Albumin fusion with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor acts as an immunotherapy against chronic tuberculosis

Yu Min Chuang, Liangmei He, Michael L. Pinn, Ya Chea Tsai, Max A. Cheng, Emily Farmer, Petros C. Karakousis, Chien Fu Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A long duration of treatment and emerging drug resistance pose significant challenges for global tuberculosis (TB) eradication efforts. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel strategies to shorten TB treatment regimens and to treat drug-resistant TB. Using an albumin-fusion strategy, we created a novel albumin-fused granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (albGM-CSF) molecule that harnesses albumin’s long half-life and targeting abilities to enhance the biostability of GM-CSF and direct it to the lymph nodes, where the effects of GM-CSF can increase dendritic cell populations crucial for eliciting a potent immune response. In this study, we demonstrate that albGM-CSF serves as a novel immunotherapy for chronic Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections by enhancing GM-CSF biostability in serum. Specifically, albumin is very safe, stable, and has a long half-life, thereby enhancing the biostability of GM-CSF. In the lungs and draining lymph nodes, albGM-CSF is able to increase the numbers of dendritic cells, which are crucial for the activation of naive T cells and for eliciting potent immune responses. Subcutaneous administration of albGM-CSF alone reduced the mean lung bacillary burden in mice with chronic tuberculosis infection. While GM-CSF administration was associated with IL-1β release from Mtb-infected dendritic cells and macrophages, higher IL-1β levels were observed in albGM-CSF-treated mice with chronic tuberculosis infection than in mice receiving GM-CSF. Albumin fusion with GM-CSF represents a promising strategy for the control of chronic lung tuberculosis infections and serves as a novel therapeutic vaccination platform for other infectious diseases and malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2393-2401
Number of pages9
JournalCellular and Molecular Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • GM-CSF
  • Tuberculosis
  • albumin
  • fusion protein
  • therapeutic vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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