Advances in engineered polymer nanoparticle tracking platforms towards cancer immunotherapy—current status and future perspectives

Ramar Thangam, Kapil D. Patel, Heemin Kang, Ramasamy Paulmurugan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Engineering polymeric nanoparticles for their shape, size, surface chemistry, and functional-ization using various targeting molecules has shown improved biomedical applications for nanopar-ticles. Polymeric nanoparticles have created tremendous therapeutic platforms, particularly applications related to chemo-and immunotherapies in cancer. Recently advancements in immunotherapies have broadened this field in immunology and biomedical engineering, where “immunoengineering” creates solutions to target translational science. In this regard, the nanoengineering field has offered the various techniques necessary to manufacture and assemble multifunctional polymeric nanomate-rial systems. These include nanoparticles functionalized using antibodies, small molecule ligands, targeted peptides, proteins, and other novel agents that trigger and encourage biological systems to accept the engineered materials as immune enhancers or as vaccines to elevate therapeutic functions. Strategies to engineer polymeric nanoparticles with therapeutic and targeting molecules can provide solutions for developing immune vaccines via maintaining the receptor storage in T-and B cells. Furthermore, cancer immunotherapy using polymeric nanomaterials can serve as a gold standard approach for treating primary and metastasized tumors. The current status of the limited availabil-ity of immuno-therapeutic drugs highlights the importance of polymeric nanomaterial platforms to improve the outcomes via delivering anticancer agents at localized sites, thereby enhancing the host immune response in cancer therapy. This review mainly focuses on the potential scientific enhancements and recent developments in cancer immunotherapies by explicitly discussing the role of polymeric nanocarriers as nano-vaccines. We also briefly discuss the role of multifunctional nanomaterials for their therapeutic impacts on translational clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number935
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants (2021R1I1A1A01046207, 2021R1I1A1A01050661, and 2018R1D1A1B07048020) and funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea.The authors wish to thank Korea University for providing facilities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Drug delivery
  • Immune cells
  • Immunotherapy
  • Nano-vaccines
  • Polymer nanoparticles
  • Tumor microenvironments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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