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External cold atmospheric plasma-responsive on-site hydrogel for remodeling tumor immune microenvironment
Junho Byun, Yina Wu, Jaiwoo Lee, Jung Suk Kim, Gayong Shim (*co-coressponding), Yu-Kyoung Oh
in press
Although immunotherapy has recently emerged as a promising anti-tumor approach, it remains limited by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Cold atmospheric plasma irradiation can generate reactive oxygen species and trigger the presentation of tumor-associated antigens. Here, we exploited cold atmospheric plasma for on-site hydrogel application in the tumor environment, aiming to facilitate the sustainable uptake of tumor-associated antigens and nanoadjuvants by dendritic cells. Hyaluronic acid-tyramine conjugate was intratumorally injected as a liquid and formed an on-site hydrogel under irradiation with cold atmospheric plasma. Intratumoral delivery of hyaluronic acid-tyramine conjugate with transforming growth factor β-blocking nanoadjuvant (TLN) followed by cold atmospheric plasmid irradiation yielded a micro-network of TLN-loaded hydrogel (TLN@CHG). In vivo intratumoral injection of TLN@CHG promoted the activation of dendritic cells and more effectively increased the proportion of CD4 T cells and CD8 T cells in the tumor microenvironment, compared to the groups receiving TLN or hydrogel alone. Moreover, in CT26 tumor model mice, cold atmospheric plasma-induced TLN@CHG therapy ablated the primary tumor and provided 100% survival among mice rechallenged with CT26 cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that an on-site hydrogel-based micro-network of TLN has the potential to remodel the tumor immune microenvironment. Although we used TLN in this study, the concept could be extended to support the sustained action of other nanoadjuvants in a hydrogel micro-network.