Qi Zeng

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (7)25.01 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mucus-penetrating particles (MPP) efficiently bypass the sticky mucus layer in the female reproductive tract, whereas conventional nanoparticles (CP) are trapped and rapidly cleared. On page 1044, J. Hanes and team show how MPP achieve close proximity to mouse cervical tumors and provide sustained release of chemodrugs, resulting in superior efficacy compared to CP. The MPP platform may hold similar promise for local chemotherapy against tumors at other mucosal surfaces.
    Advanced Healthcare Materials 07/2014; 3(7). DOI:10.1002/adhm.201470037 · 4.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Local delivery of chemotherapeutics in the cervicovaginal tract using nanoparticles may reduce adverse side effects associated with systemic chemotherapy, while improving outcomes for early-stage cervical cancer. It is hypothesized here that drug-loaded nanoparticles that rapidly penetrate cervicovaginal mucus (CVM) lining the female reproductive tract will more effectively deliver their payload to underlying diseased tissues in a uniform and sustained manner compared with nanoparticles that do not efficiently penetrate CVM. Paclitaxel-loaded nanoparticles are developed, composed entirely of polymers used in FDA-approved products, which rapidly penetrate human CVM and provide sustained drug release with minimal burst effect. A mouse model is further employed with aggressive cervical tumors established in the cervicovaginal tract to compare paclitaxel-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (conventional particles, or CP) and similar particles coated with Pluronic F127 (mucus-penetrating particles, or MPP). CP are mucoadhesive and, thus, aggregated in mucus, while MPP achieve more uniform distribution and close proximity to cervical tumors. Paclitaxel-MPP suppress tumor growth more effectively and prolong median survival of mice compared with unencapsulated paclitaxel or paclitaxel-CP. Histopathological studies demonstrate minimal toxicity to the cervicovaginal epithelia, suggesting paclitaxel-MPP may be safe for intravaginal use. These results demonstrate the in vivo advantages of polymer-based MPP for treatment of tumors localized to a mucosal surface.
    Advanced Healthcare Materials 07/2014; 3(7). DOI:10.1002/adhm.201300519 · 4.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy is more effective than systemic chemotherapy for treating advanced ovarian cancer, but is typically associated with severe complications due to high dose, frequent administration schedule, and use of non-biocompatible excipients/delivery vehicles. Here, we developed paclitaxel (PTX)-loaded microspheres composed of di-block copolymers of poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(sebacic acid) (PEG-PSA) for safe and sustained IP chemotherapy. PEG-PSA microspheres provided efficient loading (~ 13% w/w) and prolonged release (~ 13 days) of PTX. In a murine ovarian cancer model, a single dose of IP PTX/PEG-PSA particles effectively suppressed tumor growth for more than 40 days and extended the median survival time to 75 days compared to treatments with Taxol(®) (47 days) or IP placebo particles (34 days). IP PTX/PEG-PSA was well tolerated, with only minimal to mild inflammation. Our findings support PTX/PEG-PSA microspheres as a promising drug delivery platform for IP therapy of ovarian cancer, and potentially other metastatic peritoneal cancers.
    Drug Delivery and Translational Research 04/2014; 4(2):203-209. DOI:10.1007/s13346-013-0190-7
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    ABSTRACT: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but devastating skin disease that is increasing in incidence within the United States. The poor prognosis of MCC patients and limited understanding of MCC pathogenesis warrants innovative treatments to control MCC. Several lines of evidence have pointed to Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) as the etiological agent of MCC. In particular, the amino terminus of MCPyV large T antigen (LT) (aa1-258) is expressed in all MCPyV-positive tumors and plays an important role in MCC oncogenesis, rendering it an ideal therapeutic target for vaccination. In the current study, we developed a DNA vaccine encoding MCPyV LT aa1-258 (pcDNA3-LT). Within our pcDNA3-LT DNA vaccine, we identified that MCPyV LT aa136-160 likely contains an LT-specific CD4+ T helper epitope. We have also created an LT-expressing B16/LT tumor model using B16, a murine melanoma cell line, to characterize the potency of our DNA vaccine. Using this tumorigenic B16/LT tumor model, we found that pcDNA3-LT DNA vaccine generates antitumor effects mainly mediated by CD4+ T cells against B16/LT tumors in vaccinated C57BL/6 mice. Thus, immunotherapy using pcDNA3-LT DNA vaccine may represent a promising approach for the control of MCPyV-associated lesions. The B16/LT tumor model further serves as a useful model for testing various vaccine strategies against MCC.
    Vaccine 12/2011; 30(7):1322-9. DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.12.072 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Antigen-specific immunotherapy and vascular disrupting agents, such as 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA), have emerged as attractive approaches for the treatment of cancers. In the current study, we tested the combination of DMXAA treatment with therapeutic human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E7 peptide-based vaccination for their ability to generate E7-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses, as well as their ability to control E7-expressing tumors in a subcutaneous and a cervicovaginal tumor model. We found that the combination of DMXAA treatment with E7 long peptide (amino acids 43-62) vaccination mixed with polyriboinosinic:polyribocytidylic generated significantly stronger E7-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses and antitumor effects compared with treatment with DMXAA alone or HPV peptide vaccination alone in the subcutaneous model. Additionally, we found that the DMXAA-mediated enhancement of E7-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses generated by the therapeutic HPV peptide-based vaccine was dependent on the timing of administration of DMXAA. Treatment with DMXAA in tumor-bearing mice was also shown to lead to increased dendritic cell maturation and increased production of inflammatory cytokines in the tumor. Furthermore, we observed that the combination of DMXAA with HPV-16 E7 peptide vaccination generated a significant enhancement in the antitumor effects in the cervicovaginal TC-1 tumor growth model, which closely resembles the tumor microenvironment of cervical cancer. Taken together, our data demonstrated that administration of the vascular disrupting agent, DMXAA, enhances therapeutic HPV vaccine-induced cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses and antitumor effects against E7-expressing tumors in two different locations. Our study has significant implications for future clinical translation.
    Human gene therapy 12/2010; 22(7):809-19. DOI:10.1089/hum.2010.071 · 3.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly type 16, has been associated with a subset of head and neck cancers. The viral-encoded oncogenic proteins E6 and E7 represent ideal targets for immunotherapy against HPV-associated head and neck cancers. DNA vaccines have emerged as attractive approaches for immunotherapy due to its simplicity, safety and ease of preparation. Intradermal administration of DNA vaccine by means of gene gun represents an efficient method to deliver DNA directly into dendritic cells for priming antigen-specific T cells. We have previously shown that a DNA vaccine encoding an invariant chain (Ii), in which the class II-associated Ii peptide (CLIP) region has been replaced by a Pan-DR-epitope (PADRE) sequence to form Ii-PADRE, is capable of generating PADRE-specific CD4+ T cells in vaccinated mice. In the current study, we hypothesize that a DNA vaccine encoding Ii-PADRE linked to E6 (Ii-PADRE-E6) will further enhance E6-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses through PADRE-specific CD4+ T-helper cells. We found that mice vaccinated with Ii-PADRE-E6 DNA generated comparable levels of PADRE-specific CD4+ T-cell immune responses, as well as significantly stronger E6-specific CD8+ T-cell immune responses and antitumor effects against the lethal challenge of E6-expressing tumor compared with mice vaccinated with Ii-E6 DNA. Taken together, our data indicate that vaccination with Ii-E6 DNA with PADRE replacing the CLIP region is capable of enhancing the E6-specific CD8+ T-cell immune response generated by the Ii-E6 DNA. Thus, Ii-PADRE-E6 represents a novel DNA vaccine for the treatment of HPV-associated head and neck cancer and other HPV-associated malignancies.
    Gene therapy 10/2010; 18(3):304-12. DOI:10.1038/gt.2010.151 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Current therapeutic approaches to treatment of patients with bulky cervical cancer are based on conventional in situ ablative modalities including cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The 5-year survival of patients with nonresectable disease is dismal. Because over 99% of squamous cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with an oncogenic strain of human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly type 16 and viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 are functionally required for disease initiation and persistence, HPV-targeted immune strategies present a compelling opportunity in which to demonstrate proof of principle. Sublethal doses of radiation and chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to have synergistic effect in combination with either vaccination against cancer-specific antigens, or with passive transfer of tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Here, we explored the combination of low-dose radiation therapy with DNA vaccination with calreticulin (CRT) linked to the mutated form of HPV-16 E7 antigen (E7(detox)), CRT/E7(detox) in the treatment of E7-expressing TC-1 tumors. We observed that TC-1 tumor-bearing mice treated with radiotherapy combined with CRT/E7(detox) DNA vaccination generated significant therapeutic antitumor effects and the highest frequency of E7-specific CD8(+) T cells in the tumors and spleens of treated mice. Furthermore, treatment with radiotherapy was shown to render the TC-1 tumor cells more susceptible to lysis by E7-specific CTLs. In addition, we observed that treatment with radiotherapy during the second DNA vaccination generated the highest frequency of E7-specific CD8(+) T cells in the tumors and spleens of TC-1 tumor-bearing mice. Finally, TC-1 tumor-bearing mice treated with the chemotherapy in combination with radiation and CRT/E7(detox) DNA vaccination generate significantly enhanced therapeutic antitumor effects. The clinical implications of the study are discussed.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 10/2008; 58(5):737-48. DOI:10.1007/s00262-008-0596-0 · 3.94 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

99 Citations
25.01 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Pathology
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2011
    • Fudan University
      • Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 2010
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      • Department of Pathology
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States