Radboudumc researchers publish on the scientific evidence for the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis using immunofilaments in preclinical model systems.
Adoptive T cell therapy has successfully been implemented for the treatment of cancer. Nevertheless, ex vivo expansion of T cells by artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs) remains cumbersome and can compromise T cell functionality, thereby limiting their therapeutic potential. We propose a radically different approach aimed at direct expansion of T cells in vivo, thereby omitting the need for large-scale ex vivo T cell production. We engineered nanosized immunofilaments (IFs), with a soluble semiflexible polyisocyanopeptide backbone that presents peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complexes and costimulatory molecules multivalently. IFs readily activated and expanded antigen-specific T cells like natural APCs, as evidenced by transcriptomic analyses of T cells. Upon intravenous injection, IFs reach the spleen and lymph nodes and induce antigen-specific T cell responses in vivo. Moreover, IFs display strong antitumor efficacy resulting in inhibition of the formation of melanoma metastases and reduction of primary tumor growth in synergy with immune checkpoint blockade. In conclusion, nanosized IFs represent a powerful modular platform for direct activation and expansion of antigen-specific T cells in vivo, which can greatly contribute to cancer immunotherapy.