Preclinical models and technologies to advance nanovaccine development

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2021 May:172:148-182. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.03.001. Epub 2021 Mar 9.


The remarkable success of targeted immunotherapies is revolutionizing cancer treatment. However, tumor heterogeneity and low immunogenicity, in addition to several tumor-associated immunosuppression mechanisms are among the major factors that have precluded the success of cancer vaccines as targeted cancer immunotherapies. The exciting outcomes obtained in patients upon the injection of tumor-specific antigens and adjuvants intratumorally, reinvigorated interest in the use of nanotechnology to foster the delivery of vaccines to address cancer unmet needs. Thus, bridging nano-based vaccine platform development and predicted clinical outcomes the selection of the proper preclinical model will be fundamental. Preclinical models have revealed promising outcomes for cancer vaccines. However, only few cases were associated with clinical responses. This review addresses the major challenges related to the translation of cancer nano-based vaccines to the clinic, discussing the requirements for ex vivo and in vivo models of cancer to ensure the translation of preclinical success to patients.

Keywords: Cancer preclinical models; Cancer vaccine; Clinical translation; Nanotechnology; Tumor immune microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Nanotechnology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines