Nano Research

Article Title

Engineering cancer vaccines using stimuli-responsive biomaterials


cancer vaccine, stimuli-responsive, biomaterial, nanoparticle, immune response, lymph node targeting, cross-presentation


ABSTRACT Cancer vaccines aimed at expanding the pool or increasing the activity of tumor-specific T cells against malignancies is an important immunotherapy modality that has been extensively pursued in the past decades. However, the clinical efficacy of cancer vaccines remains modest in comparison to other immunotherapies, such as checkpoint blockade and adoptive T cell therapy. This unsatisfactory performance is likely due to the suboptimal selection of tumor antigens for vaccine and inefficient delivery platform. Recently, vaccines designed to target cancer neoantigens have shown marked promise in both preclinical and early clinical studies. However, enormous challenges need to be overcome to develop a highly efficient and safe delivery strategy for targeting cancer vaccines to professional antigen-presenting cells and eliciting optimized immune response against cancers. To meet these challenges, biomaterials, particularly biomaterials that are designed to respond to certain environmental stimuli, termed as stimuli-responsive biomaterials, are being actively developed to precisely manipulate the trafficking and release of cancer vaccines in vivo for enhanced therapeutic efficacy and safety. In this mini review, we provide a brief overview of the recent advances in applying stimuli-responsive biomaterials in enhancing non-cellular cancer vaccines while focusing on the chemistry and material design with varied responsiveness. We also discuss the present challenges and opportunities in the field and provide a perspective for future directions.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press