In the last decade, cancer immunotherapies have produced impressive therapeutic results. However, the potency of immunotherapy is tightly linked to immune cell infiltration within the tumor and varies from patient to patient. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to monitor and modulate the tumor immune infiltrate for an efficient diagnosis and therapy. Various bispecific approaches are being developed to favor immune cell infiltration through specific tumor targeting. The discovery of antibodies devoid of light chains in camelids has spurred the development of single domain antibodies (also called VHH or nanobody), allowing for an increased diversity of multispecific and/or multivalent formats of relatively small sizes endowed with high tissue penetration. The small size of nanobodies is also an asset leading to high contrasts for non-invasive imaging. The approval of the first therapeutic nanobody directed against the von Willebrand factor for the treatment of acquired thrombotic thrombocypenic purpura (Caplacizumab, Ablynx), is expected to bolster the rise of these innovative molecules. In this review, we discuss the latest advances in the development of nanobodies and nanobody-derived molecules for use in cancer immunotherapy and immunoimaging.
Keywords: Cancer; Imaging; Immunotherapy; Nanobody; Single Domain Antibody.