Targeted delivery of oligonucleotides into tumor-associated macrophages for cancer immunotherapy

Zhen Huang, Zhengping Zhang, Yucui Jiang, Dachuan Zhang, Jiangning Chen, Lei Dong, Junfeng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been proven to be a driving force in the initiation, proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis of various tumors. Specifically, alterations in the functions of TAMs exhibited inhibitory effects on tumor growth. However, there is currently no research being conducted on the targeting delivery of drugs into TAMs for cell-specific tumor immunotherapy. In the present study, we developed a TAMs targeted delivery system that is triggered by the acidic microenvironment in the tumor to release a TAMs-recognizing nano-complex loaded with oligonucleotides. By using this system, we demonstrated a significant anti-tumor effect of an oligonucleotide combination of CpG oligonucleotide, anti-IL-10 and anti-IL-10 receptor oligonucleotides. These nucleic acid drugs delivered by the delivery system accumulated in the TAMs of an allograft hepatoma murine model by intravenous injection, suppressed the pro-tumor functions and stimulated the anti-tumor activities of TAMs. More importantly, the nucleic acid drug-based immune-regulation was restricted to the tumor microenvironment and did not cause an upregulation of serum inflammatory cytokines. Our present study provides an effective therapeutic strategy for regulating cell-specific functions using nucleic acid drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 10 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Nucleic acid drugs
  • Targeting delivery
  • Tumor associated macrophage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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