New research is being conducted to develop nanotechnology that teaches your immune system to destroy tumor cells, giving hope to the 14.5 million Americans with a history of cancer.
This new technology uses nano-sized discs, about 10 nm to be exact, to teach the body to kill cancer cells. “We are basically educating the immune system with these nanodiscs so that immune cells can attack cancer cells in a personalized manner,” said James Moon from the University of Michigan.
Each of these ‘nanodiscs’ is full of neoantigens (tumor-specific mutations) that teach the immune system’s T-cells to recognize each neoantigen and kill them. These work hand-in-hand with immune checkpoint inhibitors that boost the responses of T-cells — forming an anti-cancer system in the body that wipes out tumors and potentially keeps them from reemerging.
So far, the nanodiscs were successfully tested on mice and were shown to be rather promising, eliminating tumors in 10 days. These were also able to shut down identical tumors in the mice after being reinserted 70 days later. “This suggests the immune system ‘remembered’ the cancer cells for long-term immunity,” said Rui Kuai, lead author of the study.