John Garner

Immunotherapy research using PLGA, PLGA-PEG-maleimide, and PLGA-rhodamine from PolySciTech shows promise for cancer treatment

Blog Post created by John Garner on Jul 3, 2017

Min, 2017 cancer immunotherapy.png

Treatment of cancer remains difficult due to a wide variety of reasons. One problem is that, typically, cancer tends to metastasize and spread so that there are smaller tumors, tendrils or clumps of tumor cells instead of a singular, lone cancer tumor. These ‘satellite tumors’ can remain even after the main tumor has been removed by surgery or other process. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments can affect nearby cancer cells, by the absopal effect, but this effect is relatively weak and often these smaller tumor portions regrow to form new cancer tumors. A good strategy for destroying cancer, both main tumor and nearby satellite tumors, is to utilize immunotherapy. This process effectively ‘vaccinates’ the body so that the immune system attacks the cancer as if it is an invasive pathogen. Recently, researchers working jointly at University of North Carolina, Duke University, Xuzhou Medical University (Japan), North Carolina Sate University, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center developed a novel antigen-capturing-nanoparticle based immunotherapy treatment for cancer treatment. This therapy relies on nanoparticles capturing the antigens from the tumor and then presenting those to immunce cells to elicit an immune response. For this research, they used PLGA (AP059), mPEG-PLGA (AK037), PLGA-PEG-NH2 (AI058), PLGA-PEG-Mal (AI052) and poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-rhodamine B (AV011) from PolySciTech ( to generate these nanoparticles and to track them by fluorescence, respectively. This research holds promise for improved cancer therapy. Read more: Min, Yuanzeng, Kyle C. Roche, Shaomin Tian, Michael J. Eblan, Karen P. McKinnon, Joseph M. Caster, Shengjie Chai et al. "Antigen-capturing nanoparticles improve the abscopal effect and cancer immunotherapy." Nature Nanotechnology (2017). (


  “Immunotherapy holds tremendous promise for improving cancer treatment1. To administer radiotherapy with immunotherapy has been shown to improve immune responses and can elicit the ‘abscopal effect’. Unfortunately, response rates for this strategy remain low. Herein we report an improved cancer immunotherapy approach that utilizes antigen-capturing nanoparticles (AC-NPs). We engineered several AC-NP formulations and demonstrated that the set of protein antigens captured by each AC-NP formulation is dependent on the NP surface properties. We showed that AC-NPs deliver tumour-specific proteins to antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and significantly improve the efficacy of αPD-1 (anti-programmed cell death 1) treatment using the B16F10 melanoma model, generating up to a 20% cure rate compared with 0% without AC-NPs. Mechanistic studies revealed that AC-NPs induced an expansion of CD8+ cytotoxic T cells and increased both CD4+T/Treg and CD8+T/Treg ratios (Treg, regulatory T cells). Our work presents a novel strategy to improve cancer immunotherapy with nanotechnology. Subject terms: Drug delivery Nanotechnology in cancer”