Antigen-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are key elements of immunological rejection in transplantation as well as cancer immunotherapy. Most tumors, however, are not immunologically rejected because they have self antigens, which are not recognized as the foreigner by CTLs. In this study, we hypothesized that "foreignizing" tumor cells by delivering non-self foreign antigens into the tumors would result in rejection by foreign antigen-reactive CTLs. As the model system to foreignize the tumors, we prepared a polymeric conjugate consisting of hyaluronic acid as the CD44+ tumor-targeting ligand and ovalbumin (OVA) as a foreign antigen. When the conjugate was treated with CD44high TC-1 tumor cells, it was effectively taken up and allowed for displaying of antigenic OVA257-264 peptide at MHC class I on the surface of the cells. In addition, the conjugate was effectively accumulated into tumor tissue after its systemic administration to mice which are immunized with a vaccine for a vaccinia virus expressing OVA to generate OVA257-264 specific CTLs, resulting in substantial inhibition of tumor growth. Overall, these results suggest that the polymeric conjugates bearing foreign antigens may be innovative and promising cancer immunotherapeutic agents by foreignizing tumor cells, leading to immunological rejection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science