Myeloid cells play a key role in tumor progression and metastasis by providing nourishment and immune protection, as well as facilitating cancer invasion and seeding to distal sites. Although advances have been made in understanding the biology of these tumor-educated myeloid cells (TEMCs), their intrinsic plasticity challenges our further understanding of their biology. Indeed, in vitro experiments only mimic the in vivo setting, and current gene-knockout technologies do not allow the simultaneous, temporally controlled, and cell-specific silencing of multiple genes or pathways. In this article, we describe the 4PD nanoplatform, which allows the in vivo preferential transfection and in vivo tracking of TEMCs with the desired RNAs. This platform is based on the conjugation of CD124/IL-4Ra-targeting peptide with G5 PAMAM dendrimers as the loading surface and can convey therapeutic or experimental RNAs of interest. When injected i.v. in mice bearing CT26 colon carcinoma or B16 melanoma, the 4PD nanoparticles predominantly accumulate at the tumor site, transfecting intratumoral myeloid cells. The use of 4PD to deliver a combination of STAT3- and C/EBPb-specific short hairpin RNA or miR-142-3p confirmed the importance of these genes and microRNAs in TEMC biology and indicates that silencing of both genes is necessary to increase the efficacy of immune interventions. Thus, the 4PD nanoparticle can rapidly and cost effectively modulate and assess the in vivo function of microRNAs and mRNAs in TEMCs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas