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Nat Rev Immunol. 2018 Mar;18(3):212-219. doi: 10.1038/nri.2017.89. Epub 2017 Aug 30.

Synthetic immune niches for cancer immunotherapy.

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Department of Tumor Immunology, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Geert Grooteplein 26, 6525 GA, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Laboratory of Immunoengineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, the Netherlands; and at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.


Cancer immunotherapy can successfully promote long-term anticancer immune responses, although there is still only a limited number of patients who benefit from such treatment, and it can sometimes have severe treatment-associated adverse events. Compared with systemic immunomodulation, local immunomodulation may enable more effective treatment at lower doses and, at the same time, prevent systemic toxicity. Local delivery of engineered three-dimensional scaffolds may fulfil this role by acting as synthetic immune niches that boost anticancer immunity. In this Opinion article, we highlight the potential of scaffold-based adoptive cell transfer and scaffold-based cancer vaccines that, although applied locally, can promote systemic antitumour immunity. Furthermore, we discuss how scaffold-based cancer immunotherapy may contribute to the development of the next generation of cancer treatments.


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