Multi-antigen spherical nucleic acid cancer vaccines

Michelle H. Teplensky, Michael Evangelopoulos, Jasper W. Dittmar, Connor M. Forsyth, Andrew J. Sinegra, Shuya Wang, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cancer vaccines must activate multiple immune cell types to be effective against aggressive tumours. Here we report the impact of the structural presentation of two antigenic peptides on immune responses at the transcriptomic, cellular and organismal levels. We used spherical nucleic acid (SNA) nanoparticles to investigate how the spatial distribution and placement of two antigen classes affect antigen processing, cytokine production and the induction of memory. Compared with single-antigen SNAs, a single dual-antigen SNA elicited a 30% increase in antigen-specific T cell activation and a two-fold increase in T cell proliferation. Antigen placement within dual-antigen SNAs altered the gene expression of T cells and tumour growth. Specifically, dual-antigen SNAs encapsulating antigens targeting helper T cells and with externally conjugated antigens targeting cytotoxic T cells elevated antitumour genetic pathways, stalling lymphoma tumours in mice. Additionally, when combined with the checkpoint inhibitor anti-programmed-cell-death protein-1 in a mouse model of melanoma, a specific antigen arrangement within dual-antigen SNAs suppressed tumour growth and increased the levels of circulating memory T cells. The structural design of multi-antigen vaccines substantially impacts their efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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