The aim of the current study was to develop a cancer vaccine formulation for treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced malignancies. Synthetic long peptides (SLPs) derived from HPV16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins have been used for therapeutic vaccination in clinical trials with promising results. In preclinical and clinical studies adjuvants based on mineral oils (such as incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA) and Montanide) are used to create a sustained release depot at the injection site. While the depot effect of mineral oils is important for induction of robust immune responses, their administration is accompanied with severe adverse and long lasting side effects. In order to develop an alternative for IFA family of adjuvants, polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) based on hydrophilic polyester (poly(d,l lactic-co-hydroxymethyl glycolic acid) (pLHMGA)) were prepared. These NPs were loaded with a synthetic long peptide (SLP) derived from HPV16 E7 oncoprotein and a toll like receptor 3 (TLR3) ligand (poly IC) by double emulsion solvent evaporation technique. The therapeutic efficacy of the nanoparticulate formulations was compared to that of HPV SLP+poly IC formulated in IFA. Encapsulation of HPV SLP antigen in NPs substantially enhanced the population of HPV-specific CD8+ T cells when combined with poly IC either co-encapsulated with the antigen or in its soluble form. The therapeutic efficacy of NPs containing poly IC in tumor eradication was equivalent to that of the IFA formulation. Importantly, administration of pLHMGA nanoparticles was not associated with adverse effects and therefore these biodegradable nanoparticles are excellent substitutes for IFA in cancer vaccines.
Keywords: Human papillomavirus (HPV); Incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA); Nanoparticles; Poly IC; Synthetic long peptide (SLP); TLR3 ligand; Therapeutic cancer vaccine; pLHMGA.
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