Letter | Published:

Multivalent bi-specific nanobioconjugate engager for targeted cancer immunotherapy

Nature Nanotechnology volume 12, pages 763769 (2017) | Download Citation


Tumour-targeted immunotherapy offers the unique advantage of specific tumouricidal effects with reduced immune-associated toxicity1,2. However, existing platforms suffer from low potency, inability to generate long-term immune memory and decreased activities against tumour-cell subpopulations with low targeting receptor levels3,4,5. Here we adopted a modular design approach that uses colloidal nanoparticles as substrates to create a multivalent bi-specific nanobioconjugate engager (mBiNE) to promote selective, immune-mediated eradication of cancer cells. By simultaneously targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expressed by cancer cells6 and pro-phagocytosis signalling mediated by calreticulin7, the mBiNE stimulated HER2-targeted phagocytosis and produced durable antitumour immune responses against HER2-expressing tumours. Interestingly, although the initial immune activation mediated by the mBiNE was receptor dependent, the subsequent antitumour immunity also generated protective effects against tumour-cell populations that lacked the HER2 receptor. Thus, the mBiNE represents a new targeted, nanomaterial-immunotherapy platform to stimulate innate and adaptive immunity and promote a universal antitumour response.

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The authors thank P. Anastasiadis, L. Petrucelli, H. Crawford, J. Copland, D. Radisky, T. Gonwa and D. Page and his veterinary team for reagents and helpful discussions. We also thank L. Lewis-Tuffin for her help with flow cytometer and confocal experiments, J. A. Knight, R. Feathers, H.-J. Wen and E. E. Miller for their helpful discussions, and B. Edenfield for her assistance with immunohistological experiments. Finally, we thank C. Wogan from MD Anderson's Division of Radiation Oncology for editorial contributions and AXS Studio for preparing Fig. 4d. Research reported here was supported by the James C. and Sara K. Kennedy Award from Mayo Clinic (B.Y.S.K), Jorge and Leslie Bacardi Fund for the study of Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine (B.Y.S.K.), Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Gerstner Family Award (B.Y.S.K.), Helene Houle Mayo Clinic Career Development Award in Neurologic Surgery (B.Y.S.K.), Mayo Clinic Neuroregenerative Medicine Initiative for Neuro-Oncology Research (B.Y.S.K.), China Scholarships Council (No. 201406100114, H.Y.), DeMars Family Mayo Clinic Development Fund (B.Y.S.K.) and Strawn Family Mayo Clinic Development Fund (B.Y.S.K.).

Author information

Author notes

    • Hengfeng Yuan
    • , Wen Jiang
    • , Christina A. von Roemeling
    •  & Yaqing Qie

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Department of Orthopedics, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, 111 Yixueyuan Road, Xuhui, Shanghai, China

    • Hengfeng Yuan
  2. Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA

    • Hengfeng Yuan
    • , Christina A. von Roemeling
    • , Yaqing Qie
    • , Xiujie Liu
    • , Yuanxin Chen
    • , Robert E. Wharen
    •  & Betty Y. S. Kim
  3. Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • Wen Jiang
  4. Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 1st Street, Rochester, Minnesota 55902, USA

    • Christina A. von Roemeling
  5. Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • Yifan Wang
  6. Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Research Institute, 6670 Bertner Avenue, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

    • Kyuson Yun
  7. Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA

    • Guojun Bu
    •  & Betty Y. S. Kim
  8. Department of Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA

    • Keith L. Knutson
    •  & Betty Y. S. Kim
  9. Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA

    • Keith L. Knutson


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H.Y., W.J. and B.Y.S.K. conceived the study and designed the experiments. H.Y., C.A.V.R., Y.Q., X.L. and Y.C. performed the experiments and generated the data. H.Y., C.A.V. R., W.J., Y.W., R.E.W., K.Y., G.B., K.L.K. and B.Y.S.K. analysed the data and interpreted the results. All authors helped to write the paper.

Competing interests

The Mayo Clinic has filed a patent application on the technology and intellectual property reported here.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Wen Jiang or Betty Y. S. Kim.

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