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International Reviews of Immunology

For a Special Issue on

Immunoengineering: one decade of progress

Manuscript deadline
31 December 2023

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Professor Alberto Rainer, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Rome, Italy
[email protected]

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Immunoengineering: one decade of progress

The last decade has witnessed the rise of a new discipline merging the principles of immunology with those of engineering, known as immunoengineering. The genesis of its name is usually related to the 2012 article by Schwartz et al., who defined “the nascent field of immunoengineering” as aiming to “provide new approaches to understanding, application, and therapeutic manipulation of immunology”. However, the term can be traced back even further, to a 1981 paper of Kataoka et al. who described a materials-enabled control on blood cell adhesion.  This represented an early and visionary attempt to synergize materials engineering and immunology.

Since then, the new discipline has rapidly grown, and many major academic and clinical institutions currently hold research programs in immunoengineering. Accordingly, the scientific production in the field has increased: a Scopus search for the keyword immunoengineering (and variants) performed in 2023 returned as much as 23,000 entries, registering an exponential growth in the last 10 years.

One of the principal aspects of immunoengineering is related to the advancement of the models available for research in immunology. On one hand, the discipline has faced the development of more predictive animal models designed to decipher the human immune response, such as with humanized animals. On the other hand, immunoengineering has wisely capitalized on the recent advances of bioengineering and computer science, resulting in the rapid ascent of in silico models of the immune system (the so-called digital twins). Furthermore, it has given rise to the establishment of in vitro micro-engineered models based on the organ-on-a-chip paradigm. All these approaches have contributed to empowering the tools and methodologies available for immunology research.

Nanotechnology represents another pillar of immunoengineering. Nanomaterials represent an enabling technology for the development of innovative drug and gene delivery strategies intended to modulate and program the immune response.  This offers a plethora of applicative scenarios, ranging from cancer immunotherapy to neurodegenerative and autoimmune disease. A salient example of this is in immune cell redirection strategies (including CAR-T/NK/macrophages), for which nanotechnology-enabled approaches are currently being sought as a safe and effective route for engineering the immune response.

By inaugurating a dedicated Immunoengineering section of International Reviews of Immunology, we encourage authors to submit review papers covering the salient aspects of this rapidly evolving field.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

- modelling the immune system in vitro and in silico;

- micro-engineered models of the tumor/immune system interplay;

- nanocarriers for gene and drug delivery in oncoimmunology;

- nanoscopy tools for nano-bio interactions in immunology.

We expect prospective contributors to provide readers with a thorough analysis of the state of the art. Besides, authors are encouraged to deliver a fresh vision on the future of immunoengineering and the open challenges in the field.

Submission Instructions

Select "Immunoengineering" as the special issue title when submitting your paper to ScholarOne.

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