Research ArticleLIFE SCIENCES

AIEgen-coupled upconversion nanoparticles eradicate solid tumors through dual-mode ROS activation

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Science Advances  26 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 26, eabb2712
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2712


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are essential for the regulation of antitumor immune responses, where they could induce immunogenic cell death, promote antigen presentation, and activate immune cells. Here, we report the development of near-infrared (NIR)–driven immunostimulants, based on coupling upconversion nanoparticles with aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens), to integrate the immunological effects of ROS for enhanced adaptive antitumor immune responses. Intratumorally injected AIEgen-upconversion nanoparticles produce high-dose ROS under high-power NIR irradiation, which induces immunogenic cell death and antigen release. These nanoparticles can also capture the released antigens and deliver them to lymph nodes. Upon subsequent low-power NIR treatment of lymph nodes, low-dose ROS are generated to further trigger efficient T cell immune responses through activation of dendritic cells, preventing both local tumor recurrence and distant tumor growth. The utility of dual-mode pumping power on AIEgen-coupled upconversion nanoparticles offers a powerful and controllable platform to activate adaptive immune systems for tumor immunotherapy.

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