Cancer immunotherapy based on image-guided STING activation by nucleotide nanocomplex-decorated ultrasound microbubbles

Xuefeng Li, Sina Khorsandi, Yifan Wang, Julien Santelli, Kristin Huntoon, Nhu Nguyen, Mingming Yang, Dae Yong Lee, Yifei Lu, Ruoqi Gao, Betty Y.S. Kim, Caroline de Gracia Lux, Robert F. Mattrey, Wen Jiang, Jacques Lux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The cytosolic innate immune sensor cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS-STING) pathway is crucial for priming adaptive antitumour immunity through antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Natural agonists, such as cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs), activate the cGAS-STING pathway, but their clinical translation is impeded by poor cytosolic entry and serum stability, low specificity and rapid tissue clearance. Here we developed an ultrasound (US)-guided cancer immunotherapy platform using nanocomplexes composed of 2′3′-cyclic guanosine monophosphate-adenosine monophosphate (cGAMP) electrostatically bound to biocompatible branched cationic biopolymers that are conjugated onto APC-targeting microbubbles (MBs). The nanocomplex-conjugated MBs engaged with APCs and efficiently delivered cGAMP into the cytosol via sonoporation, resulting in activation of cGAS-STING and downstream proinflammatory pathways that efficiently prime antigen-specific T cells. This bridging of innate and adaptive immunity inhibited tumour growth in both localized and metastatic murine cancer models. Our findings demonstrate that targeted local activation of STING in APCs under spatiotemporal US stimulation results in systemic antitumour immunity and improves the therapeutic efficacy of checkpoint blockade, thus paving the way towards novel image-guided strategies for targeted immunotherapy of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Nanotechnology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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