Polymersomes as a potential platform for cancer immunotherapy

J.F. Scheerstra, A.C. Wauters, J. Tel, L.K.E.A. Abdelmohsen, J.C.M. van Hest

Published: March 2022


With the focus in the field of cancer nanomedicine shifting from direct tumor targeting to modulation of the immune system, new opportunities arise for the employment of nanocarrier systems. Polymeric nanovesicles, or polymersomes, have been under investigation as a potential nanocarrier platform for the past decades. These investigations have enhanced our fundamental knowledge on how to tailor physicochemical properties, such as size and shape, surface chemistry and functionalization, and membrane characteristics. The versatile nature and high structural stability of polymersomes makes them suitable for cancer treatment that goes beyond drug delivery. Rational nanocarrier design allows for the spatiotemporal control over the function of specific immune cell targets to enhance cancer immunotherapy. This review provides a perspective view on the potential of polymersomes as a multifunctional platform for in vivo cancer immunotherapy. We discuss opportunities to implement polymersomes in the field, elaborate on their design considerations for immunotherapeutic applications and compare polymersomes with lipid nanoparticles and other relevant systems. Current challenges and future perspectives are addressed to underline what is needed to employ polymersomes as a platform for cancer immunotherapy.

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