Nanoparticle targets tumor-infiltrating immune cells, flips switch telling them to fight

A team of Vanderbilt University bioengineers have developed technology to infiltrate tumor cells and flip on a switch that tells them to start fighting. 
The team designed a nanoscale particle to do that and found early success using it on human melanoma tissue, according to a university announcement

“Tumors are pretty conniving and have evolved many ways to evade detection from our immune system,” said John T. Wilson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and biomedical engineering. “Our goal is to rearm the immune system with the tools it needs to destroy cancer cells.

Wilson is a BMES member.

“Checkpoint blockade has been a major breakthrough, but despite the huge impact it continues to have, we also know that there are a lot of patients who don't respond to these therapies. We've developed a nanoparticle to find tumors and deliver a specific type of molecule that's produced naturally by our bodies to fight off cancer.”

His findings appeared in a paper titled “Endosomolytic Polymersomes Increase the Activity of Cyclic Dinucleotide STING Agonists to Enhance Cancer Immunotherapy” in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.