Focus |


The immune system is capable of destroying foreign material and diseased cells, but cancers have evolved to evade immunological surveillance through a number of strategies. This has motivated researchers to develop therapies that harness the immune system by priming immune cells to specifically recognize cancer cells and destroy them more effectively. This Focus issue highlights recent advances in cancer treatment that adopt cells and materials as the basis for the development of immunotherapeutics and vaccines, as well as the development of engineered immune tissues that could be utilized as platforms to elucidate immunological processes and therapeutic efficacy.

News and Comments

As the interaction of the immune system with the tumour microenvironment becomes increasingly understood, more evidence indicates how immunotherapy can be employed to better eliminate cancers.

Editorial | | Nature Materials

Darrell Irvine provides an overview of the recent advances in materials science that have enabled the use of innovative natural and synthetic compounds in vaccine development capable of regulating the potency and safety of new vaccines progressing towards the clinic.

Feature | | Nature Materials

Camille M. Le Gall, Jorieke Weiden, Loek J. Eggermont and Carl G. Figdor provide an overview of immunotherapeutics for cancer treatment that harness dendritic cells, their challenges in clinical use, and approaches employed to enhance their recruitment and activation to promote effective anti-tumour immunity.

Feature | | Nature Materials

Tumour heterogeneity and off-target toxicity are current challenges of cancer immunotherapy. Karine Dzhandzhugazyan, Per Guldberg and Alexei Kirkin discuss how epigenetic induction of tumour antigens in antigen-presenting cells may form the basis for multi-target therapies.

Feature | | Nature Materials

A strategy to enhance antigen immunogenicity was developed by adsorption of polyethyleneimine on a mesoporous silica microrod vaccine for the presentation of tumour viruses and neoantigens, demonstrating their ability to drive anti-tumour immunity.

News & Views | | Nature Materials

Research and Reviews

Immunotherapy offers a promising approach to treating a range of complications. This Review discusses strategies that employ bioengineering and immunological principles to develop engineered tissues for screening therapeutics and treating diseases.

Review Article | | Nature Materials

From the Archive

The sustained release of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic immunomodulators for metastatic melanoma by nanoscale liposomal polymeric gels administered intratumorally or systemically is demonstrated. It is also shown that such a co-delivery approach delays tumour growth and increases the survival of tumour-bearing mice, and that its efficacy results from the activation of both innate and adaptative immune responses.

Article | | Nature Materials

The clinical application of vaccines has expanded from infectious diseases to cancer, enhancing our vision of how the immune system can be used to prevent and treat disease. This Review highlights recent developments, clinical successes and future challenges in the design of prophylactic, therapeutic and tolerance-inducing synthetic vaccines with inspiration from the natural immune system.

Review Article | | Nature Materials