Lehigh University, USA
Sourav Sarkar has completed his PhD from University of Toledo (research advisor: Prof. Steven J Sucheck) and postdoctoral studies from Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia (Prof. Geert-Jan Boons). Presently he is working as a Research Scientist III in the Department of Chemistry at Lehigh University. He has published numerous papers in reputed journals and is an inventor of the patent “Xeno-antigenic anti-tumor vaccines”. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and has served as a peer reviewer for Elsevier, Royal Society of Chemistry, Springer etc. journals.
MUC1 variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) conjugated to tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs) have been shown to break self-tolerance in humanized MUC1 transgenic mice. Therefore, we hypothesized that a MUC1 VNTR TACA-conjugate can be successfully formulated into a liposome-based anti-cancer vaccine. The immunogenicity of the vaccine should be further augmented by incorporating surface displayed L-rhamnose (Rha) epitopes onto the liposomes to take advantage of a natural antibody-dependent antigen uptake mechanism. To validate our hypothesis we synthesized a 20-amino acid MUC1 glycopeptide containing a GalNAc-O-Thr (Tn) TACA by SPPS and conjugated it to a functionalized Toll-like receptor ligand (TLRL). An L-Rha-cholesterol conjugate was prepared using tetraethylene glycol (TEG) as a linker. The liposome-based anti-cancer vaccine was formulated by the extrusion method using TLRL-MUC1-Tn conjugate, Rha-TEG-cholesterol and 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) in a total lipid concentration of 30 mM. Groups of female BALB/c mice were immunized and boosted with a rhamnose-Ficoll (Rha-Ficoll) conjugate formulated with alum as adjuvant to generate the appropriate concentration of anti-Rha antibodies in the mice. The mice were then immunized with the TLRL-MUC1-Tn liposomal vaccine formulated either with or without the surface displaying Rha epitopes. Sera collected from the groups of mice initially immunized with Rha-Ficoll and later vaccinated with the Rha-displaying TLRL-MUC1-Tn liposomes showed a >8-fold increase in both anti-MUC1-Tn and anti-Tn antibody titers in comparison to the groups of mice that did not receive Rha-Ficoll. The anti-MUC1-Tn antibodies in the vaccinated mice serum also recognized MUC1 on human leukemia U266 cells.
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