Cancer immunotherapy is considered to be one of the most exciting directions in cancer treatment. However, this approach can lead to severe side effects and only works in a small percentage of patients.
Scientists, in a recent report published in ACS Nano, speak about the development of the first dual-cell targeting immunotherapy nanoparticle that slows the growth of tumors in mice with varied cancers. In a study performed by these Scientists, almost half the mice in one particular cancer group went into complete remission after the treatment.
Immunotherapy works by boosting the body’s own immune system in its fight against disease. Cancer patients have two main lines of immunotherapy: One that recruits the body’s T cells to destroy tumors, and the other that disables the ability of the cancer cell to hide from the immune system. Jonathan P. Schneck and colleagues wanted to explore the possibility of merging these two tactics with one nanoparticle-based platform.
The Researchers developed “immunoswitch” nanoparticles in order to combine these two functions into one system. They are designed so that they can simultaneously turn off a pathway on tumor cells that would otherwise be used to become invisible to the immune system, and turn on a particular specific T cell process that activates them against cancer cells. Tests performed on mouse models of colon and melanoma cancer revealed that animals injected with the nanoparticles lived longer than those that were not injected with the nanoparticles, and their tumor growth was delayed or even reversed in a few cases. These nanoparticles are thus capable of helping in the treatment of different tumors since they were effective against two different cancers. Additional analysis discovered that the platform developed a synergistic effect, which allowed Researchers to use low treatment concentrations in order to potentially reduce the rigorous side effects brought about by dual immunotherapy.
Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at the Johns Hopkins Institute, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the TEDCO/Maryland Innovation Initiative and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.