As an alternative strategy for cancer treatment, the combination of cancer nanomedicine and immunotherapy is promising with regard to efficacy and safety; however, precise modulation of the activation of antitumor immunity remains challenging. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to describe an intelligent nanocomposite polymer immunomodulator, drug-free polypyrrole-polyethyleneimine nanozyme (PPY-PEI NZ), which responds to the B-cell lymphoma tumor microenvironment, for precision cancer immunotherapy. Earlier engulfment of PPY-PEI NZs in an endocytosis-dependent manner resulted in rapid binding in four different types of B-cell lymphoma cells. The PPY-PEI NZ effectively suppressed B cell colony-like growth in vitro accompanied by cytotoxicity via apoptosis induction. During PPY-PEI NZ-induced cell death, mitochondrial swelling, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (MTP), downregulation of antiapoptotic proteins, and caspase-dependent apoptosis were observed. Deregulated AKT and ERK signaling contributed to glycogen synthase kinase-3-regulated cell apoptosis following deregulation of Mcl-1 and MTP loss. Additionally, PPY-PEI NZs induced lysosomal membrane permeabilization while inhibiting endosomal acidification, partly protecting cells from lysosomal apoptosis. PPY-PEI NZs selectively bound and eliminated exogenous malignant B cells in a mixed culture system with healthy leukocytes ex vivo. While PPY-PEI NZs showed no cytotoxicity in wild-type mice, they provided long-term and efficient inhibition of the growth of B-cell lymphoma-driven nodules in a subcutaneous xenograft model. This study explores a potential PPY-PEI NZ-based anticancer agent against B-cell lymphoma.
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