This work represents a biomaterials-based biomedical engineering research program integrated with immunology directed toward tolerance. Specifically, this project focuses on the engineering of technologies to provide personalized high-throughput screening of immune cell response to microparticle-based vaccines, using a limited number of cells. Microparticle-based vaccine systems can, in vivo, deliver antigen and relevant immuno- modulatory factors to targeted phagocytic cell population, specifically, dendritic cells, a key immune regulator. Typical assessment of a tolerance-inducing vaccine relies on testing one formulation at a time, hoping to uncover a single factor capable of generating long-lived immune tolerance. However, multiple critical signals are likely to combine to promote robust, enduring antigen-specific tolerance. A lack of understanding of the interactions between different immunomodulatory factors, and the lack of an efficient means to test large numbers of combinations of factors represents a significant blockade for the development of new vaccine technologies. In order to overcome this barrier, we are developing a high-throughput cell-based microarray approach for the testing of microparticles incorporating multiple components targeted to dendritic cells, a key antigen presenting cell type. Our preliminary data indicates that the unique high- throughput in vitro platform we are developing is feasible, and that in vitro screening of microparticle formulations can be useful for suggesting in vivo responses to injected microparticles. Our long-term test-bed application is the prevention of type-1 diabetes in a diabetic mouse model by injection of microparticles. We are optimizing multi- component particle formulations to direct DCs toward a tolerogenic phenotype and the induction of regulatory T-cells for antigen-specific immune suppression. Our miniaturized technology requires only small numbers of cells, taking steps toward the development of personalized vaccines.
We are rapidly in vitro assessing and optimizing antigen-delivering, immuno-modulatory microparticles as an injectable microparticle-based vaccine, intended for targeted uptake in vivo by dendritic cells for future studies for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Our in vitro system consists of fabricating cell-based microarrays of immune cells for high-throughput screening of microparticle formulations, and formulations will be assessed for their ability to generate immune cell phenotypes which have been linked to the induction of antigen-specific tolerance. This miniaturized approach uses only a small number of cells, and moves toward the development of personalized vaccines, which may be screened for a patient's specific immune cell response.
|Lewis, Jamal S; Roche, Chris; Zhang, Ying et al. (2014) Combinatorial delivery of immunosuppressive factors to dendritic cells using dual-sized microspheres. J Mater Chem B Mater Biol Med 2:2562-2574|
|Acharya, Abhinav P; Lewis, Jamal S; Keselowsky, Benjamin G (2013) Combinatorial co-encapsulation of hydrophobic molecules in poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microparticles. Biomaterials 34:3422-30|