Lipid-Based Nanoparticle Combination Immunotherapy With Sitravatinib for the Systemic Treatment of High-Risk Neuroblastoma

Document Type


Publication Title

Cancer Research


We seek to develop a systemic, innate immunomodulatory nanoparticle therapy that combines synergistically with sitravatinib for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma, where metastasis is the largest hurdle for current treatment modalities. Here, we utilize a unique lipid-based nanoparticle (LNP) system comprised of co-encapsulated agonists of the Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) and Toll-like Receptor 4 (TLR4) pathways (immuno-NPs) that can be safely administered in the systemic blood circulation for delivery to the tumor microenvironment (TME) and uptake by perivascular innate antigen-presenting cells (APCs). STING/TLR4 agonists together promote the synergistic production of Type I interferon β (IFNβ), a key activator of anti-tumor immunity from the TME itself. Here, we also focus on sitravatinib, an investigational drug shown to inhibit receptor tyrosine kinases such as discoidin domain receptor 2 (DDR2), which can inhibit the sustained remodeling of collagen around primary tumors. The inhibition of such is vital to treatment as sustained collagen remodeling can facilitate the metastasis of cancer cells via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We hypothesize that the downstream effects of sitravatinib treatment will augment tumor clearance and increase the therapeutic efficacy of immuno-NPs with respect to recruiting APCs. Our early pilot studies in humanized mice bearing orthotopic SH-5YSY tumors show that immuno-NPs are effective at tumor clearance. We found that mice inoculated subcutaneously with syngeneic 9464D-GD2 tumors showed decreased tumor growth when treated with our novel combination therapy in comparison to monotherapy controls. In both humanized and syngeneic tumor models, our ongoing mechanistic studies involve quantification of EMT in primary tumors, systemic nanoparticle deposition at metastatic sites, and the mechanistic impact of combination therapy on IFNβ-promoted elimination of metastasis. Here, we have proposed and tested an immunotherapy with great promise for treating neuroblastoma. However, the impact of nanoparticle-based immunotherapy reaches far beyond neuroblastoma: it has the potential to be a platform for the development of immunotherapies specific to other highly metastatic cancer types.



Publication Date