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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00341

Optimizing Tumor Microenvironment for Cancer Immunotherapy: beta-glucan-based nanoparticles

  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, United States
  • 2Department of Surgery, University Hospitals of Cleveland, United States
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University Hospitals of Cleveland, United States
  • 4Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, United States

Immunotherapy is revolutionizing cancer treatment. Recent clinical success with immune checkpoint inhibitors, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, and adoptive immune cellular therapies has generated excitement and new hopes for patients and investigators. However, clinically efficacious responses to cancer immunotherapy occur only in a minority of patients. One reason is the tumor microenvironment (TME), which potently inhibits the generation and delivery of optimal antitumor immune responses. As our understanding of TME continues to grow, strategies are being developed to change the TME towards one that augments the emergence of strong antitumor immunity. These strategies include eliminating tumor bulk to provoke the release of tumor antigens, using adjuvants to enhance antigen-presenting cell (APC) function, and employ agents that enhance immune cell effector activity. This article reviews the development of -glucan and -glucan-based nanoparticles as immune modulators of TME, as well as their potential benefit and future therapeutic applications. Cell-wall -glucans from natural sources including plant, fungi and bacteria are molecules that adopt pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) known to target specific receptors on immune cell subsets. Emerging data suggest that the TME can be actively manipulated by -glucans and their related nanoparticles. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of conditioning TME using -glucan and -glucan-based nanoparticles, and how this strategy enables future design of optimal combination cancer immunotherapies.

Keywords: cancer immunotherapy, Tumor Microenvironment, Immune modulator, beta-glucan, beta-glucan-based nanoparticle

Received: 15 Oct 2017; Accepted: 06 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Nurit Hollander, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Reviewed by:

Carlos Alfaro, Universidad de Navarra, Spain
Dmitry Bulavin, Institute of Research on Cancer and Aging in Nice, France
Christopher Gregory, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Zhang, Kim and Huang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Mei Zhang, Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cleveland, United States, mxz128@case.edu