Advances in mRNA-based drug discovery in cancer immunotherapy

Claudia Augusta Di Trani, Myriam Fernandez-Sendin, Assunta Cirella, Aina Segués, Irene Olivera, Elixabet Bolaños, Ignacio Melero, Pedro Berraondo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Introduction: Immune checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive T-cell therapy based on chimeric antigen receptors are the spearhead strategies to exploit the immune system to fight cancer. To take advantage of the full potential of the immune system, cancer immunotherapy must incorporate new biotechnologies such as mRNA technology that may synergize with already approved immunotherapies and act more effectively on immune targets. 

Areas covered: This review describes the basics of mRNA biotechnology and provides insight into the recent advances in the use of mRNA for the local and systemic delivery of immunostimulatory antibodies, proinflammatory cytokines or for optimizing adoptive T-cell therapy.

Expert opinion: mRNA-based nanomedicines have great potential to expand the arsenal of immunotherapy tools due to their ability to simplify and accelerate drug development and their suitability for transient and local expression of immunostimulatory molecules, whose systemic and sustained expression would be toxic. The success of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines has highlighted the feasibility of this approach. Continuous advances in the delivery and construction of RNA-based vectors hold promise for improvements in clinical efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
JournalExpert opinion on drug discovery
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sept 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • adoptive T-cell transfer
  • bispecific antibodies
  • chimeric antigen receptor
  • Cytokines
  • lipid nanoparticles
  • mRNA


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