Cancer immunotherapy can successfully promote long-term anticancer immune responses, although there is still only a limited number of patients who benefit from such treatment, and it can sometimes have severe treatment-associated adverse events. Compared with systemic immunomodulation, local immunomodulation may enable more effective treatment at lower doses and, at the same time, prevent systemic toxicity. Local delivery of engineered three-dimensional scaffolds may fulfil this role by acting as synthetic immune niches that boost anticancer immunity. In this Opinion article, we highlight the potential of scaffold-based adoptive cell transfer and scaffold-based cancer vaccines that, although applied locally, can promote systemic antitumour immunity. Furthermore, we discuss how scaffold-based cancer immunotherapy may contribute to the development of the next generation of cancer treatments.
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The authors thank A.B. van Spriel for critically reviewing the manuscript. This work was supported by the Institute of Chemical Immunology (grant 024.002.009). C.G.F. is a recipient of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Spinoza Prize, the European Research Council advanced grant PATHFINDER (269019) and KWO grant 2009–4402 of the Dutch Cancer Society.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Weiden, J., Tel, J. & Figdor, C. Synthetic immune niches for cancer immunotherapy. Nat Rev Immunol 18, 212–219 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/nri.2017.89
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