Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a T cell growth factor particularly required in regulatory T cell maintenance and memory T cell responses. High-dose IL-2 treatment was the first FDA-approved immunotherapy for cancer, while low-dose IL-2 administration has shown promise in allograft rejection and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. However, its pleiotropic nature and the existence of IL-2 receptors with different binding affinity limit its therapeutic application. For an improved clinical applicability of the cytokine, a targeted receptor assignment must, therefore, be achieved. Nanoparticles allow controlling the location and dose of immunomodulating compounds and to specifically address specific receptors through targeted drug binding. In this review article we discuss the IL-2 biology and current clinical application with regard to nanoparticle-based IL-2-mediated manipulation of T cell responses in autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, and cancer.
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