Convection enhanced delivery of light responsive antigen capturing oxygen generators for chemo-phototherapy triggered adaptive immunity

Vishnu Sunil, Anbu Mozhi, Wenbo Zhan, Jia Heng Teoh, Chi-Hwa Wang* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, combination therapy has emerged as the cornerstone of clinical practice in treating glioblastoma multiforme. However, their ability to trigger and leverage the body's adaptive immunity has rarely been studied. Tumour heterogeneity, the presence of the blood-brain barrier, and an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment play a crucial role in the 90% local tumor recurrence post-treatment. Herein, we report an improved combination therapy approach capable of stimulating an immune response that utilizes Light responsive antigen-capturing oxygen generators (LAGs). The engineered LAGs loaded with a non-genotoxic molecule, Nutlin-3a, and a photosensitizer, Protoporphyrin IX, can release the payload on-demand when exposed to light of a specific wavelength. The in-situ oxygen generation capability of LAGs enables tumor oxygenation enhancement, thereby alleviating the tumor hypoxia and enhancing the efficacy of chemo-photodynamic therapy. Furthermore, by modulating the surface properties of LAGs, we demonstrated that the tumor-derived protein antigens released can be captured and retained in-situ, which improves antigen uptake and presentation by the antigen-presenting cells. Dual drug-loaded LAGs (DD-LAGs) upregulated the expression of cell surface CD83 maturation and CD86 costimulatory markers on monocyte-derived-dendritic cells, suggesting intrinsic immune adjuvancy. In the presence of 3D printed hypoxic U87 spheroids (h-U87), DD-LAGs induced cancer cell death, upregulated IL-1β, and downregulated IL-10 resulting in CD3+, helper CD4+, and cytotoxic CD8+ proliferation. Finally, we have investigated convection-enhanced delivery as a potential route of administration for DD-LAGs. Our work presents a novel strategy to induce tumor cell death both during and post-treatment, thereby reducing the possibility of recurrence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120974
Number of pages17
Early online date16 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Chi-Hwa Wang is supported by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster @ the National University of Singapore. Vishnu Sunil and Teoh Jia Heng greatly appreciate the National University of Singapore Research Scholarship for the funding of their Ph.D. studies at the National University of Singapore.


  • Light-responsive
  • Antigen-capturing
  • In-situ oxygen generation
  • 3D printing
  • Hypoxia
  • Adaptive immunity


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