Combinatory therapy adopting nanoparticle-based cancer vaccination with immune checkpoint blockade for treatment of post-surgical tumor recurrences

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Cancer immunotherapy is emerging as a candidate treatment modality for treating post-surgical metastasis and recurrences. Despite the great promises with therapeutic cancer vaccines and checkpoint blocking antibodies in pre-clinical studies, response rates in the clinic still remain unsatisfactory. The evaluation of immunotherapy after surgery in patients could confront significant unexpected hurdles. Surgery itself tends to cause immune suppression, while wound healing factors also stimulate tumor cell outgrowth and metastasis. Regarding the marked changes in the post-surgical tumor microenvironment, one can anticipate that better tumor growth control is attainable by combining cancer vaccines with immune checkpoint blockade. However, it is important that vaccines and checkpoint blocking antibodies are delivered efficiently to their target cells, are released sustained and locally and do not induce cytotoxic effects. The generation of effective anti-tumor immunity and durable response rates could largely depend on these parameters. In the last decade, researchers spend tremendous effort in optimizing the delivery of immunotherapeutic compounds with the use of nanomedicine. Biocompatible nanoparticle based delivery systems demonstrated intriguing results with regard to specific immune cell activation, improved drug delivery, cell targeting, limiting off target toxicity and improving treatment outcome. It therefore makes sense, to speculate on the promises of combined cancer vaccination and immune checkpoint blocking immunotherapy with the aid of nanomedicine. A powerful nanoparticle combination immunotherapy conferring durable therapeutic benefit whilst leaving healthy tissue untouched represents the base for more efficient post-surgical cancer treatment.

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