Those days are not so far when doctors will treat cancer patients just by injecting virtually invisible discs into their body. Researchers from the University of Michigan have successfully tested 10nm nanodiscs, which will teach your body how to kill the cancer cell.
“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, the John Gideon Searle assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering.
Each nanodisc is loaded with neoantigens, or tumor-specific mutations, which will tell your immune system’s T-cells to identify those neoantigens and destroy them. When paired up with immune checkpoint inhibitors, they can not only eliminate existing cancer tumors but also prevent them from growing later.
“The idea is that these vaccine nanodiscs will trigger the immune system to fight the existing cancer cells in a personalized manner,” Moon said.
So far, this testing has been limited to mice with established melanoma and colon cancer tumors. It took 10 days for the nanodiscs to knock out tumors, and they also terminate identical tumors when they were reinserted after 70 days. The scientists are planning to test whether their nanodiscs technology can hold up with larger animals.