Harnessing the bioresponsive adhesion of immuno-bioglue for enhanced local immune checkpoint blockade therapy

Kye Il Joo, Yeonsu Jeong, Sung Min Hwang, Mincheol Shin, Jaeyun Lee, Garima Sharma, Haena Lee, Sin Hyeog Im, Hyung Joon Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Despite the great promise of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy for cancer treatment, the currently available options for ICB treatment pose major clinical challenges, including the risk of severe systemic autoimmune responses. Here, we developed a novel localized delivery platform, immuno-bioglue (imuGlue), which is inspired by the intrinsic underwater adhesion properties of marine mussels and can allow the optimal retention of anti-PD-L1 drugs at tumor sites and the on-demand release of drugs in response to the tumor microenvironment. Using a triple-negative breast cancer and melanoma models, we found that imuGlue could significantly enhance anti-tumor efficacy by eliciting a robust T cell-mediated immune response while reducing systemic toxicity by preventing the rapid diffusion of anti-PD-L1 drugs into the systemic circulation and other tissues. It was also demonstrated that imuGlue could be successfully utilized for combination therapy with other immunomodulatory drugs to enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of ICB-based immunotherapy, demonstrating its versatility as a new treatment option for cancer immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120380
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support was provided by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT ( 2018R1A2B3003758 (to H.J. Cha)) and Basic Science Research Program funded by the Ministry of Education ( 2020R1I1A1A01072868 (to K.I. Joo)) and the Marine BioMaterials Research Center grant from Marine Biotechnology Program funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea (to H.J. Cha).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Anti-PD-L1
  • Combination cancer immunotherapy
  • Immune checkpoint blockade
  • Localized immunotherapy
  • Mussel adhesive protein


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