Engineered Bacteria Enhance Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy through Stromal Remodeling of Tumors

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Advanced Healthcare Materials


Desmoplastic solid tumors are characterized by the rapid build-up of extracellular matrix (ECM) macromolecules, such as hyaluronic acid (HA). The resulting physiological barrier prevents the infiltration of immune cells and also impedes the delivery of anticancer agents. The development of a hypervesiculating Escherichia coli Nissle (ΔECHy) based tumor targeting bacterial system capable of distributing a fusion peptide, cytolysin A (ClyA)-hyaluronidase (Hy) via outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) is reported. The capability of targeting hypoxic tumors, manufacturing recombinant proteins in situ and the added advantage of an on-site OMV based distribution system makes the engineered bacterial vector a unique candidate for peptide delivery. The HA degrading potential of Hy for stromal modulation is combined with the cytolytic activity of ClyA followed by testing it within syngeneic cancer models. ΔECHy is combined with immune checkpoint antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) to demonstrate that remodeling the tumor stroma results in the improvement of immunotherapy outcomes and enhancing the efficacy of biological signaling inhibitors. The biocompatibility of ΔECHy is also investigated to show that the engineered bacteria are effectively cleared, elicit minimal inflammatory and immune responses, and therefore could be a reliable candidate as a live biotherapeutic.



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