The main goal of this proposal is to develop biomaterial-based technologies that can modulate the functions of DCs and T-cells in the draining lymph nodes in the presence of systemically delivered metabolic inhibitors. The hypothesis of this proposal is that polymeric biomaterials-based particles generated from central-carbon metabolites (targeting DCs via phagocytosis) can restart glycolysis/TCA cycle in DCs in the presence of metabolic inhibitors and will also induce robust vaccine responses in immunocompetent mice. Notably, we have generated polymers of central-carbon metabolites from glycolysis and TCA cycle, which were able to activate DCs even in the presence of metabolic inhibitors. Moreover, these particles were able to rescue the metabolic inhibition, as observed by up-regulated extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) and oxygen consumption rate (OCR) in bone marrow derived DCs. In vivo PEGS particle formulations delivering TRP-2 peptide (without any adjuvant), were able to prevent the growth of subcutaneous B16F10 tumors in the presence of CB-839 a glutaminase inhibitor. Similarly, F16BP vaccine particles delivering TRP2 peptide antigen along with poly(I:C) as adjuvant and PFK15, a glycolytic inhibitor, were able to reverse the growth of subcutaneous YUMM1.1 tumors. The hypothesis of this proposal will be tested using the following specific aims:
Aim 1 : Evaluate if F16BP particles induce antigen-specific long-term memory T cell responses in immunocompetent mice in the presence of glycolytic inhibitor PFK15.
Aim 2 : Determine if PEGS particles can induce antigen-specific long-term T cell responses in immunocompetent mice in the presence of glutaminase inhibitor CB-839.
Aim 3 : Determine toxicity profile and maximum tolerable doses of vaccines. The results obtained from these experiments will shed light on the effect of metabolic reprogramming on the efficacy of vaccine therapy.
The proposed research is relevant to public health because it develops technologies to reprogram metabolism of immune cells, and develop immunotherapies using these technologies in combination with metabolic inhibitors. This project is relevant to the NIH's mission because it will provide mechanistic understanding of the role of metabolism in development/progression of melanoma, and the effect of reprograming of energy metabolic pathways used by the cancer and immune cells for tumor treatment.