Macrophage Checkpoint Nanoimmunotherapy Has the Potential to Reduce Malignant Progression in Bioengineered In Vitro Models of Ovarian Cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • Most ovarian carcinoma (OvCa) patients present with advanced disease at the time of diagnosis. Malignant, metastatic OvCa is invasive and has poor prognosis, exposing the need for improved therapeutic targeting. High CD47 (OvCa) and SIRP (macrophage) expression has been linked to decreased survival, making this interaction a significant target for therapeutic discovery. Even so, previous attempts have fallen short, limited by CD47 antibody specificity and efficacy. Macrophages are an important component of the OvCa tumor microenvironment and are manipulated to aid in cancer progression via CD47-SIRP signaling. Thus, we have leveraged lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) to design a therapy uniquely situated to home to phagocytic macrophages expressing the SIRP protein in metastatic OvCa. CD47-SIRP presence was evaluated in patient histological sections using immunohistochemistry. 3D tumor spheroids generated on a hanging drop array with OVCAR3 high-grade serous OvCa and THP-1-derived macrophages created a representative model of cellular interactions involved in metastatic OvCa. Microfluidic techniques were employed to generate LNPs encapsulating SIRP siRNA (siSIRP) to affect the CD47-SIRP signaling between the OvCa and macrophages. siSIRP LNPs were characterized for optimal size, charge, and encapsulation efficiency. Uptake of the siSIRP LNPs by macrophages was assessed by Incucyte. Following 48 h of 25 nM siSIRP treatment, OvCa/macrophage heterospheroids were evaluated for SIRP knockdown, platinum chemoresistance, and invasiveness. OvCa patient tumors and in vitro heterospheroids expressed CD47 and SIRP. Macrophages in OvCa spheroids increased carboplatin resistance and invasion, indicating a more malignant phenotype. We observed successful LNP uptake by macrophages causing significant reduction in SIRP gene and protein expressions and subsequent reversal of pro-tumoral alternative activation. Disrupting CD47-SIRP interactions resulted in sensitizing OvCa/macrophage heterospheroids to platinum chemotherapy and reversal of cellular invasion outside of heterospheroids. Ultimately, our results strongly indicate the potential of using LNP-based nanoimmunotherapy to reduce malignant progression of ovarian cancer.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Bio Mater

altmetric score

  • 6.75

author list (cited authors)

  • VandenHeuvel, S. N., Chau, E., Mohapatra, A., Dabbiru, S., Roy, S., O'Connell, C., ... Raghavan, S. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • VandenHeuvel, Sabrina N||Chau, Eric||Mohapatra, Arpita||Dabbiru, Sameera||Roy, Sanjana||O'Connell, Cailin||Kamat, Aparna||Godin, Biana||Raghavan, Shreya A

publication date

  • April 2024