CD133 mRNA-transfected dendritic cells induce coordinated cytotoxic and helper T cell responses against breast cancer stem cells

PMID: 34485687
Journal: Molecular therapy oncolytics (volume: 22, issue: , Mol Ther Oncolytics 2021 Sep;22:64-71)
Published: 2021-05-19

Tay ASS, Amano T, Edwards LA, Yu JS


Breast cancer, a leading cause of death yearly, has been shown to be initiated and propagated by cancer stem cells. CD133, a cell surface antigen, has been shown to be present on cancer stem cells of many solid tumors, including breast cancer. A limitation to targeting CD133 is major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted presentation of epitopes, leading to activation of only one arm of the immune system: either CD4+ helper T cells or CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. Thus, we hypothesized that by creating an MHC-independent vaccination, we would give rise to a sustained immune response against CD133 in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBCs). We transfected CD133 mRNA into dendritic cells and then tested this in animal models of TNBC. We showed in these models the activation of both CD8+ cytotoxic T cells and CD4+ helper T cells by dendritic cell vaccination with modified CD133 mRNA, with subsequent decrease in tumor growth. This study for the first time demonstrates in a syngeneic mouse model of TNBC that targeting CD133, in an MHC-independent manner, is an effective strategy against the cancer stem cell population, leading to tumor abrogation.