Seminar: Sidi Bencherif

Injectable Sponge-like Scaffolds for Cancer Immunotherapy

8 November 2016 15:00 hrs. - 16:00 hrs.
Location see remarks
Injectable Sponge-like Scaffolds for Cancer Immunotherapy

Sidi A. Bencherif, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, USA


Carl Figdor, Dept. of Tumor Immunology, RIMLS

08-11-2016 15:00:0008-11-2016 16:00:00Europe/AmsterdamInjectable Sponge-like Scaffolds for Cancer Immunotherapy Location see

Remarks / more information:


Location: Knowledge Square, 5th floor RIMLS building, route 278

undefinedCancer immunotherapy is rapidly emerging as a self-standing therapeutic domain in oncology, set to revolutionize the treatment of cancer. Cancer vaccines with defined antigens are now commonly used. However, using whole tumor cells, as tumor-associated immunogens, is a more promising and versatile approach that could lead to personalized vaccines. Currently, whole cell tumor vaccination is carried out as simple cell infusions that lead to large-scale cell death, little control over cell fate and immunomodulation, and a typically poor clinical outcome. To address these limitations of whole cell tumor vaccination, a
polymeric biomaterial-based vaccination system was engineered to mimic key aspects of bacterial infection and directly control immune-cell trafficking and activation in the body, to evoke protective immunity, to break tumor tolerance and to elicit durable, tumor-specific immunity with minimal extracorporeal manipulation.

Toward this end, macroporous sponge-like cryogel scaffolds have been designed to first serve as cell carriers or attractors of host cell populations [1,2], and then serve to program cells of the immune system in vivo and ultimately disperse the cells to participate in immunotherapy [3]. These sponge-like cryogels acting as vaccines are injectable and, therefore, can be administered in a minimally invasive manner, and they can serve as delivery vehicles for both immunomodulators and transplanted antigenic whole tumor cells. The use of these biomaterials, through their in vivo modulation of dendritic cells, has shown great potential in promoting antigen-specific T cell responses of magnitudes relevant to combating cancer. The technology was initially designed to target cancerous cells in skin, but might have application to an array of cancers, where patients own cancer cells could be used for cancer treatment and inhibition.

Key Publications

  • Injectable preformed scaffolds with shape-memory properties. PNAS; 109, 19590-19595, 2012
  • Injectable Preformed Scaffolds for Neural Tissue Engineering. Advanced Healthcare Materials; 4,301-312, 2015
  • Injectable scaffold-based whole tumor cell vaccines. Nature Communications; 6:7556, 2015




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