T-cells are a type of lymphocyte (a subtype of white blood cells) that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. Currently, adoptive T-cell immunotherapy is being developed to destroy cancer cells. In this therapy, T-cells are harvested from a patient’s blood. After several weeks of growth in culture, tumor-specific T-cells can be reinfused into the same cancer patient. This technique has proved highly efficient in cancer treatment. However, there are several biological processes that can suppress the anti-cancer responses of T-cells, leading to a loss of their functionality and a reduction of their viability. Therefore, strategies are needed to improve T-cell survival and their functions. Here, a small interfering RNA (siRNA)-loaded nanocarrier was used to knockdown PD-L1, one of the most important proteins causing a loss in the functionality of T-cells. The biocompatibility and the cellular uptake of siRNA-loaded silica nanocapsules (SiNCs) were investigated in CD8+
T-cells. Then, the PD-L1 expression at protein and at mRNA levels of the treated cells were evaluated. Furthermore, the effect of the PD-L1 knockdown was observed in terms of cell proliferation and the expression of specific biomarkers CD25, CD69 and CD71, which are indicators of T-cell functions. The results suggest that this siRNA-loaded nanocarrier showed a significant potential in the delivery of siRNA into T-cells. This in turn resulted in enhanced T-cell survival by decreasing the expression of the inhibitory protein PD-L1. Such nanocarriers could, therefore, be applied in adoptive T-cell immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer.
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