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Interleukin-2/liposomes Potentiate Immune Responses To A Soluble Protein Cancer Vaccine In Mice

Dean Johnston, S. R. Reynolds, J. Bystryn
Published 2005 · Biology, Medicine

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A critical element in improving the potency of cancer vaccines, especially pure protein or peptide antigens, is to develop procedures that can strongly but safely increase their ability to induce immune responses. Here, we describe that encapsulation of a pure protein antigen and interleukin-2 (IL-2) together into liposomes significantly improves immune responses and tumor protection. Groups of C57Bl/6 mice were immunized weekly ×4 with –0.1 mg of ovalbumin (OVA) injected subcutaneously in PBS or encapsulated in liposomes with or without human recombinant IL-2. Control groups included mice immunized to irradiated E.G7-OVA cells (that express ovalbumin), or to PBS. Sera were collected and pooled by immunization group at baseline and at weeks 2 and 4 to measure antibody responses to OVA by ELISA. Splenocytes obtained at week 4 were tested for anti-OVA cellular responses by ELISPOT. Mice were then challenged to a lethal dose of E.G7-OVA cells to measure tumor-protective immunity. IL-2 liposomes caused no detectable toxicity. Antibody, CD8+ T cell, and tumor-protective immune responses were markedly enhanced in mice immunized to OVA + IL-2 in liposomes compared to mice immunized to OVA, either alone or encapsulated into liposomes without IL-2. These results indicate that IL-2 liposomes enhance antibody, cellular, and tumor-protective immune responses to immunization with a soluble protein. This may provide a simple, safe, and effective way to enhance the immunogenicity of vaccines that consist of pure protein antigens.
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