mRNA-encoding Cytokines Promote Antitumor Immunity and Tumor Eradication

In a recently published preclinical study, scientists from TRON, BioNtech (Germany) and Sanofi (US) share the results of intratumoral administration of mRNAs encoding four cytokines.
Cytokines are strong modulators of the immune system and can directly induce tumor cell death, reduce blood vessels in tumors and thus limit supplies of the tumor, or lead to activation of specific immune cells and thus promoting anti tumor responses. The scientists were able to show that mRNA encoded cytokines induced potent T cell responses and protective immune memory against different tumor models. The team also noted strong antitumor response in untreated lesions and inhibited growth in distant or disseminated tumors. Combining the mRNAs with immunomodulatory antibodies enhanced antitumor responses and improved survival and tumor regression.
The success of these preclinical studies has already initiated a clinical study (NCT03871348).

Read more details in the original publication.

The Image is part of the online cover of Science Translational Medicine, vol. 13, issue 610. It shows CD8 T cells (green), CD4 T cells (red), and regulatory T cells (yellow) in a murine melanoma tumor after intratumoral treatment with cytokine-encoding mRNAs. Nuclei are shown in blue.

Image Credits: Hotz et al./Science Translational Medicine