Mainz, April – Mustafa Diken, PhD, presented on this year’s AACR conference 2017 our recent work on nanoparticles and RNA vaccine for cancer therapy. Immunotherapy has evolved as a promising alternative to conventional treatments against cancer. Thanks to its unique characteristics, mRNA can act not only as a source for antigen but also as an adjuvant for stimulating the immune system. Vaccination with tumor antigen-coding RNA has been shown to efficiently induce T cell responses and anti-tumor immunity in preclinical models and RNA-based vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials with promising results.
Together with colleagues we have recently developed a novel class of systemically administered nanoparticulate RNA vaccines (RNA-LPX) acting by body-wide delivery of encoded antigens to APCs and simultaneous initiation of a strong type I IFN-driven immunostimulatory program. The RNA-to-lipid ratio was discovered to rule the biodistribution of RNA-LPX, irrespective of the types of lipids used, and a slightly negative particle net charge was enabling APC-specific internalization of RNA-LPX. RNA-LPX vaccines mimic the infectious non-self and thus mobilize both adaptive and innate immune mechanisms leading to strong effector and memory CD8 and CD4 T cell immunity against viral, mutant neo-antigens as well as self-antigens. These mechanisms were then able to reject progressive tumors in various mouse models of carcinoma. The simple but highly versatile design and production of RNA-LPX propose a universally applicable, first-in-class vaccine platform for cancer immunotherapy.