Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Thomas Werfel

Second Advisor

Adam Smith

Third Advisor

Mirela Ovreiu

Relational Format



Cancer immunotherapy has become an effective treatment in the toolbox of oncologists. Immunotherapy offers a less toxic alternative to standard cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and can have prolonged curative effects to decrease cancer recurrence. Today, many drugs and biological agents have been developed that target the immune system and elicit an antitumor/cancer response. These agents are known collectively as cancer immunotherapies. While immunotherapies have radically improved treatment outcomes for many cancer patients, there are drawbacks to using these treatments. Immunotherapy treatments have poor clinical responses in patients with tumors that lack immunogenicity. Some of the treatments also pose a risk to induce systemic toxicity when used at high doses and risks of autoimmunity are essentially inherent. To mitigate these shortcomings of immunotherapies, biomaterials can be used as a delivery vehicle to alter the pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, and control release of therapeutic agents targeting the immune system. This review article outlines the general design considerations of various biomaterials and their applications in cancer immunomodulation. Many studies show promising results in murine tumor models with potential for translation to human disease, but further research – via rigorous clinical trials – is needed to assess the effectiveness of immunomodulatory biomaterials in cancer patients.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Biomaterials Commons



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