Challenges and Recent Advances in NK Cell-Targeted Immunotherapies in Solid Tumors.
ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cell is a powerful malignant cells killer, providing rapid immune responses via direct cytotoxicity without the need of antigen processing and presentation. It plays an essential role in preventing early tumor, metastasis and minimal residual disease. Although adoptive NK therapies achieved great success in clinical trials against hematologic malignancies, their accumulation, activation, cytotoxic and immunoregulatory functions are severely impaired in the immunosuppressive microenvironment of solid tumors. Now with better understandings of the tumor evasive mechanisms from NK-mediated immunosurveillance, immunotherapies targeting the key molecules for NK cell dysfunction and exhaustion have been developed and tested in both preclinical and clinical studies. In this review, we introduce the challenges that NK cells encountered in solid tumor microenvironment (TME) and the therapeutic approaches to overcome these limitations, followed by an outline of the recent preclinical advances and the latest clinical outcomes of NK-based immunotherapies, as well as promising strategies to optimize current NK-targeted immunotherapies for solid tumors.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells belong to the innate immune system and contribute to protecting the host through killing of infected, foreign, stressed or transformed cells. Additionally, via cellular cross-talk, NK cells orchestrate antitumor immune responses. Hence, significant efforts have been undertaken to exploit the therapeutic properties of NK cells in cancer. Current strategies in preclinical and clinical development include adoptive transfer therapies, direct stimulation, recruitment of NK cells into the tumor microenvironment (TME), blockade of inhibitory receptors that limit NK cell functions, and therapeutic modulation of the TME to enhance antitumor NK cell function. In this Review, we introduce the NK cell-cancer cycle to highlight recent advances in NK cell biology and to discuss the progress and problems of NK cell-based cancer immunotherapies.
Project description:The tumor microenvironment (TME) is greatly multifaceted and immune escape is an imperative attribute of tumors fostering tumor progression and metastasis. Based on reports, the restricted achievement attained by T cell immunotherapy reflects the prominence of emerging other innovative immunotherapeutics, in particular, natural killer (NK) cells-based treatments. Human NK cells act as the foremost innate immune effector cells against tumors and are vastly heterogeneous in the TME. Currently, there exists a rapidly evolving interest in the progress of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered NK cells for tumor immunotherapy. CAR-NK cells superiorities over CAR-T cells in terms of better safety (e.g., absence or minimal cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), engaging various mechanisms for stimulating cytotoxic function, and high feasibility for 'off-the-shelf' manufacturing. These effector cells could be modified to target various antigens, improve proliferation and persistence <i>in vivo</i>, upturn infiltration into tumors, and defeat resistant TME, which in turn, result in a desired anti-tumor response. More importantly, CAR-NK cells represent antigen receptors against tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), thereby redirecting the effector NK cells and supporting tumor-related immunosurveillance. In the current review, we focus on recent progress in the therapeutic competence of CAR-NK cells in solid tumors and offer a concise summary of the present hurdles affecting therapeutic outcomes of CAR-NK cell-based tumor immunotherapies.
Project description:Despite advances in the diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, the prognosis of several solid tumor malignancies remains poor. Different factors associated with solid tumors including a varied genetic signature, complex molecular signaling pathways, defective cross talk between the tumor cells and immune cells, hypoxic and immunosuppressive effects of tumor microenvironment result in a treatment resistant and metastatic phenotype. Over the past several years, immunotherapy has emerged as an attractive therapeutic option against multiple malignancies. The unique ability of natural killer (NK) cells to target cancer cells without antigen specificity makes them an ideal candidate for use against solid tumors. However, the outcomes of adoptive NK cell infusions into patients with solid tumors have been disappointing. Extensive studies have been done to investigate different strategies to improve the NK cell function, trafficking and tumor targeting. Use of cytokines and cytokine analogs has been well described and utilized to enhance the proliferation, stimulation and persistence of NK cells. Other techniques like blocking the human leukocyte antigen-killer cell receptors (KIR) interactions with anti-KIR monoclonal antibodies, preventing CD16 receptor shedding, increasing the expression of activating NK cell receptors like NKG2D, and use of immunocytokines and immune checkpoint inhibitors can enhance NK cell mediated cytotoxicity. Using genetically modified NK cells with chimeric antigen receptors and bispecific and trispecific NK cell engagers, NK cells can be effectively redirected to the tumor cells improving their cytotoxic potential. In this review, we have described these strategies and highlighted the need to further optimize these strategies to improve the clinical outcome of NK cell based immunotherapy against solid tumors.
Project description:Brain metastases account for considerable morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer. Despite increasing prevalence, limited therapeutic options exist. Recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular underpinnings of the tumor immune microenvironment and the immune evasive mechanisms employed by tumor cells have shed light on how immunotherapies may provide therapeutic benefit to patients. The development and evolution of immunotherapy continue to show promise for the treatment of brain metastases. Positive outcomes have been observed in several studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of these treatments. However, many challenges persist in the application of immunotherapies to brain metastases. This review discusses the potential benefits and challenges in the development and use of checkpoint inhibitors, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, and oncolytic viruses for the treatment of brain metastases. Future studies are necessary to further evaluate and assess the potential use of each of these therapies in this setting. As we gain more knowledge regarding the role immunotherapies may play in the treatment of brain metastases, it is important to consider how these treatments may guide clinical decision making for clinicians and the impact they may have on patients. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Immunotherapies have produced clinically significant outcomes in early clinical trials evaluating patients with brain metastases or demonstrated promising results in preclinical models. Checkpoint inhibitors have been the most common immunotherapy studied to date in the setting of brain metastases, but novel approaches that can harness the immune system to contain and eliminate cancer cells are currently under investigation and may soon become more common in the clinical setting. An understanding of these evolving therapies may be useful in determining how the future management and treatment of brain metastases among patients with cancer will continue to advance.
Project description:The innate immune system provides the first line of defense against pathogen infection though also influences pathways involved in cancer immunosurveillance. The innate immune system relies on a limited set of germ line-encoded sensors termed pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), signaling proteins and immune response factors. Cytosolic receptors mediate recognition of danger damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) signals. Once activated, these sensors trigger multiple signaling cascades, converging on the production of type I interferons and proinflammatory cytokines. Recent studies revealed that PRRs respond to nucleic acids (NA) released by dying, damaged, cancer cells, as danger DAMPs signals, and presence of signaling proteins across cancer types suggests that these signaling mechanisms may be involved in cancer biology. DAMPs play important roles in shaping adaptive immune responses through the activation of innate immune cells and immunological response to danger DAMPs signals is crucial for the host response to cancer and tumor rejection. Furthermore, PRRs mediate the response to NA in several vaccination strategies, including DNA immunization. As route of double-strand DNA intracellular entry, DNA immunization leads to expression of key components of cytosolic NA-sensing pathways. The involvement of NA-sensing mechanisms in the antitumor response makes these pathways attractive drug targets. Natural and synthetic agonists of NA-sensing pathways can trigger cell death in malignant cells, recruit immune cells, such as DCs, CD8+ T cells, and NK cells, into the tumor microenvironment and are being explored as promising adjuvants in cancer immunotherapies. In this minireview, we discuss how cGAS-STING and RIG-I-MAVS pathways have been targeted for cancer treatment in preclinical translational researches. In addition, we present a targeted selection of recent clinical trials employing agonists of cytosolic NA-sensing pathways showing how these pathways are currently being targeted for clinical application in oncology.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are a population of innate lymphoid cells playing a pivotal role in host immune responses against infection and tumor growth. These cells have a powerful cytotoxic activity orchestrated by an intricate network of inhibitory and activating signals. The importance of NK cells in controlling tumor growth and in mediating a robust anti-metastatic effect has been demonstrated in different experimental mouse cancer models. Consistently, high density of tumor-infiltrating NK cells has been linked with a good prognosis in multiple human solid tumors. However, there are also tumors that appear to be refractory to NK cell-mediated killing for the presence of an immunosuppressive microenvironment affecting NK cell function. Immunotherapeutic strategies aimed at restoring and increasing the cytotoxic activity of NK cells in solid tumors, including the adoptive transfer of NK and CAR-NK cells, are currently employed in preclinical and clinical studies. In this review, we outline recent advances supporting the direct role of NK cells in controlling expansion of solid tumors and their prognostic value in human cancers. We summarize the mechanisms adopted by cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment to affect NK cell function, and finally we evaluate current strategies to augment the antitumor function of NK cells for the treatment of solid tumors.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are powerful immune effectors, modulating their anti-tumor function through a balance activating and inhibitor ligands on their cell surface. Though still emerging, cancer immunotherapies utilizing NK cells are proving promising as a modality for the treatment of a number of solid tumors, including glioblastoma (GBM) and other gliomas, but are often limited due to complex immunosuppression associated with the GBM tumor microenvironment which includes overexpression of inhibitory receptors on GBM cells. CD155, or poliovirus receptor (PVR), has recently emerged as a pro-tumorigenic antigen, overexpressed on GBM and contributing to increased GBM migration and aggressiveness. CD155 has also been established as an immunomodulatory receptor, able to both activate NK cells through interactions with CD226 (DNAM-1) and CD96 and inhibit them through interaction with TIGIT. However, NK cell TIGIT expression has been shown to be upregulated in cancer, establishing CD155 as a predominantly inhibitory receptor within the context of GBM and other solid tumors, and rendering it of interest as a potential target for antigen-specific NK cell-based immunotherapy. This review will explore the function of CD155 within GBM as it relates to tumor migration and NK cell immunoregulation, as well as pre-clinical and clinical targeting of CD155/TIGIT and the potential that this pathway holds for the development of emerging NK cell-based immunotherapies.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells provide a powerful weapon mediating immune defense against viral infections, tumor growth, and metastatic spread. NK cells demonstrate great potential for cancer immunotherapy; they can rapidly and directly kill cancer cells in the absence of MHC-dependent antigen presentation and can initiate a robust immune response in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Nevertheless, current NK cell-based immunotherapies have several drawbacks, such as the requirement for ex vivo expansion of modified NK cells, and low transduction efficiency. Furthermore, to date, no clinical trial has demonstrated a significant benefit for NK-based therapies in patients with advanced solid tumors, mainly due to the suppressive TME. To overcome current obstacles in NK cell-based immunotherapies, we describe here a non-viral lipid nanoparticle-based delivery system that encapsulates small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to gene silence the key intrinsic inhibitory NK cell molecules, SHP-1, Cbl-b, and c-Cbl. The nanoparticles (NPs) target NK cells in vivo, silence inhibitory checkpoint signaling molecules, and unleash NK cell activity to eliminate tumors. Thus, the novel NP-based system developed here may serve as a powerful tool for future NK cell-based therapeutic approaches.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells provide a powerful weapon mediating immune defense against viral infections, tumor growth, and metastatic spread. NK cells demonstrate great potential for cancer immunotherapy; they can rapidly and directly kill cancer cells in the absence of MHC-dependent antigen presentation and can initiate a robust immune response in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Nevertheless, current NK cell-based immunotherapies have several drawbacks, such as the requirement for ex-vivo expansion of modified NK cells, and low transduction efficiency. Furthermore, to date, no clinical trial has demonstrated a significant benefit for NK-based therapies in patients with advanced solid tumors, mainly due to the suppressive TME. To overcome current obstacles in NK cell-based immunotherapies, we describe here a non-viral lipid nanoparticle-based delivery system that encapsulates siRNAs to gene silence the key intrinsic inhibitory NK cell molecules, SHP-1, Cbl-b, and c-Cbl. The nanoparticles target NK cells in-vivo, silence inhibitory checkpoint signaling molecules, and unleash NK cell activity to eliminate tumors. Thus, the novel nanoparticle-based system developed here may serve as a powerful tool for future NK cell-based therapeutic approaches.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are prominent cytotoxic and cytokine-producing components of the innate immune system representing crucial effector cells in cancer immunotherapy. Presently, various NK cell-based immunotherapies have contributed to the substantial improvement in the reconstitution of NK cells against advanced-staged and high-risk AML. Various NK cell sources, including haploidentical NK cells, adaptive NK cells, umbilical cord blood NK cells, stem cell-derived NK cells, chimeric antigen receptor NK cells, cytokine-induced memory-like NK cells, and NK cell lines have been identified. Devising innovative approaches to improve the generation of therapeutic NK cells from the aforementioned sources is likely to enhance NK cell expansion and activation, stimulate <i>ex vivo</i> and <i>in vivo</i> persistence of NK cells and improve conventional treatment response of myeloid leukemia. The tumor-promoting properties of the tumor microenvironment and downmodulation of NK cellular metabolic activity in solid tumors and hematological malignancies constitute a significant impediment in enhancing the anti-tumor effects of NK cells. In this review, we discuss the current NK cell sources, highlight ongoing interventions in enhancing NK cell function, and outline novel strategies to circumvent immunosuppressive factors in the tumor microenvironment to improve the efficacy of NK cell-based immunotherapy and expand their future success in treating myeloid leukemia.