Shape matters: Biodegradable anisotropic nanoparticle artificial antigen presenting cells for cancer immunotherapy

Elana Ben-Akiva, John W. Hickey, Randall A. Meyer, Ariel Isser, Sydney R. Shannon, Natalie K. Livingston, Kelly R. Rhodes, Alyssa K. Kosmides, Tiarra R. Warren, Stephany Y. Tzeng, Jonathan P. Schneck, Jordan J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificial antigen presenting cells are biomimetic particles that recapitulate the signals presented by natural antigen presenting cells in order to stimulate T cells in an antigen-specific manner using an acellular platform. We have engineered an enhanced nanoscale biodegradable artificial antigen presenting cell by modulating particle shape to achieve a nanoparticle geometry that allows for increased radius of curvature and surface area for T cell contact. The non-spherical nanoparticle artificial antigen presenting cells developed here have reduced nonspecific uptake and improved circulation time compared both to spherical nanoparticles and to traditional microparticle technologies. Additionally, the anisotropic nanoparticle artificial antigen presenting cells efficiently engage with and activate T cells, ultimately leading to a marked anti-tumor effect in a mouse melanoma model that their spherical counterparts were unable to achieve. Statement of significance: Artificial antigen presenting cells (aAPC) can activate antigen-specific CD8+ T cells but have largely been limited to microparticle-based platforms and ex vivo T cell expansion. Although more amenable to in vivo use, nanoscale aAPC have traditionally been ineffective due to limited surface area available for T cell interaction. In this work, we engineered non-spherical biodegradable nanoscale aAPC to investigate the role of particle geometry and develop a translatable platform for T cell activation. The non-spherical aAPC developed here have increased surface area and a flatter surface for T cell engagement and, therefore, can more effectively stimulate antigen-specific T cells, resulting in anti-tumor efficacy in a mouse melanoma model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023


  • Artificial antigen presenting cell
  • Biomimetic
  • Cancer
  • Immunoengineering
  • Nanoparticle shape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Shape matters: Biodegradable anisotropic nanoparticle artificial antigen presenting cells for cancer immunotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this