en) 2014-03-26 2015-03-26 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer
US15/912,358 US20180298091A1 (en) 2014-03-26 2018-03-05 Monoclonal antibodies to growth and differentiation factor 15 (gdf-15), and uses thereof for treating cancer cachexia and cancer

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AU2015238264A1 (en) 2016-10-20
US20170204174A1 (en) 2017-07-20
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