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Title: Nanotechnology‐enhanced radiotherapy and the abscopal effect: Current status and challenges of nanomaterial‐based radio‐immunotherapy

Rare but consistent reports of abscopal remission in patients challenge the notion that radiotherapy (RT) is a local treatment; radiation‐induced cancer cell death can trigger activation and recruitment of dendritic cells to the primary tumor site, which subsequently initiates systemic immune responses against metastatic lesions. Although this abscopal effect was initially considered an anomaly, combining RT with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies has been shown to greatly improve the incidence of abscopal responses via modulation of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that nanomaterials can further improve the reliability and potency of the abscopal effect for various different types of cancer by (1) altering the cell death process to be more immunogenic, (2) facilitating the capture and transfer of tumor antigens from the site of cancer cell death to antigen‐presenting cells, and (3) co‐delivering immune checkpoint inhibitors along with radio‐enhancing agents. Several unanswered questions remain concerning the exact mechanisms of action for nanomaterial‐enhanced RT and for its combination with immune checkpoint inhibition and other immunostimulatory treatments in clinically relevant settings. The purpose of this article is to summarize key recent developments in this field and also highlight knowledge gaps that exist in this field. An improved mechanistic understanding will be critical for clinical translation of nanomaterials for advanced radio‐immunotherapy.

This article is categorized under:

Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease

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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
WIREs Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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