Multiple Antigen-targeted Immunotherapy With α-Galactosylceramide–loaded and Genetically Engineered Dendritic Cells Derived From Embryonic Stem Cells

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Numerous tumor-associated antigens (TAA) have been identified and their use in immunotherapy is considered to be promising. For TAA-based immunotherapy to be broadly applied as standard anticancer medicine, methods for active immunization should be improved. In the present study, we demonstrated the efficacy of multiple TAA-targeted dendritic cell (DC) vaccines and also the additive effects of loading α-galactosylceramide to DC using mouse melanoma models. On the basis of previously established methods to generate DC from mouse embryonic stem cells (ES-DC), 4 kinds of genetically modified ES-DC, which expressed the melanoma-associated antigens, glypican-3, secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine, tyrosinase-related protein-2, or gp100 were generated. Anticancer effects elicited by immunization with the ES-DC were assessed in preventive and also therapeutic settings in the models of peritoneal dissemination and spontaneous metastasis to lymph node and lung. The in vivo transfer of a mixture of 3 kinds of TAA-expressing ES-DC protected the recipient mice from melanoma cells more effectively than the transfer of ES-DC expressing single TAA, thus demonstrating the advantage of multiple as compared with single TAA-targeted immunotherapy. Loading ES-DC with α-galactosylceramide further enhanced the anticancer effects, suggesting that excellent synergic effects of TAA-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer T cells against metastatic melanoma can be achieved by using genetically modified ES-DC. With the aid of advancing technologies related to pluripotent stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and ES cells, clinical application of DC highly potent in eliciting anticancer immunity will be realized in the near future.

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