NOV 21, 2019 06:23 PM PST

Inhalable nanoparticle-immunotherapy provides new hope for lung cancer

New research published in Nature Communications details the results of a study that tested inhalable nanoparticle-immunotherapy to determine its impact on lung cancer. The nanoparticle-immunotherapy targets pulmonary antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in an effort to curb the immunosuppressive microenvironment of tumors and improve anticancer immunity against lung metastases.

Led by researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, which is a branch of Wake Forest Baptist Health, the study was conducted on mouse models with the goal of identifying new techniques to change cold tumors to hot tumors. Cold tumors refer to tumors that have not been infiltrated by immune T cells; meanwhile hot tumors are those that have been identified by T cells and are hence more receptive to immunotherapies.

"The goal of our research was to develop a novel means to convert cold tumors to hot, immune-responsive tumors," said co-author Dawen Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., who is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Wake Forest School of Medicine. "We wanted it to be non-invasive without needle injection, able to access multiple lung tumors at a time, and be safe for repeated use. We were hoping that this new approach would boost the body's immune system to more effectively fight lung cancer."

The system the team developed is an inhalable nanoparticle-immunotherapy combined with radiation therapy, thus avoiding the need to inject immunomodulators into tumors. Injections are not only invasive, but also limited to superficial and easily-accessed tumors; inhaling nanoparticles loaded with immunostimulants offer a more promising alternative.

Researchers are working on a novel way to treat lung cancer. Photo: Pixabay

The researchers saw that the inhaled nanoparticles deposited immunostimulants in the lung air sacs of the mice where immune cells known as antigen-presenting cells (APC) triggered an immune pathway called STING. This induction of the immune system is key to converting a tumor’s microenvironment from cold to hot. The study showed success in the mice models receiving the nanoparticle-immunotherapy: in some mice, lung tumors were eradicated entirely; others were reduced, resulting in longer survival for the mice.

The researchers plan to move their development into the patent process with the hopes of it becoming a reality in human trials in the near future.

Sources: Science Daily, Nature Communications

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 10, 2019
A Skin Patch Might be the Most Effective Melanoma Treatment
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a fast-acting skin patch that effectively delivers cancer-fighting medicati...
DEC 10, 2019
Cancer
DEC 10, 2019
Treating glioblastomas through the bloodstream
New research published in Nature Communications details a novel immunotherapy that is capable of treating brain cancer via the bloodstream. Although only p...
DEC 10, 2019
Cancer
DEC 10, 2019
Don't eat iron-rich foods with your tomatoes
We have known for some time now that tomatoes are beneficial for our health. The carotenoid called lycopene in tomatoes contains high amounts of antioxidan...
DEC 10, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 10, 2019
Evolutionary-Busting Cancer Drug
Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in London have discovered that a new type of drug that blocks treatment in cancers. The drug works by inhib...
DEC 10, 2019
Cancer
DEC 10, 2019
How HPV might actually defend against skin cancer
New research from scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital features findings that suggest that immunity to certain strains of HPV (human papillomavirus...
DEC 10, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 10, 2019
Immunotherapy Drug Shows Promise for Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer
By the end of the year, an estimated 175,000 men in the United States will have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Now, researchers from the UK have foun...
Loading Comments...