Poly(propylacrylic acid)-peptide nanoplexes as a platform for enhancing the immunogenicity of neoantigen cancer vaccines.
ABSTRACT: Cancer vaccines targeting patient-specific tumor neoantigens have recently emerged as a promising component of the rapidly expanding immunotherapeutic armamentarium. However, neoantigenic peptides typically elicit weak CD8+ T cell responses, and so there is a need for universally applicable vaccine delivery strategies to enhance the immunogenicity of these peptides. Ideally, such vaccines could also be rapidly fabricated using chemically synthesized peptide antigens customized to an individual patient. Here, we describe a strategy for simple and rapid packaging of peptide antigens into pH-responsive nanoparticles with endosomal escape activity. Electrostatically-stabilized polyplex nanoparticles (nanoplexes) can be assembled instantaneously by mixing decalysine-modified antigenic peptides and poly(propylacrylic acid) (pPAA), a polyanion with pH-dependent, membrane destabilizing activity. These nanoplexes increase and prolong antigen uptake and presentation on MHC-I (major histocompatibility complex class I) molecules expressed by dendritic cells, resulting in enhanced activation of CD8+ T cells. Using an intranasal immunization route, nanoplex vaccines inhibit formation of lung metastases in a murine melanoma model. Additionally, nanoplex vaccines strongly synergize with the adjuvant ?-galactosylceramide (?-GalCer) in stimulating robust CD8+ T cell responses, significantly increasing survival time in mice with established melanoma tumors. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that peptide/pPAA nanoplexes offer a facile and versatile platform for enhancing CD8+ T cell responses to peptide antigens, with potential to complement ongoing advancements in the development of neoantigen-targeted cancer vaccines.
Project description:We characterized in this study the pharmacokinetics and antitumor efficacy of histidine-lysine (HK):siRNA nanoplexes modified with PEG and a cyclic RGD (cRGD) ligand targeting ?v?3 and ?v?5 integrins. With noninvasive imaging, systemically administered surface-modified HK:siRNA nanoplexes showed nearly 4-fold greater blood levels, 40% higher accumulation in tumor tissue, and 60% lower luciferase activity than unmodified HK:siRNA nanoplexes. We then determined whether the surface-modified HK:siRNA nanoplex carrier was more effective in reducing MDA-MB-435 tumor growth with an siRNA targeting Raf-1. Repeated systemic administration of the selected surface modified HK:siRNA nanoplexes targeting Raf-1 showed 35% greater inhibition of tumor growth than unmodified HK:siRNA nanoplexes and 60% greater inhibition of tumor growth than untreated mice. The improved blood pharmacokinetic results and tumor localization observed with the integrin-targeting surface modification of HK:siRNA nanoplexes correlated with greater tumor growth inhibition. This investigation reveals that through control of targeting ligand surface display in association with a steric PEG layer, modified HK: siRNA nanoplexes show promise to advance RNAi therapeutics in oncology and potentially other critical diseases.
Project description:DNA damaging chemotherapy is a cornerstone of current front-line treatments for advanced ovarian cancer (OC). Despite the fact that a majority of these patients initially respond to therapy, most will relapse with chemo-resistant disease; therefore, adjuvant treatments that synergize with DNA-damaging chemotherapy could improve treatment outcomes and survival in patients with this deadly disease. Here, we report the development of a nanoscale peptide-nucleic acid complex that facilitates tumor-specific RNA interference therapy to chemosensitize advanced ovarian tumors to frontline platinum/taxane therapy. We found that the nanoplex-mediated silencing of the protein kinase, MK2, profoundly sensitized mouse models of high-grade serous OC to cytotoxic chemotherapy by blocking p38/MK2-dependent cell cycle checkpoint maintenance. Combined RNAi therapy improved overall survival by 37% compared with platinum/taxane chemotherapy alone and decreased metastatic spread to the lungs without observable toxic side effects. These findings suggest (a) that peptide nanoplexes can serve as safe and effective delivery vectors for siRNA and (b) that combined inhibition of MK2 could improve treatment outcomes in patients currently receiving frontline chemotherapy for advanced OC.
Project description:Doxorubicin (Dox) has widespread use as a cancer chemotherapeutic agent, but Dox is limited by several side effects including irreversible cardiomyopathy. Although liposomal Dox formulations, such as Doxil, mitigate side effects, they do not prolong survival in many patients. As a result, efforts have continued to discover improved formulations of Dox. We previously found that a peptide-based nanoplex delivered plasmid DNA efficiently to tumors in murine models. Unlike the majority of nanoparticles that depend solely on enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) for their transport into the tumor, our peptide-based nanoplex has a potential advantage in that its uptake primarily depends on neuropilin-1 receptor targeting. Because Dox binds to DNA, we tested whether this delivery platform could effectively deliver Dox to tumors and reduce their size. The nanoplexes increased the levels of Dox in tumors by about 5.5-fold compared to aqueous (free) Dox controls. Consistent with enhanced levels in the tumor, the nanoplex-Dox treatment had significantly greater anti-tumor activity. Whereas low dose free Dox did not reduce the size of tumors compared to untreated controls, the low dose nanoplex-Dox reduced the size of tumors by nearly 55% (p?<?0.001). The high dose nanoplex-Dox also inhibited the size of tumor significantly more than the comparable high-dose free Dox (p?<?0.001). Furthermore, apoptosis and proliferation markers (Ki67) of tumors observed in the different treatment groups correlated with their ability to inhibit tumor size. This study shows the efficacy of an NRP-1 targeted nanoplexes to deliver Dox to tumors in vivo and lays the groundwork for more complex and effective formulations.
Project description:Small interfering RNA (siRNA) has been continuously explored for clinical applications. However, neither nanocarriers nor conjugates have been able to remove the obstacles. In this study, we employed a combined nanochemistry strategy to optimize its delivery dilemma, where different interactions and assembly modes were cooperatively introduced into the forming process of siRNA/lipids nanoplexes. In the nanoplexes, the 3',3?-bis-peptide-siRNA conjugate (pp-siRNA) and gemini-like cationic lipids (CLDs) were employed as dual regulators to improve their bio-behavior. We demonstrated that the "cicada pupa"-shaped nanoplexes of MT-pp-siRNA/CLDs (MT represented the mixed two-phase method) exhibited more compact multi-sandwich structure (?25 layers), controllable size (?150 nm), and lower zeta potential (?22 mV) than other comparable nanoplexes and presented an increased siRNA protection and stability. Significantly, the nanoplex was internalized into melanoma cells by almost caveolae-mediated endocytosis and macropinocytosis (?99.46%), and later reduced/avoided lysosomal degradation. Finally, the nanoplex facilitated the silencing of mRNA of the mutant B-Raf protein (down by ?60%). In addition, pp-siRNA had a high intracellular sustainability, a significantly prolonged circulating time, and accumulation in tumor tissues in vivo. Our results have demonstrated that the combined approach can improve the intracellular fate of siRNA, which opens up novel avenues for efficient siRNA delivery.
Project description:Introduction:Treatment options for cancer metastases, the primary cause of cancer mortality, are limited. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is an attractive therapeutic target in cancer because it mediates metastasis by inducing cancer cell and macrophage migration. Here we engineered carrier-free CXCR4-targeting RNA-protein nanoplexes that not only inhibited cellular migration but also polarized macrophages to the M1 phenotype. Materials and Methods:A CXCR4-targeting single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibody was fused to a 3030 Da RNA-binding protamine peptide (RSQSRSRYYRQRQRSRRRRRRS). Self-assembling nanoplexes were formed by mixing the CXCR4-scFv-protamine fusion protein (CXCR4-scFv-RBM) with miR-127-5p, a miRNA shown to mediate M1 macrophage polarization. RNA-protein nanoplexes were characterized with regard to their physicochemical properties and therapeutic efficacy. Results:CXCR4-targeting RNA-protein nanoplexes simultaneously acted as a targeting ligand, a macrophage polarizing drug, and a miRNA delivery vehicle. Our carrier-free, RNA-protein nanoplexes specifically bound to CXCR4-positive macrophages and breast cancer cells, showed high drug loading (~?90% w/w), and are non-toxic. Further, these RNA-protein nanoplexes significantly inhibited cancer and immune cell migration (75 to 99%), robustly polarized macrophages to the tumor-suppressive M1 phenotype, and inhibited tumor growth in a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer. Conclusions:We engineered a novel class of non-toxic RNA-protein nanoplexes that modulate the tumor stroma. These nanoplexes are promising candidates for add-ons to clinically approved chemotherapeutics.
Project description:Protein-based vaccines have significant potential as infectious disease and anticancer therapeutics, but clinical impact has been limited in some applications by their inability to generate a coordinated cellular immune response. Here, a pH-responsive carrier incorporating poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA) was evaluated to test whether improved cytosolic delivery of a protein antigen could enhance CD8+ cytotoxic lymphocyte generation and prophylactic tumor vaccine responses. PPAA was directly conjugated to the model ovalbumin antigen via reducible disulfide linkages and was also tested in a particulate formulation after condensation with cationic poly(dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA). Intracellular trafficking studies revealed that both PPAA-containing formulations were stably internalized and evaded exocytotic pathways, leading to increased intracellular accumulation and potential access to the cytosolic MHC-1 antigen presentation pathway. In an EG.7-OVA mouse tumor protection model, both PPAA-containing carriers robustly inhibited tumor growth and led to an approximately 3.5-fold increase in the longevity of tumor-free survival relative to controls. Mechanistically, this response was attributed to the 8-fold increase in production of ovalbumin-specific CD8+ T-lymphocytes and an 11-fold increase in production of antiovalbumin IgG. Significantly, this is one of the first demonstrated examples of in vivo immunotherapeutic efficacy using soluble protein-polymer conjugates. These results suggest that carriers enhancing cytosolic delivery of protein antigens could lead to more robust CD8+ T-cell response and demonstrate the potential of pH-responsive PPAA-based carriers for therapeutic vaccine applications.
Project description:RNA interfering (RNAi) using short interfering RNA (siRNA) is becoming a promising approach for cancer gene therapy. However, owing to the lack of safe and efficient carriers, the application of RNAi for clinical use is still very limited. In this study, we have developed cadmium sulphoselenide/Zinc sulfide quantum dots (CdSSe/ZnS QDs)-based nanocarriers for in vitro gene delivery. These CdSSe/ZnS QDs are functionalized with polyethyleneimine (PEI) to form stable nanoplex (QD-PEI) and subsequently they are used for siRNA loading which specially targets human telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). High gene transfection efficiency (>80%) was achieved on two glioblastoma cell lines, U87 and U251. The gene expression level (49.99 ± 10.23% for U87, 43.28 ± 9.66% for U251) and protein expression level (51.58 ± 7.88% for U87, 50.69 ± 7.59% for U251) of TERT is observed to decrease substantially after transfecting the tumor cells for 48 h. More importantly, the silencing of TERT gene expression significantly suppressed the proliferation of glioblastoma cells. No obvious cytotoxicity from these QD-PEI nanoplexes were observed over at 10 times of the transfected doses. Based on these results, we envision that QDs engineered here can be used as a safe and efficient gene nanocarrier for siRNA delivery and a promising tool for future cancer gene therapy applications.
Project description:Cancer vaccines using synthetic long peptides (SLP) targeting tumor antigens have been tested in the clinic but the outcomes have been unimpressive, perhaps because these peptides elicit predominantly CD4+ T cell responses. We hypothesized that enhanced delivery of peptide antigens to, and uptake in, secondary lymphoid tissues should elicit more robust CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses and improved anti-tumor responses. Here, we have designed SLP-containing cationic lipoplexes (SLP–Lpx) that improve delivery of peptides to myeloid cells in the spleen and lymphatics. Using the G12D KRAS mutations as neoantigens, we found that vaccination of mice with naked synthetic peptides harboring the G12D mutation with CpG adjuvant stimulated mainly CD4+ T cell responses with limited tumor growth inhibition. On the other hand, immunization with SLP–Lpx stimulated both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and suppressed tumor growth in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner. Combination of the SLP–Lpx vaccines with a checkpoint inhibitor led to profound growth suppression of established tumors. These studies suggest that preferential targeting of peptides derived from neoantigens to the spleen via lipoplexes elicits potent CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses that inhibit tumor growth.
Project description:Therapeutic cancer vaccines are one of the most promising strategies of immunotherapy. Traditional vaccines consisting of tumor-associated antigens have met with limited success. Recently, neoantigens derived from nonsynonymous mutations in tumor cells have emerged as alternatives that can improve tumor-specificity and reduce on-target off-tumor toxicity. Synthetic peptides are a common platform for neoantigen vaccines. It has been suggested that extending short peptides into long peptides can overcome immune tolerance and induce both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. This review will introduce the history of long peptide-based neoantigen vaccines, discuss their advantages, summarize current preclinical and clinical developments, and propose future perspectives.
Project description:The encapsulation of miR-34a into chitosan/PLGA nanoparticles in order to obtain nanoplexes useful for the modulation of the biopharmaceutical features of the active compound was studied. The nanoplexes were obtained through nanoprecipitation and were characterized by a mean diameter of ~160?nm, a good size distribution and a positive surface charge. The structure of the nanoparticles allowed a high level of entrapment efficiency of the miR-34a and provided protection of the genetic material from the effects of RNase. A high degree of transfection efficiency of the nanoplexes and a significant in vitro antitumor effect against multiple myeloma cells was demonstrated. The therapeutic properties of the nanoplexes were evaluated in vivo against human multiple myeloma xenografts in NOD-SCID mice. The systemic injection of miR-34a mimic-loaded nanoparticles significantly inhibited tumor growth and translated into improved survival of the laboratory mice. RT-PCR analysis carried out on retrieved tumors demonstrated the presence of a high concentration of miR-34a mimics. The integrity of the nanoplexes remained intact and no organ toxicity was observed in treated animals.