Modified tumour antigen-encoding mRNA facilitates the analysis of naturally occurring and vaccine-induced CD4 and CD8 T cells in cancer patients.
ABSTRACT The development of effective anti-cancer vaccines requires precise assessment of vaccine-induced immunity. This is often hampered by low ex vivo frequencies of antigen-specific T cells and limited defined epitopes. This study investigates the applicability of modified, in vitro-transcribed mRNA encoding a therapeutically relevant tumour antigen to analyse T cell responses in cancer patients. In this study transfection of antigen presenting cells, by mRNA encoding the tumour antigen NY-ESO-1, was optimised and applied to address spontaneous and vaccine-induced T cell responses in cancer patients. Memory CD8+ T cells from lung cancer patients having detectable humoral immune responses directed towards NY-ESO-1 could be efficiently detected in peripheral blood. Specific T cells utilised a range of different T cell receptors, indicating a polyclonal response. Specific killing of a panel of NY-ESO-1 expressing tumour cell lines indicates recognition restricted to several HLA allelic variants, including a novel HLA-B49 epitope. Using a modified mRNA construct targeting the translated antigen to the secretory pathway, detection of NY-ESO-1-specific CD4+ T cells in patients could be enhanced, which allowed the in-depth characterisation of established T cell clones. Moreover, broad CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses covering multiple epitopes were detected following mRNA stimulation of patients treated with a recombinant vaccinia/fowlpox NY-ESO-1 vaccine. This approach allows for a precise monitoring of responses to tumour antigens in a setting that addresses the breadth and magnitude of antigen-specific T cell responses, and that is not limited to a particular combination of known epitopes and HLA-restrictions.
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ABSTRACT: RNAs with optimized properties are increasingly investigated as a tool to deliver the genetic information of complete antigens into professional antigen-presenting dendritic cells for HLA haplotype-independent antigen-specific vaccination against cancer. As the dose of the antigen and duration of its presentation are critical factors for generating strong and sustained antigen-specific immune responses, improvement of the immunobioavailability of RNA-based vaccines has been a recurrent subject of research. Substantial increase of the amount of antigen produced from RNA can be achieved by optimizing RNA stability and translational efficiency. Both features are determined by cis-acting elements in the RNA, namely the 5' cap, the poly(A) tail, and the sequence of the coding and non-coding regions, which interact with corresponding trans-acting factors. This article summarizes recent developments in identifying optimized RNA for expression of foreign proteins in dendritic cells, as well as their implications for immunotherapy based on antigen-encoding RNA.RNA biology 01/2011; 8(1):35-43. · 5.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although cancer immunology has made vigorous progress over the last decade, its future remains uncertain. Tumors have clearly proved subject to immune surveillance, leading to antigenic editing, and means of activating both T and B arms of the immune system have been devised. Therapeutic vaccination and monoclonal antibody therapy have so far proved disappointing, because tumors prove adept at evasion from immune control. Dual targeting could well counteract evasion, provided that the two targets are independent and are attacked simultaneously. This stage has nearly but not quite been reached in several forms of immunotherapy, particularly of B-cell cancers, although such treatment also carries hazards.Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 04/2011; 60(8):1127-35. · 3.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) are critical in regulating apoptosis resistance in cancer. Antagonists of IAPs, such as LCL161, are in clinical development and show promise as anti-cancer agents for solid and hematological cancers, with preliminary data suggesting they may act as immunomodulators. IAP antagonists hypersensitize tumor cells to TNF-α-mediated apoptosis, an effect that may work in synergy with that of cancer vaccines. This study aimed to further investigate the immunomodulatory properties of LCL161 on human immune subsets. T lymphocytes treated with LCL161 demonstrated significantly enhanced cytokine secretion upon activation, with little effect on CD4 and CD8 T-cell survival or proliferation. LCL161 treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells significantly enhanced priming of naïve T cells with synthetic peptides in vitro. Myeloid dendritic cells underwent phenotypic maturation upon IAP antagonism and demonstrated a reduced capacity to cross-present a tumor antigen-based vaccine. These effects are potentially mediated through an observed activation of the canonical and non-canonical NF-κB pathways, following IAP antagonism with a resulting upregulation of anti-apoptotic molecules. In conclusion, this study demonstrated the immunomodulatory properties of antagonists at physiologically relevant concentrations and indicates their combination with immunotherapy requires further investigation.Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 08/2012; · 3.64 Impact Factor