Researchers have found a new mechanism that could lead to a new weapon in the fight against cancer. The mechanism awakens body's immune system and weakens the tumor's defense systems, says a study from Yale University.
Tumors are known to overcome a person's defenses by releasing chemicals that suppress the immune system. Researchers have developed a biodegradable nanoparticle called as a "nanogel" that works in two ways. First, it has a large soluble protein called a cytokine that initiates an immune response and another molecule, inhibitor that stops the tumor from suppressing the body's defense system.
Researchers say that this new mechanism of defeating the virus is effective because it works on two levels.
“We believe this is a paradigm-changing immunotherapeutic method for cancer therapy. In essence, it’s a one-two punch strategy that seems to work well for melanoma and may work even better with other cancers," said Tarek M. Fahmy, a bioengineer at Yale and the lead investigator in the present study, according to Yale University news release.
The nanogel was tested on animal models. Researchers report that the gel was able to destroy the tumor and increase how long the mice lived.
Researchers said that one of the major problems in the study was finding the right materials; creating a chemical or particle that would release the two different therapies which serve different purposes. The first treatment is a protein that dissolves in the body and the second treatment a small drug molecule that doesn't dissolve.
All the components used in the study are already approved by U.S Food and Drug Administration, researchers said. This might help researchers get the agency's approval faster in the future.