Design of Gold Nanoparticles in Dendritic Cell-based Vaccines

Authors: Ruud P. M. Dings, Martin Cannon, Kieng Bao Vang

Publication: Particle & Particle Systems Characterization, Volume 35, Issue 9, First published: 17 July 2018.


The design of effective cancer vaccines must be able to activate dendritic cells (DCs) of the innate immune system in order to induce immunity to pathogens and cancer. DCs patrol the body and once they encounter antigens, they orchestrate a complex mechanism of events and signals that can alert the adaptive immune system to action. However, DC‐based vaccines remain a challenge in part because the source and quality of antigens, the DC targeting molecule, type of adjuvant, and delivery vehicle must be optimized to induce a robust immune response. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have now entered clinical trials as carriers due to their ease of functionalization with antigens, adjuvants, and targeting molecules. This progress report discusses how AuNPs can influence DC activation and maturation, as well as their potential impact on T helper (Th) differentiation. Ultimately, successful AuNP‐based DC vaccines are able to induce phagocytosis, activation/maturation, migration, T cell costimulation, and cytokine secretion, which is named AuNP‐induced DC tuning (AuNP‐DC tuning). Although at its infancy, understanding the processes of AuNP‐DC tuning will give a better understanding of how best to engineer AuNPs and will redefine the next generation of DC‐based vaccines.

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