Therapeutic cancer vaccination is an attractive strategy because it induces T cells of the immune system to recognize and kill tumour cells in cancer patients. However, it remains difficult to generate large numbers of T cells that can recognize the antigens on cancer cells using conventional vaccine carrier systems1, 2. Here we show that α-Al2O3 nanoparticles can act as an antigen carrier to reduce the amount of antigen required to activate T cells in vitro and in vivo. We found that α-Al2O3 nanoparticles delivered antigens to autophagosomes in dendritic cells, which then presented the antigens to T cells through autophagy. Immunization of mice with α-Al2O3 nanoparticles that are conjugated to either a model tumour antigen or autophagosomes derived from tumour cells resulted in tumour regression. These results suggest that α-Al2O3 nanoparticles may be a promising adjuvant in the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines.
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