Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UNC scientists discover potential strategy to improve cancer vaccines

15.12.2010
The promise of vaccines targeted against various types of cancer has raised the hopes of patients and their families. The reality, however, is that these promising treatments are difficult to develop.

One of the challenges is identifying a discrete cellular target to stop cancer growth without inactivating the immune system. Scientists at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center report a laboratory finding that has the potential to increase the effectiveness of therapeutic cancer vaccines.

The team found that the absence of the function of a protein called NLRP3 can result in a four-fold increase in a tumor's response to a therapeutic cancer vaccine. If this finding proves consistent, it may be a key to making cancer vaccines a realistic treatment option. Their findings were published in the Dec. 15, 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Jonathan Serody, MD, a study author, explains, "This finding suggests an unexpected role for NLRP3 in vaccine development and gives us a potentially pharmacologic target to increase vaccine efficacy."

The research team was headed by co-leaders of the UNC Lineberger Immunology Program: Serody, MD, an expert in tumor immunology, and Jenny Ting, PhD, a pioneer in understanding the NLR family of proteins. Serody is the Elizabeth Thomas Professor of Hematology and Oncology. Ting is UNC Alumni Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Inflammation Center at UNC.

The team discovered that deleting the NLRP3 proteins reduced the supply of a tumor-associated cell called myeloid-derived suppressors, making them five times less effective in reaching the site of tumor growth. Researchers working with Serody had previously shown that these myeloid cells are critically important as they allow the tumor to evade a beneficial immune response. This finding is the first to link immature myeloid cells, NLRP3, and the response to cancer vaccines.

Serody says, "We had originally thought inactivating the NLRP3 protein would decrease the immune system's ability to respond to cancer because NLRP3 is important in alerting immune cells to changes in the environment the immune response to cancer. Instead what we found was that by inactivating these proteins, the tumor vaccine was made more effective because fewer myeloid-derived suppressor cells were available to promote tumor growth and reduce the efficacy of the vaccine."

At present, there is only one FDA-approved cancer vaccine called Provenge, used to treat advanced prostate cancer. Provenge has been shown to extend survival by three to four months.

Vaccines are difficult to make. Because a vaccine is person-specific, made with the individual's immune cells, the production process requires that the individual's cells are isolated and shipped to the company for vaccine production. As a result, the vaccines are expensive. Provenge costs approximately $100,000 for three treatments.

"A vaccine is not like a pill that can be manufactured in bulk," Serody explains. "And, it's not like developing a vaccine against a virus such as polio or smallpox. Cancer cells look a lot like regular cells, so it is hard to trick the body into thinking cancer cells are 'foreign.' Our hope is that our findings and future work in this area will enable us to develop more effective vaccines against many types of cancer. "

Other UNC authors are Hendrik W. van Deventer, MD, assistant professor of medicine; Joseph E. Burgents, former UNC graduate student, now a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Qing Ping Wu, research specialist; Rita-Marie T. Woodford, research assistant in the UNC School of Dentistry; W. June Brickey, research assistant professor of microbiology and immunology; Irving C. Allen, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, UNC Lineberger; and Erin McElvania-Tekippe, former UNC graduate student, now a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.

Dianne Shaw | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

Further reports about: Immunology NLRP3 UNC cancer vaccines immune cell immune response immune system tumor growth

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>