Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have developed biodegradable nanoparticles that can be used to genetically program immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells—while the immune cells are still inside the body.
In a proof-of-principle study to be published April 17 in Nature Nanotechnology, the team showed that nanoparticle-programmed immune cells, known as T cells, can rapidly clear or slow the progression of leukemia in a mouse model.
“Our technology is the first that we know of to quickly program tumor-recognizing capabilities into T cells without extracting them for laboratory manipulation,” said Fred Hutch's Dr. Matthias Stephan, the study's senior author. “The reprogrammed cells begin to work within 24 to 48 hours and continue to produce these receptors for weeks. This suggests that our technology has the potential to allow the immune system to quickly mount a strong enough response to destroy cancerous cells before the disease becomes fatal.”
Cellular immunotherapies have shown promise in clinical trials, but challenges remain to making them more widely available and to being able to deploy them quickly.
More here. [Thanks to Farrukh Azfar.]