Nanoparticle T-cell engagers as a modular platform for cancer immunotherapy
T-cell-based immunotherapy, such as CAR-T cells and bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), has shown promising clinical outcomes in many cancers; however, these therapies have significant limitations, such as poor pharmacokinetics and the ability to target only one antigen on the cancer cells. In multiclonal diseases, these therapies confer the development of antigen-less clones, causing tumor escape and relapse. In this study, we developed nanoparticle-based bispecific T-cell engagers (nanoBiTEs), which are liposomes decorated with anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting T cells, and mAbs targeting the cancer antigen. We also developed a nanoparticle that targets multiple cancer antigens by conjugating multiple mAbs against multiple cancer antigens for T-cell engagement (nanoMuTEs). NanoBiTEs and nanoMuTEs have a long half-life of about 60_h, which enables once-a-week administration instead of continuous infusion, while maintaining efficacy in vitro and in vivo. NanoMuTEs targeting multiple cancer antigens showed greater efficacy in myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo, compared to nanoBiTEs targeting only one cancer antigen. Unlike nanoBiTEs, treatment with nanoMuTEs did not cause downregulation (or loss) of a single antigen, and prevented the development of antigen-less tumor escape. Our nanoparticle-based immuno-engaging technology provides a solution for the major limitations of current immunotherapy technologies.
Lymphopenia and intratumoral lymphocytic balance in the era of cancer Immuno-Radiotherapy
INTRODUCTION: The immune response has been recognized as a major tumor-eradication component of radiotherapy. OBJECTIVE: This review studies, under a clinical perspective, two contrasting effects of radiotherapy, namely immunosuppression and radiovaccination. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We critically reviewed the available clinical and experimental experience on radiotherapy-induced lymphopenia. RESULTS: Radiation-induced tumor damage promotes radio-vaccination, enhances cytotoxic immune responses, and potentiates immunotherapy. Nevertheless, radiotherapy induces systemic and intratumoral lymphopenia. The above effects are directly related to radiotherapy fractionation and field size/location, and tumor characteristics. DISCUSSION: Hypofractionated stereotactic and accelerated irradiation better promotes radio-vaccination and produces less severe lymphopenia. Adopting cytoprotective policies and combining lympho-stimulatory agents or agents blocking regulatory lymphocyte activity are awaited to unmask the radio-vaccination effect, enhancing the efficacy immuno-radiotherapy. CONCLUSION: Radiation-induced lymphopenia and immunosuppression are important issues that should be considered in the design of immuno-radiotherapy clinical trials.
CD8+CD103+ tissue-resident memory T cells convey reduced protective immunity in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
BACKGROUND: Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes play a key role in antitumor responses; however, while several memory T-cell subtypes have been reported in inflammatory and neoplastic conditions, the proportional representation of the different subsets of memory T cells and their functional significance in cancer is unclear. Keratinocyte skin cancer is one of the most common cancers globally, with cutaneous squamous cell cancer (cSCC) among the most frequent malignancies capable of metastasis. METHODS: Memory T-cell subsets were delineated in human cSCCs and, for comparison, in non-lesional skin and blood using flow cytometry. Immunohistochemistry was conducted to quantify CD103+ cells in primary human cSCCs which had metastasized (P-M) and primary cSCCs which had not metastasized (P-NM). TIMER2.0 (timer.cistrome.org) was used to analyze TCGA cancer survival data based on ITGAE expression. Immunofluorescence microscopy was performed to determine frequencies of CD8+CD103+ cells in P-M and P-NM cSCCs. RESULTS: Despite intertumoral heterogeneity, most cSCC T cells were CCR7-/CD45RA- effector/resident memory (TRM) lymphocytes, with naive, CD45RA+/CCR7- effector memory re-expressing CD45RA, CCR7+/L-selectin+ central memory and CCR7+/L-selectin- migratory memory lymphocytes accounting for smaller T-cell subsets. The cSCC CD8+ T-cell population contained a higher proportion of CD69+/CD103+ TRMs than that in non-lesional skin and blood. These cSCC CD69+/CD103+ TRMs exhibited increased IL-10 production, and higher CD39, CTLA-4 and PD-1 expression compared with CD103- TRMs in the tumor. CD103+ cells were more frequent in P-M than P-NM cSCCs. Analysis of TCGA data demonstrated that high expression of ITGAE (encoding CD103) was associated with reduced survival in primary cutaneous melanoma, breast carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney chromophobe cancer, adrenocortical carcinoma and lower grade glioma. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that the majority of CD103 was present on CD8+ T cells and that CD8+CD103+ cells were significantly more frequent in P-M than P-NM cSCCs. CONCLUSION: These results highlight CD8+CD103+ TRMs as an important functional T-cell subset associated with poorer clinical outcome in this cancer.
Trial to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of a melanoma helper peptide vaccine plus incomplete Freund's adjuvant, cyclophosphamide, and polyICLC (Mel63)
BACKGROUND: Peptide vaccines designed to stimulate melanoma-reactive CD4(+) T cells can induce T cell and antibody (Ab) responses, associated with enhanced overall survival. We hypothesized that adding toll-like receptor 3 agonist polyICLC to an incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA) would be safe and would support strong, durable CD4(+) T cell and Ab responses. We also hypothesized that oral low-dose metronomic cyclophosphamide (mCy) would be safe, would reduce circulating regulatory T cells (T-regs) and would further enhance immunogenicity. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: An adaptive design based on toxicity and durable CD4+ T_cell immune response (dRsp) was used to assign participants with resected stage IIA-IV melanoma to one of four study regimens. The regimens included a vaccine comprising six melanoma peptides restricted by Class II MHC (6MHP) in an emulsion with IFA alone (Arm A), with IFA plus systemic mCy (Arm B), with IFA+ local polyICLC (Arm C), or with IFA+ polyICLC+ mCy (Arm D). Toxicities were recorded (CTCAE V.4.03). T cell responses were measured by interferon _ ELIspot assay ex vivo. Serum Ab responses to 6MHP were measured by ELISA. Circulating T-regs were assessed by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Forty-eight eligible participants were enrolled and treated. Early data on safety and dRsp favored enrollment on arm D. Total enrollment on Arms A-D were 3, 7, 6, and 32, respectively. Treatment-related dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were observed in 1/7 (14%) participants on arm B and 2/32 (6%) on arm D. None exceeded the 25% DLT threshold for early closure to enrollment for any arm. Strong durable T cell responses to 6MHP were detected ex vivo in 0%, 29%, 67%, and 47% of participants on arms A-D, respectively. IgG Ab responses were greatest for arms C and D. Circulating T-regs frequencies were not altered by mCy. CONCLUSIONS: 6MHP vaccines administered with IFA, polyICLC, and mCy were well tolerated. The dRsp rate for arm D of 47% (90% CI 32 to 63) exceeded the 18% (90% CI 11 to 26) rate previously observed with 6MHP in IFA alone. Vaccination with IFA+ polyICLC (arm C) also showed promise for enhancing T cell and Ab responses.
In situ immunogenic clearance induced by a combination of photodynamic therapy and rho-kinase inhibition sensitizes immune checkpoint blockade response to elicit systemic antitumor immunity against intraocular melanoma and its metastasis
BACKGROUND: Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most frequent intraocular malignancy and is resistant to immunotherapy. Nearly 50% of patients with UM develop metastatic disease, and the overall survival outcome remains very poor. Therefore, a treatment regimen that simultaneously targets primary UM and prevents metastasis is needed. Here, we suggest an immunotherapeutic strategy for UM involving a combination of local photodynamic therapy (PDT), rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, and PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade. METHODS: The antitumor efficacy and immune response of monotreatment or combinational treatment were evaluated in B16F10-bearing syngeneic mouse models. Abscopal antitumor immune responses induced by triple-combinational treatment were validated in syngeneic bilateral B16F10 models. After each treatment, the immune profiles and functional examinations were assessed in tumors and tumor draining lymph nodes by flow cytometry, ELISA, and immunofluorescence assays. In orthotopic intraocular melanoma models, the location of the immune infiltrate in the tumor microenvironment (TME) was evaluated after each treatment by multiplex immunohistochemistry and metastatic nodules were monitored. RESULTS: PDT with Ce6-embedded nanophotosensitizer (FIC-PDT) elicited immunogenic cell death and stimulated antigen-presenting cells. In situ immunogenic clearance induced by a combination of FIC-PDT with ripasudil, a clinically approved ROCK inhibitor, stimulated antigen-presenting cells, which in turn primed tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells. Moreover, local immunogenic clearance sensitized PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade responses to reconstruct the TME immune phenotypes of cold tumors into hot tumors, resulting in recruitment of robust cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells in the TME, propagation of systemic antitumor immunity to mediate abscopal effects, and prolonged survival. In an immune-privileged orthotopic intraocular melanoma model, even low-dose FIC-PDT and ripasudil combined with anti-PD-L1 antibody reduced the primary tumor burden and prevented metastasis. CONCLUSIONS: A combination of localized FIC-PDT and a ROCK inhibitor exerted a cancer vaccine-like function. Immunogenic clearance led to the trafficking of CD8(+) T cells into the primary tumor site and sensitized the immune checkpoint blockade response to evoke systemic antitumor immunity to inhibit metastasis, one of the major challenges in UM therapy. Thus, immunogenic clearance induced by FIC-PDT and ROCK inhibitor combined with anti-PD-L1 antibody could be a potent immunotherapeutic strategy for UM.
Expanded human NK cells from lung cancer patients sensitize patients' PDL1-negative tumors to PD1-blockade therapy
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death worldwide despite the significant progress made by immune checkpoint inhibitors, including programmed death receptor-1 (PD1)/PD ligand 1 (PDL1)-blockade therapy. PD1/PDL1-blockade has achieved unprecedented tumor regression in some patients with advanced lung cancer. However, the majority of patients fail to respond to PD1/PDL1 inhibitors. The high rate of therapy non-response results from insufficient PDL1 expression on most patients' tumors and the presence of further immunosuppressive mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment. Here, we sensitize non-responding tumors from patients with lung cancer to PD1-blockade therapy using highly cytotoxic expanded natural killer (NK) cells. We uncover that NK cells expanded from patients with lung cancer dismantle the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment by maintaining strong antitumor activity against both PDL1+ and PDL1- patient tumors. In the process, through a contact-independent mechanism involving interferon _, expanded NK cells rescued tumor killing by exhausted endogenous TILs and upregulated the tumor proportion score of PDL1 across patient tumors. In contrast, unexpanded NK cells, which are susceptible to tumor-induced immunosuppression, had no effect on tumor PDL1. As a result, combined treatment of expanded NK cells and PD1-blockade resulted in robust synergistic tumor destruction of initially non-responding patient tumors. Thus, expanded NK cells may overcome the critical roadblocks to extending the prodigious benefits of PD1-blockade therapy to more patients with lung cancer and other tumor types.
Retroviral gene delivery is widely used in T cell therapies for hematological cancers. However, viral vectors are expensive to manufacture, integrate genes in semi-random patterns, and their transduction efficiency varies between patients. In this study, several non-viral gene delivery vehicles, promoters, and additional variables were compared to optimize non-viral transgene delivery and expression in both Jurkat and primary T cells. Transfection of Jurkat cells was maximized to a high efficiency (63.0±10.9% EGFP(+) cells) by transfecting cells with Lipofectamine LTX in X-VIVO(TM) 15 media. However, the same method yielded a much lower transfection efficiency in primary T cells (8.1±0.8% EGFP(+) ). Subsequent confocal microscopy revealed that a majority of the lipoplexes did not enter the primary T cells, which might be due to relatively low expression levels of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) detected via mRNA-sequencing. PYHIN DNA sensors (e.g., AIM2, IFI16) that can induce apoptosis or repress transcription after binding cytoplasmic DNA were also detected at high levels in primary T cells. Therefore, transfection of primary T cells appears to be limited at the level of cellular uptake or DNA sensing in the cytoplasm. Both of these factors should be considered in the development of future viral and non-viral T cell gene delivery methods. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Global pandemics interconnected - obesity, impaired metabolic health and COVID-19
Obesity and impaired metabolic health are established risk factors for the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, otherwise known as metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). With the worldwide spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), obesity and impaired metabolic health also emerged as important determinants of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Furthermore, novel findings indicate that specifically visceral obesity and characteristics of impaired metabolic health such as hyperglycaemia, hypertension and subclinical inflammation are associated with a high risk of severe COVID-19. In this Review, we highlight how obesity and impaired metabolic health increase complications and mortality in COVID-19. We also summarize the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection for organ function and risk of NCDs. In addition, we discuss data indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic could have serious consequences for the obesity epidemic. As obesity and impaired metabolic health are both accelerators and consequences of severe COVID-19, and might adversely influence the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, we propose strategies for the prevention and treatment of obesity and impaired metabolic health on a clinical and population level, particularly while the COVID-19 pandemic is present.
Personal neoantigen vaccines induce persistent memory T cell responses and epitope spreading in patients with melanoma
Personal neoantigen vaccines have been envisioned as an effective approach to induce, amplify and diversify antitumor T cell responses. To define the long-term effects of such a vaccine, we evaluated the clinical outcome and circulating immune responses of eight patients with surgically resected stage IIIB/C or IVM1a/b melanoma, at a median of almost 4 years after treatment with NeoVax, a long-peptide vaccine targeting up to 20 personal neoantigens per patient ( NCT01970358 ). All patients were alive and six were without evidence of active disease. We observed long-term persistence of neoantigen-specific T cell responses following vaccination, with ex vivo detection of neoantigen-specific T cells exhibiting a memory phenotype. We also found diversification of neoantigen-specific T cell clones over time, with emergence of multiple T cell receptor clonotypes exhibiting distinct functional avidities. Furthermore, we detected evidence of tumor infiltration by neoantigen-specific T cell clones after vaccination and epitope spreading, suggesting on-target vaccine-induced tumor cell killing. Personal neoantigen peptide vaccines thus induce T cell responses that persist over years and broaden the spectrum of tumor-specific cytotoxicity in patients with melanoma.
Functional Heterogeneity and Therapeutic Targeting of Tissue-Resident Memory T Cells
Tissue-resident memory T (T(RM)) cells mediate potent local innate and adaptive immune responses and provide long-lasting protective immunity. T(RM) cells localize to many different tissues, including barrier tissues, and play a crucial role in protection against infectious and malignant disease. The formation and maintenance of T(RM) cells are influenced by numerous factors, including inflammation, antigen triggering, and tissue-specific cues. Emerging evidence suggests that these signals also contribute to heterogeneity within the T(RM) cell compartment. Here, we review the phenotypic and functional heterogeneity of CD8(+) T(RM) cells at different tissue sites and the molecular determinants defining CD8(+) T(RM) cell subsets. We further discuss the possibilities of targeting the unique cell surface molecules, cytokine and chemokine receptors, transcription factors, and metabolic features of T(RM) cells for therapeutic purposes. Their crucial role in immune protection and their location at the frontlines of the immune defense make T(RM) cells attractive therapeutic targets. A better understanding of the possibilities to selectively modulate T(RM) cell populations may thus improve vaccination and immunotherapeutic strategies employing these potent immune cells.