In situ modulation of dendritic cells by injectable thermosensitive hydrogels for cancer vaccines in mice

Yarong Liu, Liang Xiao, Kye Il Joo, Biliang Hu, Jinxu Fang, Pin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Attempts to develop cell-based cancer vaccines have shown limited efficacy, partly because transplanted dendritic cells (DCs) do not survive long enough to reach the lymph nodes. The development of biomaterials capable of modulating DCs in situ to enhance antigen uptake and presentation has emerged as a novel method toward developing more efficient cancer vaccines. Here, we propose a two-step hybrid strategy to produce a more robust cell-based cancer vaccine in situ. First, a significant number of DCs are recruited to an injectable thermosensitive mPEG-PLGA hydrogel through sustained release of chemoattractants, in particular, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Then, these resident DCs can be loaded with cancer antigens through the use of viral or nonviral vectors. We demonstrate that GM-CSF-releasing mPEG-PLGA hydrogels successfully recruit and house DCs and macrophages, allowing the subsequent introduction of antigens by vectors to activate the resident cells, thus, initiating antigen presentation and triggering immune response. Moreover, this two-step hybrid strategy generates a high level of tumor-specific immunity, as demonstrated in both prophylactic and therapeutic models of murine melanoma. This injectable thermosensitive hydrogel shows great promise as an adjuvant for cancer vaccines, potentially providing a new approach for cell therapies through in situ modulation of cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3836-3845
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2014

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© 2014 American Chemical Society.


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