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M2-Like Tumor-Associated Macrophage-Targeted Codelivery of STAT6 Inhibitor and IKKβ siRNA Induces M2-to-M1 Repolarization for Cancer Immunotherapy with Low Immune Side Effects

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journal contribution
posted on 01.07.2020, 16:37 by Hong Xiao, Yu Guo, Bo Li, Xiaoxia Li, Yong Wang, Shisong Han, Du Cheng, Xintao Shuai
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) usually display the tumor-promoting M2 phenotype rather than the tumoricidal M1 phenotype. Thus, M2-to-M1 repolarization of TAMs has emerged as a promising strategy for tumor immunotherapy nowadays. However, immune side effects remain a great challenge, because phenotypic conversion of macrophages into the proinflammatory M1 phenotype may also be induced in normal tissue. Here, aiming at repolarizing TAMs without altering the M1/M2 polarization balance in healthy organs, we develop a micellar nanodrug with M2-targeting peptides (M2peptide) hidden in the pH-sheddable PEG corona so that an active targeting of M2-like macrophages is triggered only in the acidic tumor microenvironment (TME). The smart nanodrug effectively functions M2-to-M1 repolarization via M2-targeted codelivery of IKKβ siRNA and STAT6 inhibitor AS1517499 (AS), which suppresses the tumor growth and metastasis. Moreover, immune side effects are reduced because the neutral-pH environment in healthy organs does not trigger a “stealth-to-nonstealth” conversion of the nanodrug essential for M2-targeted drug delivery.