Vaccination with mRNAs encoding tumor-associated antigens and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor efficiently primes CTL responses, but is insufficient to overcome tolerance to a model tumor/self antigen.
Immunization of mice with dendritic cells transfected ex vivo with tumor-associated antigen (TAA)-encoding mRNA primes cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) that mediate tumor rejection. Here we investigated whether direct injection of TAA mRNA, encapsulated in cationic liposomes, could function similarly as cancer immunotherapy. Intradermal and intravenous injection of ovalbumin (OVA) mRNA generated specific CTL activity and inhibited the growth of OVA-expressing tumors. Vaccination studies with DNA have demonstrated that co-administration of antigen (Ag)- and cytokine-encoding plasmids potentiate the T cell response; in analogous fashion, the inclusion of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) mRNA enhanced OVA-specific cytotoxicity. The ability of this GM-CSF-augmented mRNA vaccine to treat an established spontaneous tumor was evaluated in the Transgenic Adenocarcinoma of Mouse Prostate (TRAMP) mouse, using the SV40 large T Ag (TAg) as a model tumor/self Ag. Repeated vaccination elicited vigorous TAg-specific CTL activity in nontransgenic mice, but tumor-bearing TRAMP mice remained tolerant. Adoptive transfer of naïve splenocytes into TRAMP mice prior to the first vaccination restored TAg reactivity, and slowed tumor progression. The data from this study suggests that vaccination with TAA mRNA is a simple and effective means of priming antitumor CTL, and that immunogenicity of the vaccine can be augmented by co-delivery of GM-CSF mRNA. Nonetheless, limitations of such vaccines in overcoming tolerance to tumor/self Ag may mandate prior or simultaneous reconstitution of the autoreactive T cell repertoire for this form of immunization to be effective.
Hess, PR; Boczkowski, D; Nair, SK; Snyder, D; Gilboa, E
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