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ACS Nano. 2015 Jan 27;9(1):16-30. doi: 10.1021/nn5062029. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Nanoparticle-based immunotherapy for cancer.

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Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Centre (JMDRC) and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary , Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1 Canada.


The design of nanovaccines capable of triggering effective antitumor immunity requires an understanding of how the immune system senses and responds to threats, including pathogens and tumors. Equally important is an understanding of the mechanisms employed by tumor cells to evade immunity and an appreciation of the deleterious effects that antitumor immune responses can have on tumor growth, such as by skewing tumor cell composition toward immunologically silent tumor cell variants. The immune system and tumors engage in a tug-of-war driven by competition where promoting antitumor immunity or tumor cell death alone may be therapeutically insufficient. Nanotechnology affords a unique opportunity to develop therapeutic compounds than can simultaneously tackle both aspects, favoring tumor eradication. Here, we review the current status of nanoparticle-based immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer, ranging from antigen/adjuvant delivery vehicles (to professional antigen-presenting cell types of the immune system) to direct tumor antigen-specific T-lymphocyte-targeting compounds and their combinations thereof.


T-lymphocytes; cancer immunotherapy; danger-associated molecular patterns; environment-responsive nanoparticles; lymphocyte co-stimulators; nanoparticles; targeted delivery; tumor immune evasion; tumor immune surveillance; tumor immunoediting; tumor-associated antigens; vaccines

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