Researchers develop nanovaccine that is effective against multiple cancer types

Researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Center have made a breakthrough nanoparticle vaccine that is found to be effective against multiple cancer types in mice. The major advantage the nano vaccine offers is the ability to induce patients to own antibodies to fight against cancer. This type of immunotherapy has slowed down the tumor growth as well as increased the survival of mouse models with multiple cancers. 

Researchers develop nanovaccine that is effective against multiple cancer types

What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is the way of treating a disease by stimulating the body's own defense mechanism to fight against a disease. It involves stimulating or suppressing an immune response. In the case of cancer, the immunotherapy generates a type of T cells called cytotoxic T cells that recognizes and eliminates the cancer cells.

The nano vaccine has a  synthetic polymeric nanoparticle inside of which contains tumor antigens and the tumor proteins. The nano vaccine delivers the particulate antigens and proteins to the immune system to mount an immune response

How Nano vaccine differs from the other vaccines?

In general, vaccines contain coated antigens that are picked up by immune cells and then carry them to the lymphoid organs for T cell activation. However, the nano vaccine bypasses the initial recognition event and carries the antigens directly to lymph nodes for generating activated T cells against cancer. Also, the other vaccine technologies employed for cancer treatment are costly and lead to multiple immune-related toxicities in patients. 

Simple delivery of an antigen to the immune system does not trigger an immune response. There has to be a signal that must direct the immune system to utilize the antigen. For this purpose, nano vaccine activates an adaptor protein called STING that stimulates the immune system.
Researchers tested the effectiveness of nano vaccine in different mouse models of tumor that include melanoma, colorectal cancer, and HPV-related cancers of the cervix, head, neck, and anogenital regions. In most of the tested cases, the nano vaccine successfully slowed down the tumor growth as well as increased the survival rate of the mouse.

Researchers are now teaming up with doctors at UT Southwestern to investigate the clinical testing of nano vaccine for a variety of cancers.


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