Isaac Adjei, a post-doctoral fellow in the Sharma Lab, presented his work at the 8th Annual UF Biomaterials Day Research Symposium on March 18th, 2019. The theme of this year’s Biomaterials Day was “Celebrating Biomaterials InvestiGATORS.” Isaac’s work titled “Nanoparticle-mediated knockdown of TGFBR2 improves Natural Killer cell cytotoxicity” was one of six student abstracts selected for oral presentation at this inter-disciplinary symposium.
Solids tumors produce immunosuppressive factors that inhibit the function of NK cells. Here, we demonstrate nanoparticle (NP)-mediated knockdown of TGF-β receptor 2 (TGFBR2) to improve NK cell function. Cationic manganese dioxide NPs (pMnO2-NP) that are 15nm complexed and protected siRNA from degradation. The pMnO2-NP-mediated siRNA delivery to NK cells resulted in 90% knockdown of the TGFBR2 receptor without cytotoxicity. Significantly, TGFBR2 receptor knockdown restored NK cell infiltration and killing of lung cancer cells even in the presence of TGF-β1. Results from this study show the feasibility of increasing the resilience of NK cells to the immunosuppressive environments in solid tumors.