Nanovaccine loaded with poly I:C and STAT3 siRNA robustly elicits anti-tumor immune responses through modulating tumor-associated dendritic cells in vivo
Although cancer vaccine-based immunotherapy holds great potential for cancer treatment, tumor-induced dendritic cell (DC) dysfunction remains to be the major obstacle for developing effective vaccines. Compared with normal DCs, tumor-associated DCs (TADCs) are less matured with poor responsiveness to Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation, which has been related with STAT3 hyperactivity. In the present study, Poly I:C (PIC, a TLR3 agonist), STAT3 siRNA and OVA antigen were co-encapsulated by poly (ethylene glycol)-b-poly (l-lysine)-b-poly (l-leucine) (PEG-PLL-PLLeu) polypeptide micelles to generate PMP/OVA/siRNA nanovaccine, which was aimed to effectively overcome DC dysfunction in vivo by deleting STAT3 gene in situ. The results showed that PMP/OVA/siRNA simultaneously facilitated the cellular uptake of OVA antigen and siRNA about 3–200 folds, and decreased STAT3 expression in TADCs over 50% both in vitro and in vivo. PMP/OVA/siRNA also elevated CD86 and CD40 expression as well as IL-12 production by TADCs more effectively than PMP/OVA did, indicating its strong potency of inducing TADC maturation and activation. Moreover, the immunization of PMP/OVA/siRNA rather than PMP/OVA effectively abrogated immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment by increasing mature DCs and decreasing immunosuppressive cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes, which thereby led to potent anti-tumor immune responses and dramatic tumor regression with prolonged survival. Hence, in vivo co-delivery of immunopotentiator (PIC) and immunosuppressive gene silencer (STAT3 siRNA) by nanovaccines are expected to be a promising strategy to improve the therapeutic efficacy of cancer vaccines by modulating TADCs and overcoming tumor immunosupression.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 38, January 2015, Pages 50–60