Intratumoral delivery of M-CSF by calcium crosslinked polymer micelles enhances cancer immunotherapy†
Immunotherapy has shown promising results in multiple malignancies. However, there are still significant challenges in cancer immunotherapy including the powerful immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and adverse off-target side effects. Nanomaterials with defined physico-biochemical properties are versatile drug delivery platforms that may address these key technical challenges faced by cancer immunotherapy. Here, a tumor acidity-responsive biomacromolecule delivery system was designed to intratumorally deliver an immune-activating cytokine, macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and attenuate the acidic microenvironment. This nanoparticle was prepared by introducing CaCO3 as a crosslinker to form an M-CSF-loaded stable micelle (NP/M-CSF/CaCO3). Administration of NP/M-CSF/CaCO3 significantly inhibited tumor growth by enhancing T cell-mediated anti-tumor immune responses and reversing the TAM-mediated immunosuppression. This study provides new avenues for cascade amplification of the antitumor effects by targeting the tumor microenvironment. This approach may also help avoid unwanted complications.