Review Article

Reversal of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment by nanoparticle-based activation of immune-associated cells

Authors: Fei-long Qi1,2,3, Mei-fang Wang1,4, Bo-zhao Li1,4, Ze-fang Lu1,3, Guang-jun Nie1,3, Su-ping Li1,3
1 CAS Key Laboratory for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials & Nanosafety, CAS Center for Excellence in Nanoscience, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China, Beijing 100190, China
2 Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
3 Center of Materials Science and Optoelectronics Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4 College of Pharmaceutical Science, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
Correspondence to: Guang-jun Nie:, Su-ping Li:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-020-0423-5
Received: 13 January 2020
Accepted: 20 April 2020
Advance online: 28 May 2020


Immunotherapy that activates the host immune system to reverse immunosuppression has emerged as a new generation of cancer treatment in both preclinical studies and clinical trials. Although immunotherapy has shown significant achievements in the treatment of various cancers, it faces challenges that limit its further evolution such as poor permeation and modest responsiveness. The development of nanoparticle drug delivery system has provided an opportunity to overcome these drawbacks and to achieve optimized immunotherapy. Based on the research of our group, we here introduce the new strategies being employed using nanoscale intelligent drug delivery systems to enhance the effects of cancer immunotherapy. We also provide a perspective on the further possible application of nanoparticles in more effective antitumor immunotherapy.
Keywords: cancer immunotherapy; nanoparticles; tumor microenvironment; immune checkpoint inhibitors; tumor vaccine; natural killer cells; dendritic cells

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