Review Article

Engineered nanomedicines block the PD-1/PD-L1 axis for potentiated cancer immunotherapy

Jun-hao Li1,2, Lu-jia Huang2,3, Hui-ling Zhou2, Yi-ming Shan2,3, Fang-min Chen2,3, Vesa-Pekka Lehto4, Wu-jun Xu4, Li-qiang Luo1, Hai-jun Yu2,3
1 College of Sciences, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Drug Research & Center of Pharmaceutics, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4 Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
Correspondence to: Lu-jia Huang:, Wu-jun Xu:, Hai-jun Yu:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-022-00910-w
Received: 21 February 2022
Accepted: 7 April 2022
Advance online: 28 April 2022


Immunotherapy, in particular immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy targeting the programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) axis, has remarkably revolutionized cancer treatment in the clinic. Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy is designed to restore the antitumor response of cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) by blocking the interaction between PD-L1 on tumour cells and PD-1 on CTLs. Nevertheless, current anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy suffers from poor therapeutic outcomes in a large variety of solid tumours due to insufficient tumour specificity, severe cytotoxic effects, and the occurrence of immune resistance. In recent years, nanosized drug delivery systems (NDDSs), endowed with highly efficient tumour targeting and versatility for combination therapy, have paved a new avenue for cancer immunotherapy. In this review article, we summarized the recent advances in NDDSs for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. We then discussed the challenges and further provided perspectives to promote the clinical application of NDDS-based anti-PD-1/PD- L1 therapy.
Keywords: cancer immunotherapy; immune checkpoint blockade; PD-1/PD-L1 axis; nanomedicine; nanosized drug delivery systems

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