Biomaterials in regenerative medicine are designed to mimic and modulate tissue environments to promote repair. Biologic scaffolds (derived from decellularized tissue extracellular matrix) promote a wound-healing (proregenerative) immune phenotype and are used clinically to treat tissue loss, including in the context of tumor resection. It is unknown whether a biomaterial microenvironment that encourages tissue formation may also promote tumor development. We implanted a urinary bladder matrix (UBM) scaffold, which is used clinically for wound management, with syngeneic cancer cell lines in mice to study how wound-healing immune responses affect tumor formation and sensitivity to immune checkpoint blockade. The UBM scaffold created an immune microenvironment that inhibited B16-F10 melanoma tumor formation in a CD4+ T cell-dependent and macrophage-dependent manner. In-depth immune characterization revealed an activated type 2-like immune response that was distinct from the classical tumor microenvironment, including activated type 2 T helper T cells, a unique macrophage phenotype, eosinophil infiltration, angiogenic factors, and complement. Tumor growth inhibition by PD-1 and PD-L1 checkpoint blockade was potentiated in the UBM scaffold immune microenvironment. Engineering the local tumor microenvironment to promote a type 2 wound-healing immune signature may serve as a therapeutic target to improve immunotherapy efficacy.
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