Protein-based nanocages for vaccine development

Seong A. Kim, Yeram Lee, Yeju Ko, Seohyun Kim, Gi Beom Kim, Na Kyeong Lee, Wonkyung Ahn, Nayeon Kim, Gi Hoon Nam, Eun Jung Lee, In San Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Protein nanocages have attracted considerable attention in various fields of nanomedicine due to their intrinsic properties, including biocompatibility, biodegradability, high structural stability, and ease of modification of their surfaces and inner cavities. In vaccine development, these protein nanocages are suited for efficient targeting to and retention in the lymph nodes and can enhance immunogenicity through various mechanisms, including excellent uptake by antigen-presenting cells and crosslinking with multiple B cell receptors. This review highlights the superiority of protein nanocages as antigen delivery carriers based on their physiological and immunological properties such as biodistribution, immunogenicity, stability, and multifunctionality. With a focus on design, we discuss the utilization and efficacy of protein nanocages such as virus-like particles, caged proteins, and artificial caged proteins against cancer and infectious diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition, we summarize available knowledge on the protein nanocages that are currently used in clinical trials and provide a general outlook on conventional distribution techniques and hurdles faced, particularly for therapeutic cancer vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-791
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute of Korea , KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology Program , KIST Institutional Program , Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning(KETEP) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy(MOTIE) (No. 20224000000150), and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of the Korean government ( NRF-2017R1A3B1023418 and NRF-2021R1C1C1008217 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Cancer vaccine
  • Protein nanocage
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine
  • Virus-like particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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