Researchers found new 3D vaccine for cancer and infectious diseases. The vaccine is able to self-assemble into a 3D structure and manipulate immune cells, teaching them to attack cancer as well as infectious disease.
The research paper was published in Nature Biotechnology from senior author David Mooney of Harvard University in December 2014.
The vaccine is composed of nanoscale silica rods, which are administered via injection. Once inside the body, the rods group together into a scaffold-like structure. This structure is then able to draw in immune cells and teach them how to take on threats to the body. Rather than introducing a weakened version of the disease in order to expose the immune system to it, this works on the immune cells directly.
Previous research used a dime-sized scaffold in mouse models, attempting to reprogram dendritic cells. These cells are responsible for locating specific antigens on the surface of cancer cells, and then calling in an attack if they find anything that needs to be eliminated.
This vaccine was successful in slowing down tumor progression in the mice, and 90% of them outlived control mice who did not receive the cell reprogramming.
In the current paper, the scaffold was deconstructed into the vaccine, and spontaneously assembled once inside the organism. Two groups of mice with lymphoma received either the scaffold vaccine or a traditional bolus injection that just exposed the immune system to the antigens and medications.
At the end of 30 days, 60% of the mice who received the bolus injection were still alive, while 90% of the mice who received the scaffold vaccine lived.