Symposium SB09—Interfacing Bio/Nano Materials with Cancer and the Immune System
Engineered materials enable transformative new modalities to interface with the human body, including the detection and monitoring of disease progression, therapeutic targeting of pathological conditions, to rally the immune system, and to elucidate fundamental biological processes. For instance, nanostructured materials with exceptional physiochemical properties permit precision measurement of tumor or immune cell heterogeneity with exquisite molecular and functional resolution. Microfluidic technologies for biofluid manipulation and partitioning drive automated, high-throughput processing of patient biofluids for “liquid biopsies” and point-of-care diagnostics. Moreover, biomimetic hydrogels and scaffolds with engineered molecular architectures permit 3D organoid culture from human patient samples. Organ-on-chip platforms can further recapitulate the aberrant tumor microenvironment by co-culture of stromal and vascular cells, hypoxia, molecular gradients and interstitial flow. In addition, nanoparticles loaded with therapeutic and imaging modalities may improve the efficacy of soluble drugs with reduced side effects. Finally, biomimetic materials also represent a powerful modality for interfacing with the immune system. Nano and micro payloads can be coupled to immune or stem cell carriers for active delivery. Biomaterial scaffolds can be used for immune cell programming for vaccination and expansion for biomanufacturing adoptive T-cell therapies. Overall, the topical focus of this symposium will broadly encompass the interface between materials, cancer, and immunoengineering research, including basic principles, new materials, systems integration, and translational and clinical utilities for biomedical research and treatment.