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Reprogramming Tumor Immunogenicity with STING-Activating Nanoparticles

John T. Wilson, PhD


Dr. Wilson’s group postulates that improved outcomes to immune checkpoint blockade can be obtained through therapeutic interventions that “reprogram” the TME towards a more immunogenic, T cell-inflamed phenotype. The stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway is a major mechanism by which the innate immune system senses cancer cells and serves as a central link between innate and adaptive immunity in tumor immune surveillance. His group has pioneered “smart” polymer nanoparticles (NPs) that potently activate STING signaling by enhancing cytosolic delivery of 2’3’-cGAMP (cGAMP), the natural and endogenous high affinity STING ligand. In this project, they set out to develop STING-NPs and assess the STING-NP’s ability to increase tumor immunogenicity. They are also developing the STING-NPs as a platform for personalized neoantigen-targeted immunotherapy.


Dr. Wilson pursued his PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology. To support his research on the development of nanoparticle-based cancer vaccines, he was awarded a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University.

Grantee News 

Dr. Wilson shows how their STING-NP’s effectively altered the immune cell profile of the TME.