Although cancer-fighting nanovaccines have demonstrated immense potential, their clinical application has been hindered by complexities in quality control, large-scale manufacturing, and protection.
Biomedical engineers from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have created an innovative technology that allows nanovaccines to adhere to the albumin protein that naturally exists inside the human body. Then, the albumin protein distributes these nanocomplexes to the lymph nodes, leading to vigorous immune activation against different types of tumors in mouse cancer models. The application of natural albumin as a universal vaccine shuttle is an important move in administering cancer nanovaccine immunotherapy to people.
So, what’s new?
Nanovaccines that function to form an immune response against a tumor fundamentally comprise of two components: the part that distributes the vaccine to the exact site (the lymph nodes) in which the immune system stimulation occurs; and the part that stimulates the immune cells to enlarge and particularly target the tumor.
We designed a vaccine that binds to a protein called albumin normally found in the body, that also regularly filters through the lymph nodes. Thus, the vaccine essentially hitches a ride with albumin to travel to the lymph nodes, eliminating the need to create a separate delivery vehicle. Given that large-scale manufacturing and long-term safety are the primary hurdles of current nanovaccine technology, our approach offers a detour to accelerate eventual use of nanomedicines in the clinic.” The study has been explained in the December 2017 issue of Nature Communications.
Guizhi Zhu, Ph.D., First Author of the study and Post-Doctoral Fellow, the NIBIB Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine (LOMIN)