Engineered tumor-specific T cells using immunostimulatory photothermal nanoparticles
adoptive cell therapy; ex vivo T cell manufacture; immunotherapy; nanoparticle-mediated photothermal therapy; thermal and immunogenic cell death; tumor-specific T cells
BACKGROUND: Adoptive T cell therapy (ATCT) has been successful in treating hematological malignancies and is currently under investigation for solid-tumor therapy. In contrast to existing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell and/or antigen-specific T cell approaches, which require known targets, and responsive to the need for targeting a broad repertoire of antigens in solid tumors, we describe the first use of immunostimulatory photothermal nanoparticles to generate tumor-specific T cells. METHODS: Specifically, we subject whole tumor cells to Prussian blue nanoparticle-based photothermal therapy (PBNP-PTT) before culturing with dendritic cells (DCs), and subsequent stimulation of T cells. This strategy differs from previous approaches using tumor cell lysates because we use nanoparticles to mediate thermal and immunogenic cell death in tumor cells, rendering them enhanced antigen sources. RESULTS: In proof-of-concept studies using two glioblastoma (GBM) tumor cell lines, we first demonstrated that when PBNP-PTT was administered at a "thermal dose" targeted to induce the immunogenicity of U87 GBM cells, we effectively expanded U87-specific T cells. Further, we found that DCs cultured ex vivo with PBNP-PTT-treated U87 cells enabled 9- to 30-fold expansion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Upon co-culture with target U87 cells, these T cells secreted interferon-ɣ in a tumor-specific and dose-dependent manner (up to 647-fold over controls). Furthermore, T cells manufactured using PBNP-PTT ex vivo expansion elicited specific cytolytic activity against target U87 cells (donor-dependent 32-93% killing at an effector to target cell (E:T) ratio of 20:1) while sparing normal human astrocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the same donors. In contrast, T cells generated using U87 cell lysates expanded only 6- to 24-fold and killed 2- to 3-fold less U87 target cells at matched E:T ratios compared with T cell products expanded using the PBNP-PTT approach. These results were reproducible even when a different GBM cell line (SNB19) was used, wherein the PBNP-PTT-mediated approach resulted in a 7- to 39-fold expansion of T cells, which elicited 25-66% killing of the SNB19 cells at an E:T ratio of 20:1, depending on the donor. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide proof-of-concept data supporting the use of PBNP-PTT to stimulate and expand tumor-specific T cells ex vivo for potential use as an adoptive T cell therapy approach for the treatment of patients with solid tumors.
Sweeney, Elizabeth E.; Sekhri, Palak; Telaraja, Deepti; Chen, Jie; Chin, Samantha J.; Chiappinelli, Katherine B.; Sanchez, Carlos E.; Bollard, Catherine M.; Cruz, C Russell; and Fernandes, Rohan, "Engineered tumor-specific T cells using immunostimulatory photothermal nanoparticles" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 3145.
Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine