Therapeutic cell engineering with surface-conjugated synthetic nanoparticles

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Abstract

A major limitation of cell therapies is the rapid decline in viability and function of the transplanted cells. Here we describe a strategy to enhance cell therapy via the conjugation of adjuvant drug–loaded nanoparticles to the surfaces of therapeutic cells. With this method of providing sustained pseudoautocrine stimulation to donor cells, we elicited marked enhancements in tumor elimination in a model of adoptive T cell therapy for cancer. We also increased the in vivo repopulation rate of hematopoietic stem cell grafts with very low doses of adjuvant drugs that were ineffective when given systemically. This approach is a simple and generalizable strategy to augment cytoreagents while minimizing the systemic side effects of adjuvant drugs. In addition, these results suggest therapeutic cells are promising vectors for actively targeted drug delivery.

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Figure 1: Stable conjugation of nanoparticles (NPs) to the surfaces of T cells and HSCs via cell-surface thiols.
Figure 2: Nanoparticle conjugation does not affect key T cell functions.
Figure 3: Nanoparticle-decorated T cells efficiently carry surface-tethered nanoparticles into antigen-expressing tumors.
Figure 4: Pmel-1 T cells conjugated with IL-15Sa– and IL-21–releasing nanoparticles robustly proliferate in vivo and eradicate established B16 melanomas.
Figure 5: HSCs carrying GSK-3β inhibitor–loaded nanoparticles reconstitute recipient animals with rapid kinetics after bone marrow transplants without affecting multilineage differentiation potential.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by the US National Institutes of Health (CA140476), the US National Science Foundation (Materials Research Science and Engineering Center award DMR-02-13282), Cancer Center Support (core) grant P30-CA14051 from the US National Cancer Institute and a gift to the Koch Institute by Curtis and Cathy Marble. D.J.I. is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. We thank M. Sadelain (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) for extG-luc and M. van den Brink (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) for F-luc–transgenic mice.

Author information

M.T.S. designed and conducted all experiments and wrote the manuscript. J.J.M. assisted in T cell transmigration assays, optimization of multilamellar lipid nanoparticle synthesis and in vivo nanoparticle biodistribution assays. S.H.U. assisted optimization of multilamellar lipid nanoparticle synthesis. A.B. assisted in initial in vitro T cell assays, collected electron microscopy images and contributed experimental suggestions. D.J.I. supervised all experiments and wrote the manuscript.

Correspondence to Darrell J Irvine.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–17 and Supplementary Methods (PDF 4409 kb)

Supplementary Movie 1

Maleimide-bearing NPs are not internalized after cell surface conjugation. CD8+ T cells were surface-conjugated with fluorescent DiD-tagged NPs (Fig. 1c). Sequences of single confocal z-sections acquired at 0.4 1m intervals throughout the T cells are shown here and in Supplementary Movie 2. (MOV 642 kb)

Supplementary Movie 2

Maleimide-bearing NPs are not internalized after cell surface conjugation. CD8+ T cells were surface-conjugated with fluorescent DiD-tagged NPs (Fig. 1c). Sequences of single confocal z-sections acquired at 0.4 1m intervals throughout the T cells are here and in Supplementary Movie 1. (MOV 713 kb)

Supplementary Movie 3

Membrane-tethered NPs are retained on the cell surface of tumor homing T lymphocytes. Explanted cross-sectioned EG7-OVA tumors 2 d after T cell injection (Fig 3c). CellTracker green–labeled OT-1 T cells and rhodamine lipid–coated NPs (magenta) were visualized by confocal microscopy. Sequences of single confocal z-sections acquired at 0.4-1m intervals throughout the T cells are shown here and in Supplementary Movie 4. Scale bar, 1.5 1m. (MOV 670 kb)

Supplementary Movie 4

Membrane-tethered NPs are retained on the cell surface of tumor homing T lymphocytes. Explanted cross-sectioned EG7-OVA tumors 2 d after T cell injection (Fig 3c). CellTracker green–labeled OT-1 T cells and rhodamine lipid–coated NPs (magenta) were visualized by confocal microscopy. Sequences of single confocal z-sections acquired at 0.4-1m intervals throughout the T cells are shown here and in Supplementary Movie 3. Scale bar, 1.5 1m. (MOV 1140 kb)

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