Highly potent intradermal vaccination by an array of dissolving microneedle polypeptide cocktails for cancer immunotherapy.


School of Chemical Engineering, Theranostic Macromolecules Research Center, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea. [Email]


Despite recent advances in cancer therapy using vaccines, the efficacy of vaccine regimens remains to be improved. Cutaneous transportation of biomolecules, particularly DNA vaccines, has potentially improved the therapeutic efficacy and has been found to be an appealing approach in cancer immunotherapy. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of transdermal vaccination is limited by the lack of efficacious immune stimulation. Here, to elicit strong immunogenicity in target cells, we propose an array of dissolving microneedle cocktails for pain-free implantation and triggered release of vaccines and adjuvants at cutaneous tissues. The microneedle cocktails comprising a bioresorbable polypeptide matrix with a nanopolyplex, which include cationic amphiphilic conjugates with ovalbumin-expressing plasmid OVA (pOVA) and immunostimulant-polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)), were prepared using a one-pot synthesis. The cationic nanopolyplex effectively transported pOVA and poly(I:C) into the intracellular compartments of dendritic cells and macrophages. Cutaneous implantation of microneedle cocktails on mice elicits a stronger antigen-specific antibody response than subcutaneous administration of the microneedle-free nanopolyplex. Compared with traditional vaccination, the dissolving microneedle cocktails enhanced the antibody recall memory after challenge; remarkably, the cocktail-based therapeutic vaccination also resulted in enhanced lung clearance of cancer cells. The dissolving microneedle cocktail therapy based on the triggered release of immunomodulators and adjuvants synergistically augmented the therapeutic effect in B16/OVA melanoma tumors.

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