Dr. Timo Schomann
Most recent publications
Enhancing anti-tumor immunity through liposomal oxaliplatin and localized immunotherapy via STING activation
The cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS-STING) pathway is a promising approach for anti-cancer immunotherapy by bridging innate and adaptive immunity. Recent evidence suggests that chemotherapy-induced DNA damage can directly induce dendritic cell (DC) maturation and recruitment, which synergizes with STING activation to enhance anti-tumor effects. As an immunogenic cell death (ICD) inducer, oxaliplatin generates massive double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) crosslinks, release of tumor-associated antigens and promoting the "eat me" signal. STING activation improves antigen immunogenicity, which can promote T cell activation and infiltration. In this study, we developed liposomes encapsulating oxaliplatin and combine this formulation with a STING agonist (ADU-S100) for treating colorectal cancer. The liposomes efficiently inhibited the proliferation of tumor cells while induced ICD in CT26 colorectal cancer cells, which enhanced dendritic cell maturation and phagocytosis in vitro. The liposome-based immunochemotherapy exhibited the strongest efficacy, resulting in complete remission upon tumor inoculation. Mechanistic studies showed this potent anti-cancer effect was related to the significant recruitment of infiltrating CD8 and CD4 T cells, reduction of suppressive Treg cells, and a shift in the phenotype of tumor-associated suppressive macrophages that promote cancer to immune stimulating macrophages. Thus, our study demonstrated the potential of combining oxaliplatin-loaded liposomes with a STING agonist to reduce tumor growth by regulating the immunosuppressive state in the tumor.
Dual-Targeting Nanoliposome Improves Proinflammatory Immunomodulation of the Tumor Microenvironment
Immunotherapies targeting immune checkpoints have revolutionized cancer treatment by normalizing the immunosuppressive microenvironment of tumors and reducing adverse effects on the immune system. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) inhibitors have garnered attention as a promising therapeutic agent for cancer. However, their application alone has shown limited clinical benefits. Cabozantinib, a multitarget tyrosine kinase inhibitor, holds immunomodulatory potential by promoting infiltration and activation of effector cells and inhibiting suppressive immune cells. Despite its potential, cabozantinib as a monotherapy has shown limited efficacy in terms of objective response rate. In this study, IDO-IN-7 and cabozantinib are coencapsulated into liposomes to enhance tumor accumulation and minimize adverse effects. The liposomal combination exhibits potent cytotoxicity and inhibits the function of IDO enzyme. Furthermore, the dual-targeted treatment effectively inhibits tumor development and reverses the suppressive tumor microenvironment by regulating both adaptive and innate branch of immune system. This is evidenced by pronounced infiltration of T cells and B cells, a decrease of regulatory T lymphocytes, a shift to a proinflammatory phenotype of tumor-associated macrophages, and increases levels of neutrophils. This is the first developed of a liposome-delivered combination of IDO inhibitors and cabozantinib, and holds great potential for future clinical application as a promising anticancer strategy.
Preclinical evaluation of EpCAM-binding designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) as targeting moieties for bimodal near-infrared fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging of cancer
Fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) can play a key role in improving radical resection rates by assisting surgeons to gain adequate visualization of malignant tissue intraoperatively. Designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) possess optimal pharmacokinetic and other properties for in vivo imaging. This study aims to evaluate the preclinical potential of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-binding DARPins as targeting moieties for near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging of cancer.
Erythrocyte-cancer hybrid membrane-coated reduction-sensitive nanoparticles for enhancing chemotherapy efficacy in breast cancer
Cell-membrane-coated biomimetic nanoparticles (NPs) have attracted great attention due to their prolonged circulation time, immune escape mechanisms and homotypic targeting properties. Biomimetic nanosystems from different types of cell -membranes (CMs) can perform increasingly complex tasks in dynamic biological environments thanks to specific proteins and other properties inherited from the source cells. Herein, we coated doxorubicin (DOX)-loaded reduction-sensitive chitosan (CS) NPs with 4T1 cancer cell -membranes (CCMs), red blood cell -membranes (RBCMs) and hybrid erythrocyte-cancer membranes (RBC-4T1CMs) to enhance the delivery of DOX to breast cancer cells. The physicochemical properties (size, zeta potential and morphology) of the resulting RBC@DOX/CS-NPs, 4T1@DOX/CS-NPs and RBC-4T1@DOX/CS-NPs, as well as their cytotoxic effect and cellular NP uptake in vitro were thoroughly characterized. The anti-cancer therapeutic efficacy of the NPs was evaluated using the orthotopic 4T1 breast cancer model in vivo. The experimental results showed that DOX/CS-NPs had a DOX-loading capacity of 71.76 ± 0.87 %, and that coating of DOX/CS-NPs with 4T1CM significantly increased the NP uptake and cytotoxic effect in breast cancer cells. Interestingly, by optimizing the ratio of RBCMs:4T1CMs, it was possible to increase the homotypic targeting properties towards breast cancer cells. Moreover, in vivo tumor studies showed that compared to control DOX/CS-NPs and free DOX, both 4T1@DOX/CS-NPs and RBC@DOX/CS-NPs significantly inhibited tumor growth and metastasis. However, the effect of 4T1@DOX/CS-NPs was more prominent. Moreover, CM-coating reduced the uptake of NPs by macrophages and led to rapid clearance from the liver and lungs in vivo, compared to control NPs. Our results suggest that specific self-recognition to source cells resulting in homotypic targeting increased the uptake and the cytotoxic capacity of 4T1@DOX/CS-NPs by breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, tumor-disguised CM-coated DOX/CS-NPs exhibited tumor homotypic targeting and anti-cancer properties, and were superior over targeting with RBC-CM or RBC-4T1 hybrid membranes, suggesting that the presence of 4T1-CM is critical for treatment outcome.
Inhibition of murine colorectal cancer metastasis by targeting M2-TAM through STAT3/NF-kB/AKT signaling using macrophage 1-derived extracellular vesicles loaded with oxaliplatin, retinoic acid, and Libidibia ferrea
Colorectal cancer is still unmanageable despite advances in target therapy. However, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have shown potential in nanomedicine as drug delivery systems, especially for modulating the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). In this study, M1 Macrophage EVs (M1EVs) were used as nanocarriers of oxaliplatin (M1EV1) associated with retinoic acid (M1EV2) and Libidibia ferrea (M1EV3), alone or in combination (M1EV4) to evaluate their antiproliferative and immunomodulatory potential on CT-26 and MC-38 colorectal cancer cell lines and prevent metastasis in mice of allograft and peritoneal colorectal cancer models. Tumors were evaluated by qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. The cell death profile and epithelial-mesenchymal transition process (EMT) were analyzed in vitro in colorectal cancer cell lines. Polarization of murine macrophages (RAW264.7 cells) was also carried out. M1EV2 and M1EV3 used alone or particularly M1EV4 downregulated the tumor progression by TME immunomodulation, leading to a decrease in primary tumor size and metastasis in the peritoneum, liver, and lungs. STAT3, NF-kB, and AKT were the major genes downregulated by of M1EV systems. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) shifted from an M2 phenotype (CD163) to an M1 phenotype (CD68) reducing levels of IL-10, TGF-β and CCL22. Furthermore, malignant cells showed overexpression of FADD, APAF-1, caspase-3, and E-cadherin, and decreased expression of MDR1, survivin, vimentin, and PD-L1 after treatment with systems of M1EVs. The study shows that EVs from M1 antitumor macrophages can transport drugs and enhance their immunomodulatory and antitumor activity by modulating pathways associated with cell proliferation, migration, survival, and drug resistance.