Cancer immunotherapy, defined as the ability to mobilise the host’s own immune system to kill cancer, has recently within the last 5 years, taken a central role within mainstream oncology. This period has seen the field rapidly accelerate towards unprecedented clinical responses in patients, and the development of novel classes of immunotherapeutic drugs. One approach has been to design more personalised immunotherapies along with new methods in delivering the therapeutic cargo. It is anticipated that this will play a defining role for cancer immunotherapy in terms of how to better achieve sustained remissions or complete eradication. One of the challenges in the future will be to understand how to administer these molecules since the current approach of systemic administration harbours the risk of causing serious toxicity and/or autoimmunity. This could drastically lower the serum levels of immune reagents needed with a decrease in adverse effects and lower risk of autoimmune reactions, without losing systemic efficacy. Currently, cancer immunotherapies are injected into the bloodstream but systemic injections have many drawbacks. It could be more effective therefore to inject this kind of therapy locally and directly to target tumour cells. This proposal will be to implement a more direct approach, where the immunotherapy's effects could be more easily controlled, with also the possibility for lower doses to be administered. Recently, microneedles have been attracting attention as new drug delivery tools. The microneedle has already been shown to be a highly effective intradermal and transdermal vaccine delivery method due to its mechanism of action, painlessness and ease of use. The goal is therefore to use microneedles to deliver localised doses of combination immunotherapies, e.g. vaccine with checkpoint modulators, in nanoparticles, as the focus of a novel approach to developing new strategies for the trackable delivery of onco-immunotherapeutic agents.
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