Anti-tumor efficacy of an adjuvant built-in nanovaccine based on ubiquitinated proteins from tumor cells

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Background and Aim: We have previously identified ubiquitinated proteins (UPs) from tumor cell lysates as a promising vaccine for cancer immunotherapy in different mouse tumor models. In this study, we aimed at developing a highly efficient therapeutic adjuvant built-in nanovaccine (α-Al2 O3-UPs) by a simple method, in which UPs from tumor cells could be efficiently and conveniently enriched by α-Al2 O3 nanoparticles covalently coupled with Vx3 proteins (α-Al2 O3-CONH-Vx3). Methods: The α-Al2O3 nanoparticles were modified with 4-hydroxybenzoic acid followed by coupling with ubiquitin-binding protein Vx3. It was then used to enrich UPs from 4T1 cell lysate. The stability and the efficiency for the UPs enrichment of α-Al2O3-CONH-Vx3 were examined. The ability of α-Al2O3-UPs to activate DCs was examined in vitro subsequently. The splenocytes from the vaccinated mice were re-stimulated with inactivated tumor cells, and the IFN-γ secretion was detected by ELISA and flow cytometry. Moreover, the therapeutic efficacy of α-Al2O3-UPs, alone and in combination with chemotherapy, was examined in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice. Results: Our results showed that α-Al2 O3-UPs were successfully synthesized and abundant UPs from tumor cell lysate were enriched by the new method. In vitro study showed that compared to the physical mixture of α-Al2O3 nanoparticles and UPs (α-Al2O3+UPs), α-Al2 O3-UPs stimulation resulted in higher upregulations of CD80, CD86, MHC class I, and MHC class II on DCs, indicating the higher ability of DC activation. Moreover, α-Al2 O3-UPs elicited a more effective immune response in mice, demonstrated by higher IFN-γ secretion than α-Al2O3+UPs. Furthermore, α-Al2 O3-UPs also exhibited a more potent effect on tumor growth inhibition and survival prolongation in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice. Notably, when in combination with low dose chemotherapy, the anti-tumor effect was further enhanced, rather than using α-Al2 O3-UPs alone. Conclusion: This study presents an adjuvant built-in nanovaccine generated by a new simple method that can be potentially applied to cancer immunotherapy and lays the experimental foundation for future clinical application.




Huang, F., Zhao, J., Wei, Y., Wen, Z., Zhang, Y., Wang, X., … Pan, N. (2020). Anti-tumor efficacy of an adjuvant built-in nanovaccine based on ubiquitinated proteins from tumor cells. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 15, 1021–1035.

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