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Volume 14 Issue 1, January 2019

Spray-on gel for post-surgery cancer immunotherapy

Complete removal of cancer tissue during surgery is hard to achieve and frequently results in tumour recurrence. While radiotherapy and chemotherapy can help to prevent cancer recurrence, they cause severe toxic effects, prompting the search for alternative approaches, such as immunotherapy, to curb tumour spread. Now, Chen and co-workers present an immunotherapy gel that forms upon the reaction of two components: a fibrinogen solution containing CaCO3 nanoparticles that encapsulate anti-CD47 antibodies, and a thrombin solution. Once sprayed on the surgical wound, the two components react, forming a fibrin gel in situ. Upon acidic degradation, the CaCO3 nanoparticles activate the tumour suppressing macrophages and release the anti-CD47 antibodies, which block the ‘don’t eat me’ ligands on cancer cells, making them susceptible to macrophage recognition and elimination. By reprogramming the tumour microenvironment, the gel prevents local tumour recurrence and distant tumour formation. The image on the cover is a false-coloured cryo-SEM image of the fibrin gel loaded with the bioresponsive nanoparticles.

See Gu et al.

Image: Qian Chen. Cover Design: Sam Whitham

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