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 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

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: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>