Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Multiomic analysis for optimization of combined focal and immunotherapy protocols in murine pancreatic cancer. Theranostics Wang, J., Fite, B. Z., Kare, A. J., Wu, B., Raie, M., Tumbale, S. K., Zhang, N., Davis, R. R., Tepper, C. G., Aviran, S., Newman, A. M., King, D. A., Ferrara, K. W. 2022; 12 (18): 7884-7902


    Background: Although combination immunotherapies incorporating local and systemic components have shown promising results in treating solid tumors, varied tumor microenvironments (TMEs) can impact immunotherapeutic efficacy. Method: We designed and evaluated treatment strategies for breast and pancreatic cancer combining magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) ablation and antibody therapies. With a combination of single-cell sequencing, spectral flow cytometry, and histological analyses, we profiled an immune-suppressed KPC (Kras+/LSL-G12D; Trp53+/LSL-R172H; Pdx1-Cre) pancreatic adenocarcinoma (MT4) model and a dense epithelial neu deletion (NDL) HER2+ mammary adenocarcinoma model with a greater fraction of lymphocytes, natural killer cells and activated dendritic cells. We then performed gene ontology analysis, spectral and digital cytometry to assess the immune response to combination immunotherapies and correlation with survival studies. Result: Based on gene ontology analysis, adding ablation to immunotherapy enriched immune cell migration pathways in the pancreatic cancer model and extensively enriched wound healing pathways in the breast cancer model. With CIBERSORTx digital cytometry, aCD40 + aPD-1 immunotherapy combinations enhanced dendritic cell activation in both models. In the MT4 TME, adding the combination of aCD40 antibody and checkpoint inhibitors (aPD-1 and aCTLA-4) with ablation was synergistic, increasing activated natural killer cells and T cells in distant tumors. Furthermore, ablation with immunotherapy upregulated critical Ly6c myeloid remodeling phenotypes that enhance T-cell effector function and increased granzyme and protease encoding genes by as much as 100-fold. Ablation combined with immunotherapy then extended survival in the MT4 model to a greater extent than immunotherapy alone. Conclusion: In summary, TME profiling informed a successful multicomponent treatment protocol incorporating ablation and facilitated differentiation of TMEs in which ablation is most effective.

    View details for DOI 10.7150/thno.73218

    View details for PubMedID 36451859

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9706583

  • Multimodal imaging of capsid and cargo reveals differential brain targeting and liver detargeting of systemically-administered AAVs. Biomaterials Seo, J. W., Ajenjo, J., Wu, B., Robinson, E., Raie, M. N., Wang, J., Tumbale, S. K., Buccino, P., Anders, D. A., Shen, B., Habte, F. G., Beinat, C., James, M. L., Reyes, S. T., Ravindra Kumar, S., Miles, T. F., Lee, J. T., Gradinaru, V., Ferrara, K. W. 2022: 121701


    The development of gene delivery vehicles with high organ specificity when administered systemically is a critical goal for gene therapy. We combine optical and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of 1) reporter genes and 2) capsid tags to assess the temporal and spatial distribution and transduction of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs). AAV9 and two engineered AAV vectors (PHP.eB and CAP-B10) that are noteworthy for maximizing blood-brain barrier transport were compared. CAP-B10 shares a modification in the 588 loop with PHP.eB, but also has a modification in the 455 loop, added with the goal of reducing off-target transduction. PET and optical imaging revealed that the additional modifications retained brain receptor affinity. In the liver, the accumulation of AAV9 and the engineered AAV capsids was similar (15% of the injected dose per cc and not significantly different between capsids at 21h). However, the engineered capsids were primarily internalized by Kupffer cells rather than hepatocytes, and liver transduction was greatly reduced. PET reporter gene imaging after engineered AAV systemic injection provided a non-invasive method to monitor AAV-mediated protein expression over time. Through comparison with capsid tagging, differences between brain localization and transduction were revealed. In summary, AAV capsids bearing imaging tags and reporter gene payloads create a unique and powerful platform to assay the pharmacokinetics, cellular specificity and protein expression kinetics of AAV vectors in vivo, a key enabler for the field of gene therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121701

    View details for PubMedID 35985893

  • A Review of Imaging Methods to Assess Ultrasound-Mediated Ablation BMEF: A Science Partner Journal Fite, B. Z., Wang, J., Ghanouni, P., Ferrara, K. W. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.34133/2022/9758652

  • Optimization of microbubble-based DNA vaccination with low-frequency ultrasound for enhanced cancer immunotherapy. Advanced therapeutics Zhang, N., Foiret, J., Kheirolomoom, A., Liu, P., Feng, Y., Tumbale, S., Raie, M., Wu, B., Wang, J., Fite, B. Z., Dai, Z., Ferrara, K. W. 2021; 4 (9)


    Immunotherapy is an important cancer treatment strategy; nevertheless, the lack of robust immune cell infiltration in the tumor microenvironment remains a factor in limiting patient response rates. In vivo gene delivery protocols can amplify immune responses and sensitize tumors to immunotherapies, yet non-viral transfection methods often sacrifice transduction efficiency for improved safety tolerance. To improve transduction efficiency, we optimized a strategy employing low ultrasound transmission frequency-induced bubble oscillation to introduce plasmids into tumor cells. Differential centrifugation isolated size-specific microbubbles. The diameter of the small microbubble population was 1.27 ± 0.89 μm and that of larger population was 4.23 ± 2.27 μm. Upon in vitro insonation with the larger microbubble population, 29.7% of cancer cells were transfected with DNA plasmids, higher than that with smaller microbubbles (18.9%, P <0.05) or positive control treatments with a commercial transfection reagent (12%, P < 0.01). After 48 h, gene expression increased more than two-fold in tumors treated with large, as compared with small, microbubbles. Furthermore, the immune response, including tumor infiltration of CD8+ T cells and F4/80+ macrophages, was enhanced. We believe that this safe and efficacious method can improve preclinical procedures and outcomes for DNA vaccines in cancer immunotherapy in the future.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adtp.202100033

    View details for PubMedID 34632048

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8494128

  • Synergies between therapeutic ultrasound, gene therapy and immunotherapy in cancer treatment. Advanced drug delivery reviews Zhang, N., Wang, J., Foiret, J., Dai, Z., Ferrara, K. W. 2021: 113906


    Due to the ease of use and excellent safety profile, ultrasound is a promising technique for both diagnosis and site-specific therapy. Ultrasound-based techniques have been developed to enhance the pharmacokinetics and efficacy of therapeutic agents in cancer treatment. In particular, transfection with exogenous nucleic acids has the potential to stimulate an immune response in the tumor microenvironment. Ultrasound-mediated gene transfection is a growing field, and recent work has incorporated this technique into cancer immunotherapy. Compared with other gene transfection methods, ultrasound-mediated gene transfection has a unique opportunity to augment the intracellular uptake of nucleic acids while safely and stably modulating the expression of immunostimulatory cytokines. The development and commercialization of therapeutic ultrasound systems further enhance the potential translation. In this Review, we introduce the underlying mechanisms and ongoing preclinical studies of ultrasound-based techniques in gene transfection for cancer immunotherapy. Furthermore, we expand on aspects of therapeutic ultrasound that impact gene therapy and immunotherapy, including tumor debulking, enhancing cytokines and chemokines and altering nanoparticle pharmacokinetics as these effects of ultrasound cannot be fully dissected from targeted gene therapy. We finally explore the outlook for this rapidly developing field.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.addr.2021.113906

    View details for PubMedID 34333075

  • Optimization of Microbubble-Based DNA Vaccination with Low-Frequency Ultrasound for Enhanced Cancer Immunotherapy ADVANCED THERAPEUTICS Zhang, N., Foiret, J., Kheirolomoom, A., Liu, P., Feng, Y., Tumbale, S., Raie, M., Wu, B., Wang, J., Fite, B. Z., Dai, Z., Ferrara, K. W. 2021
  • In situ T-cell transfection by anti-CD3-conjugated lipid nanoparticles leads to T-cell activation, migration, and phenotypic shift. Biomaterials Kheirolomoom, A., Kare, A. J., Ingham, E. S., Paulmurugan, R., Robinson, E. R., Baikoghli, M., Inayathullah, M., Seo, J. W., Wang, J., Fite, B. Z., Wu, B., Tumbale, S. K., Raie, M. N., Cheng, R. H., Nichols, L., Borowsky, A. D., Ferrara, K. W. 2021; 281: 121339


    Ex vivo programming of T cells can be efficacious but is complex and expensive; therefore, the development of methods to transfect T cells in situ is important. We developed and optimized anti-CD3-targeted lipid nanoparticles (aCD3-LNPs) to deliver tightly packed, reporter gene mRNA specifically to T cells. In vitro, targeted LNPs efficiently delivered mCherry mRNA to Jurkat T cells, and T-cell activation and depletion were associated with aCD3 antibody coating on the surface of LNPs. aCD3-LNPs, but not non-targeted LNPs, accumulated within the spleen following systemic injection, with mCherry and Fluc signals visible within 30 min after injection. At 24 h after aCD3-LNP injection, 2-4% of all splenic T cells and 2-7% of all circulating T cells expressed mCherry, and this was dependent on aCD3 coating density. Targeting and transfection were accompanied by systemic CD25+, OX40+, and CD69+ T-cell activation with temporary CD3e ligand loss and depletion of splenic and circulating subsets. Migration of splenic CD8a+ T cells from the white-pulp to red-pulp, and differentiation from naïve to memory and effector phenotypes, followed upon aCD3-LNP delivery. Additionally, aCD3-LNP injection stimulated the secretion of myeloid-derived chemokines and T-helper cytokines into plasma. Lastly, we administered aCD3-LNPs to tumor bearing mice and found that transfected T cells localized within tumors and tumor-draining lymph nodes following immunotherapy treatment. In summary, we show that CD3-targeted transfection is feasible, yet associated with complex immunological consequences that must be further studied for potential therapeutic applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.121339

    View details for PubMedID 35078042