Although tumor regressions have been seen in 10% to 20% of patients with metastatic melanoma, the great promise of cancer vaccines - controlling tumor growth and cancer spread without serious side-effects - remains as yet unrealized. This could be set to change with the publication of a new mouse model technology in Cancer Research, the journal of the American Association of Cancer Research, from a multi-national team led by investigators at the Brussels Branch of the global Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR).
“Melanoma has been a focus of cancer vaccine development because many melanoma-specific vaccine targets, so-called ‘cancer antigens’, have been defined,” says the study’s senior author, LICR’s Dr. Benoit Van den Eynde. “However, we have a limited understanding of how most, but not all, melanomas evade an immune system that has been primed to detect and destroy cancer cells carrying one of these defined cancer antigens.”
According to Dr. Van den Eynde, this is due in part to the lack of appropriate animal models in which detailed immunological analyses can be performed before and after vaccination. “The models we use to investigate cancer vaccines at the preclinical level either have a defined cancer antigen in a transplanted tumor, or they have an ‘original’ tumor that doesn’t have a defined antigen. However, in human clinical studies, we have original tumors with defined antigens. So there has been a need for a mouse model that more closely follows the human model.”
Thus the Institute that first cloned mouse and human cancer antigens, allowing the rational design of cancer vaccines, has developed a model in which melanoma with a defined cancer antigen can be induced. The model has been engineered to have several mutations found to occur together in human melanoma, and so closely mimics the genetic profile of cancers treated in the clinic. The team, which is comprised of investigators from Belgium, France and The Netherlands, has already begun characterizing a cancer antigen-specific immune reaction observed before the mice were even vaccinated, which they hope will lead to a further understanding of spontaneous melanoma regressions.
Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Executive-Director of New York’s Cancer Research Institute, which was founded in 1953 specifically to foster cancer immunology research, believes that this model may yield information crucial for cancer vaccines for other tumor types and not just melanoma. “We have clinical trials for cancer antigens for sarcoma, for melanoma, and for breast, prostate, lung and ovarian cancers. We’re learning a lot from these trials, but we could learn a lot more if we have a model like this, which selectively expresses each of our target antigens. Just one example might be the analysis of the immune response to cancer antigens during the early stages of cancer onset and progression, which might indicate if there is an optimum time for vaccination.”
Sarah White | alfa
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22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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