Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society

The potential of antigen and TriMix sonoporation using mRNA-loaded microbubbles for ultrasound-triggered cancer immunotherapy.

PMID 25151979


Dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer vaccines, where the patient's own immune system is harnessed to target and destroy tumor tissue, have emerged as a potent therapeutic strategy. In the development of such DC vaccines, it is crucial to load the DCs with tumor antigens, and to simultaneously activate them to become more potent antigen-presenting cells. For this, we report on microbubbles, loaded with both antigen mRNA as well as immunomodulating TriMix mRNA, which can be used for the ultrasound-triggered transfection of DCs. In vivo experiments with in vitro sonoporated DCs show the effective induction of antigen-specific T cells, resulting in specific lysis of antigen-expressing cells. Especially in a therapeutic setting, sonoporation with TriMix has an important added value, resulting in a significant reduction of tumor outgrowth and a marked increase in overall survival. What is more, complete tumor regression was observed in 30% of the antigen+TriMix DC vaccinated animals, which also displayed long-term antigen-specific immunological memory. As a result, DC sonoporation using microbubbles loaded with a combination of antigen and TriMix mRNA can elicit powerful immune responses in vivo, and might serve as a potential tool for further in vivo DC vaccination applications.