Background Successful clinical translation of mRNA therapeutics requires an appropriate delivery strategy to overcome instability of mRNA and facilitate cellular uptake into the cells.1 Several lipid based nanoparticle approaches that encapsulate mRNA, notably lipid nanoparticle (LNP), have been developed, but their efficiency for delivery to certain target tissues and toxicity profiles still have room for improvement. The application of a novel polymer based nanoparticle technology platform, so called Stability Enhanced Nano Shells (SENS) for mRNA (mSENS) as a mRNA delivery platform for a cancer vaccine was demonstrated.
Methods The physicochemical properties of mSENS formulation, particle size and encapsulation efficiency, were characterized using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and gel retardation assay. Using luciferase-encoding mRNA, the protein expression levels in vitro and in vivo were evaluated by luciferase assay or bioluminescence imaging (BLI), respectively. For cancer vaccine studies, antigen (tyrosinase-related protein 2 (Trp-2))-specific T cell responses were assessed by immunophenotyping mouse splenocytes using flow cytometry and by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay. The anti-tumor efficacy was studied in B16F10 lung tumor model in C57BL/6 mice. Liver and systemic toxicity of mSENS treated mice was evaluated through blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC) tests.
Results A library of mSENS formulations complexed with luciferase-encoding mRNA, were characterized for their particle size, surface charge, encapsulation efficiency, colloidal stability, and in vitro and in vivo luciferase protein expression level. Upon systemic administration in mice, varying biodistribution profiles were observed, implicating the potential for tailored delivery to target tissues. Particularly, cancer vaccine application was further developed leveraging the formulation with preferential spleen delivery. Following vaccination with Trp-2 mRNA encapsulated with mSENS (Trp-2 mRNA-mSENS) in B16F10 tumor bearing mice, strong Trp-2 antigen-specific IFN-γ T-cell responses were observed. Generated anti-tumor immunity also marked suppression of B16F10 lung tumors were observed in Trp-2-mSENS immunized mice compared to non-immunized controls, demonstrating the potential of mSENS as a mRNA delivery platform for the application for vaccine.
Conclusions Proprietary biodegradable polymer based-mSENS platform offers an attractive delivery strategy for mRNA by tailoring to specific therapeutic applications. Depending on the application, whether it’s a vaccine or protein replacement, a rationally designed mSENS formulation can efficiently distribute mRNA to specific tissues. In particular, application of a splenic mSENS formulation for a cancer vaccine has been demonstrated in murine tumor model. In summary, mRNA delivery through mSENS platform is expected to provide significant opportunities in clinical development for mRNA therapeutics.
Ethics Approval The study was approved by Samyang Biopharmaceuticals’ IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee), approval number SYAU-2027.
Piotr S. Kowalski, Arnab Rudra, Lei Miao, and Daniel G. Anderson, delivering the messenger: advances in technologies for therapeutic mRNA delivery. Molecular Therapy Vol. 27 No 4 April 2019.
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