Design of PD-1-decorated nanocages targeting tumor-draining lymph node for promoting T cell activation

Gi Beom Kim, Hyo Dong Sung, Gi Hoon Nam, Wonjun Kim, Seohyun Kim, Dayeon Kang, Eun Jung Lee, In San Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Targeted delivery of immunomodulatory molecules to the lymph nodes is an attractive means of improving the efficacy of anti-cancer immunotherapy. In this study, to improve the efficacy of PD-1 blockade-based therapy, nanocages were designed by surface engineering to decorate a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) that is capable of binding against programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and -ligand 2 (PD-L2). This nanocage-mediated multivalent interaction remarkably increases the binding affinity and improves the antagonistic activity compared to free soluble PD-1. In addition, with the desirable nanocage size for optimal tumor-draining lymph node (TDLN) targeting (approximately 20 nm), rapid draining and increased accumulation into the TDLNs were observed. Moreover, the interference of the PD-1/PD-L axis with ultra-high affinity in the tumor microenvironment (effector phase) and the TDLNs (cognitive phase) significantly enhances the dendritic cell-mediated tumor-specific T cell activation. This characteristic successfully inhibited tumor growth and induced complete tumor eradication in some mice. Thus, the delivery of immunomodulatory molecules with nanocages can be a highly efficient strategy to achieve stronger anti-tumor immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-338
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 10


  • Drug delivery
  • Nanocage
  • PD-1/PD-L blockade
  • Surface engineering
  • Tumor-draining lymph node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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