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Cationic Liposomes Loaded with a Synthetic Long Peptide and Poly(I:C): a Defined Adjuvanted Vaccine for Induction of Antigen-Specific T Cell Cytotoxicity

Abstract

For effective cancer immunotherapy by vaccination, co-delivery of tumour antigens and adjuvants to dendritic cells and subsequent activation of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) is crucial. In this study, a synthetic long peptide (SLP) harbouring the model CTL epitope SIINFEKL was encapsulated with the TLR3 ligand poly(inosinic-polycytidylic acid) (poly(I:C)) in cationic liposomes consisting of DOTAP and DOPC. The obtained particles were down-sized to about 140 nm (measured by dynamic light scattering) and had a positive zeta-potential of about 26 mV (according to laser Doppler electrophoresis). SLP loading efficiency was about 40% as determined by HPLC. Poly(I:C) loading efficiency was about 50%, as assessed from the fluorescence intensity of fluorescently labelled poly(I:C). Immunogenicity of the liposomal SLP vaccine was evaluated in vitro by its capacity to activate dendritic cells (DCs) and present the processed SLP to SIINFEKL-specific T cells. The effectiveness of the vaccine to activate CD8+ T cells was analysed in vivo after intradermal and subcutaneous immunisation in mice, by measuring antigen-specific T cells in blood and spleens and assessing their functionality by cytokine production and in vivo cytotoxicity. The liposomal formulation efficiently delivered the SLP to DCs in vitro and induced a functional CD8+ T cell immune response in vivo to the CTL epitope present in the SLP. The SLP-specific CD8+ T cell frequency induced by the poly(I:C)-adjuvanted liposomal SLP formulation showed an at least 25 fold increase over the T cell frequency induced by the poly(I:C)-adjuvanted soluble SLP. In conclusion, cationic liposomes loaded with SLP and poly(I:C) have potential as a powerful therapeutic cancer vaccine formulation.

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Correspondence to Ferry Ossendorp or Wim Jiskoot.

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Guest Editor: Aliasger Salem

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Varypataki, E.M., van der Maaden, K., Bouwstra, J. et al. Cationic Liposomes Loaded with a Synthetic Long Peptide and Poly(I:C): a Defined Adjuvanted Vaccine for Induction of Antigen-Specific T Cell Cytotoxicity. AAPS J 17, 216–226 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1208/s12248-014-9686-4

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KEY WORDS

  • cancer immunotherapy
  • cationic liposomes
  • CTL epitope
  • peptide antigen
  • Poly(I:C)