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Self-Assembling Nanofiber Peptide Vaccine Platform: Design, Immunogenicity & Cancer Vaccine Therapy

Friday, January 21, 2022

10:00 AM-11:30 AM

BIOMED Special Seminar

Self-Assembling Nanofiber Peptide Vaccine Platform: Design, Immunogenicity, and Cancer Vaccine Therapy

Yaoying Wu, PhD
Research Scientist
Collier Laboratory Group
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University

Subunit vaccines hold substantial promise in the prevention and treatment of human diseases. However, peptide vaccines inducing antibodies against tumor-specific antigens have yet to be clinically successful. To tackle this challenge, I designed a supramolecular peptide nanofiber vaccine system capable of producing robust antibody and T cell responses without supplemental adjuvants. Here, I employ this supramolecular approach to design epitope-specific vaccines raising simultaneous B-cell, CD8+ T-cell, and CD4+ T-cell responses against combinations of selected epitopes and show that the concurrent induction of these responses generates strong antitumor effects in mice, with significant improvements over antibody or CD8+ T cell-based vaccines alone.

In both prophylactic and therapeutic subcutaneous melanoma models, supramolecular peptide nanofibers combining tumor-specific B-cell epitopes, CD8+ T cell epitopes, and CD4+ T cell epitopes generated efficacious responses. Furthermore, addition of immune checkpoint and phagocytosis checkpoint blockade antibodies potentiated direct T-cell killing, tumoricidal antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP), further improving the therapeutic effect of the nanofiber vaccines. These findings highlight the potential clinical benefit of vaccine-induced antibody responses for tumor treatments, provided that they are accompanied by simultaneous CD8+ and CD4+ responses, and they illustrate a multi-epitope cancer vaccine design approach using supramolecular nanomaterials.

Yaoying Wu, PhD, is a Research Scientist in the lab of Dr. Joel Collier, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Dr. Wu obtained his BE in Materials Science and Engineering from Tianjin University and his PhD in Chemistry from University of Minnesota in 2014. During his doctoral research, he designed cationic glycopolymers to engage glycoreceptors for efficient nucleic acid delivery. Seeking to understand the immunological aspects of biomaterials, Dr. Wu joined Dr. Joel Collier’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow and focused on designing self-assembled vaccines and investigating the immunogenicity of peptide assemblies.

Dr. Wu's recent work leveraged a supramolecular peptide nanofiber vaccine to generate simultaneous antibody and T cell responses against tumor-specific antigens. This strategy harnesses the therapeutic potential of innate immunity with vaccine-induced antibodies for cancer treatments. As an awardee of the Duke Incubation Fund, he is currently designing a cytokine delivery platform for T cell modulation. Dr. Wu is particularly interested in developing biomaterial-based strategies to modulate humoral immunity as therapeutics for cancer and infectious diseases.

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