Combining Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors and Kinase-Inhibiting Supramolecular Therapeutics for Enhanced Anticancer Efficacy

ACS Nano. 2016 Oct 25;10(10):9227-9242. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.6b01600. Epub 2016 Sep 29.


A major limitation of immune checkpoint inhibitors is that only a small subset of patients achieve durable clinical responses. This necessitates the development of combinatorial regimens with immunotherapy. However, some combinations, such as MEK- or PI3K-inhibitors with a PD1-PDL1 checkpoint inhibitor, are pharmacologically challenging to implement. We rationalized that such combinations can be enabled using nanoscale supramolecular targeted therapeutics, which spatially home into tumors and exert temporally sustained inhibition of the target. Here we describe two case studies where nanoscale MEK- and PI3K-targeting supramolecular therapeutics were engineered using a quantum mechanical all-atomistic simulation-based approach. The combinations of nanoscale MEK- and PI3K-targeting supramolecular therapeutics with checkpoint PDL1 and PD1 inhibitors exert enhanced antitumor outcome in melanoma and breast cancers in vivo, respectively. Additionally, the temporal sequence of administration impacts the outcome. The combination of supramolecular therapeutics and immunotherapy could emerge as a paradigm shift in the treatment of cancer.

Keywords: cancer; immune checkpoint inhibitors; supramolecular therapeutics; targeted therapy.