Developing safe and effective cancer vaccine formulations is a primary focus in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Dendritic cells (DC) are currently employed as cellular vaccine in clinical trials of tumor immunotherapy. Recognizing the critical role of DCs in initiating anti-tumor immunity has resulted in the development of several strategies that target vaccine antigens to DCs to trigger anti-tumor T cell responses. To increase the efficiency of antigen delivery systems for anti-tumor vaccines, encapsulation of tumor-associated antigens in polymer nanoparticles (NPs) has been established.
In this study, the effect of tumor lysate antigen obtained from three stage III breast cancer tissues encapsulated within PLGA NPs to enhance the DC maturation was investigated. The T-cell immune response activation was then fallowed up. Fresh breast tumors were initially used to generate tumor lysate antigens containing poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) NP. The encapsulation efficiency and release kinetics were profiled. The efficiency of encapsulation was measured using Bradford protein assays measuring the dissolved NPs. The stability of released antigen from NPs was verified using SDS-PAGE. To evaluate the hypothesis that NPs enhances antigen presentation, including soluble tumor lysate, tumor lysate containing NPs and control NPs the efficiency of NP-mediated tumor lysate delivery to DCs was evaluated by assessing CD3+ T-cell stimulation after T cell/and DCs co-culture.
The rate of encapsulation was increased by enhancing the antigen concentration of tumor lysate. However, increasing the antigen concentration diminished the encapsulation efficiency. In addition, higher initial protein contenting NPs led to a greater cumulative release. All three patients released variable amounts of IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12 and IL-4 in response to re-stimulation. T cells stimulated with lysate-pulsed DCs induced a substantial increase in IFN-γ and IL-12 production. We demonstrated that NPs containing tumor lysate can induce maturation and activation of DCs, as antigen alone does.