Emerging Roles of 1D Vertical Nanostructures in Orchestrating Immune Cell Functions

Abstract Engineered nano–bio cellular interfaces driven by 1D vertical nanostructures (1D-VNS) are set to prompt radical progress in modulating cellular processes at the nanoscale. Here, tuneable cell–VNS interfacial interactions are probed and assessed, highlighting the use of 1D-VNS in immunomodulation, and intracellular delivery into immune cells—both crucial in fundamental and translational biomedical research. With programmable topography and adaptable surface functionalization, 1D-VNS provide unique biophysical and biochemical cues to orchestrate innate and adaptive immunity, both ex vivo and in vivo. The intimate nanoscale cell–VNS interface leads to membrane penetration and cellular deformation, facilitating efficient intracellular delivery of diverse bioactive cargoes into hard-to-transfect immune cells. The unsettled interfacial mechanisms reported to be involved in VNS-mediated intracellular delivery are discussed. By identifying up-to-date progress and fundamental challenges of current 1D-VNS technology in immune-cell manipulation, it is hoped that this report gives timely insights for further advances in developing 1D-VNS as a safe, universal, and highly scalable platform for cell engineering and enrichment in advanced cancer immunotherapy such as chimeric antigen receptor-T therapy.