Engineering Targeting Materials for Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines

Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020 Feb 11;8:19. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.00019. eCollection 2020.


Therapeutic cancer vaccines constitute a valuable tool to educate the immune system to fight tumors and prevent cancer relapse. Nevertheless, the number of cancer vaccines in the clinic remains very limited to date, highlighting the need for further technology development. Recently, cancer vaccines have been improved by the use of materials, which can strongly enhance their intrinsic properties and biodistribution profile. Moreover, vaccine efficacy and safety can be substantially modulated through selection of the site at which they are delivered, which fosters the engineering of materials capable of targeting cancer vaccines to specific relevant sites, such as within the tumor or within lymphoid organs, to further optimize their immunotherapeutic effects. In this review, we aim to give the reader an overview of principles and current strategies to engineer therapeutic cancer vaccines, with a particular focus on the use of site-specific targeting materials. We will first recall the goal of therapeutic cancer vaccination and the type of immune responses sought upon vaccination, before detailing key components of cancer vaccines. We will then present how materials can be engineered to enhance the vaccine's pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. Finally, we will discuss the rationale for site-specific targeting of cancer vaccines and provide examples of current targeting technologies.

Keywords: cancer; immunoengineering; immunotherapy; material engineering; targeting strategies; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review