Nanovaccine that activates the NLRP3 inflammasome enhances tumor specific activation of anti-cancer immunity

Saikat Manna, Sampa Maiti, Jingjing Shen, Adam Weiss, Elizabeth Mulder, Wenjun Du, Aaron P. Esser-Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neoantigen cancer vaccines that target tumor specific mutations are emerging as a promising modality for cancer immunotherapy. To date, various approaches have been adopted to enhance efficacy of these therapies, but the low immunogenicity of neoantigens has hindered clinical application. To address this challenge, we developed a polymeric nanovaccine platform that activates the NLRP3 inflammasome, a key immunological signaling pathway in pathogen recognition and clearance. The nanovaccine is comprised of a poly (orthoester) scaffold engrafted with a small-molecule TLR7/8 agonist and an endosomal escape peptide that facilitates lysosomal rupture and NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Upon solvent transfer, the polymer self-assembles with neoantigens to form ∼50 nm nanoparticles that facilitate co-delivery to antigen-presenting cells. This polymeric activator of the inflammasome (PAI) was found to induce potent antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses characterized by IFN-γ and GranzymeB secretion. Moreover, in combination with immune checkpoint blockade therapy, the nanovaccine stimulated robust anti-tumor immune responses against established tumors in EG.7-OVA, B16·F10, and CT-26 models. Results from our studies indicate that NLRP3 inflammasome activating nanovaccines demonstrate promise for development as a robust platform to enhance immunogenicity of neoantigen therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122062
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Adjuvant
  • Biomaterials
  • Inflammasome
  • Nanovaccine
  • Neoantigen therapy


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