Microfluidic on-demand engineering of exosomes towards cancer immunotherapy

Extracellular Vesicles (EVs), particularly exosomes (30-150 nm), are an emerging delivery system in mediating cellular communications, which have been observed for priming immune responses by presenting parent cell signaling proteins or tumor antigens to immune cells. Therefore, preparation of antigenic exosomes that can play therapeutic roles, particularly in cancer immunotherapy, is emerging. However, standard benchtop methods (e.g., ultracentrifugation and filtration) lack the ability to purify antigenic exosomes specifically among other microvesicle subtypes, due to the non-selective and time-consuming (>10 h) isolation protocols. Exosome engineering approaches, such as the transfection of parent cells, also suffer from poor yield, low purity, and time-consuming operations. I

University of Kansas engineers introduce a streamlined microfluidic cell culture platform for integration of harvesting, antigenic modification, and photo-release of surface engineered exosomes in one workflow, which enables the production of intact, MHC peptide surface engineered exosomes for cytolysis activation. The PDMS microfluidic cell culture chip is simply cast from a 3D-printed mold. The proof-of-concept study demonstrated the enhanced ability of harvested exosomes in antigen presentation and T cell activation, by decorating melanoma tumor peptides on the exosome surface (e.g., gp-100, MART-1, MAGE-A3). Such surface engineered antigenic exosomes were harvested in real-time from the on-chip culture of leukocytes isolated from human blood, leading to much faster cellular uptake. The activation of gp100-specific CD8 T cells which were purified from the spleen of 2 Pmel1 transgenic mice was evaluated using surface engineered exosomes prepared from muring antigen presenting cells. Antigen-specific CD8 T cell proliferation was significantly induced by the engineered exosomes compared to native, non-engineered exosomes. This microfluidic platform serves as an automated and highly integrated cell culture device for rapid, and real-time production of therapeutic exosomes that could advance cancer immunotherapy.


a) Illustration of 3D -printing molded microfluidic culture device for  engineering immunogenic exosomes directly from on -chip cultured cells in  real    b)  Fluorescence  dye  solution  for  showing  the  flow  of   immunomagnetic beads (A -Inlet) mixing with cell culture media (B -Inlet) eluted from cell culture chamber. c) Bright -field microscopic image showing the immunomagnetic microbeads mixing process for isolating exosomes in  the serpentine microchannel. d) Bright -field microscopic image showing the morphology of on -chip cultured leukocytes. e) SEM image showing the  en gineered exosomes released out of the chip.

Zhao Z, McGill J, He M. (2019) Microfluidic On-demand Engineering of Exosomes towards Cancer Immunotherapy. bioRXiv [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *