[4 min read] Personalised nanovaccines for melanoma

A study has found that personalised nanovaccines are safe, well tolerated, and have an effect in melanoma.
Porous silicon and adenovirus-based bio-hybrid nanovaccines were developed in a study carried out at the University of Helsinki, providing new insights on the structure and efficacy of these systems as therapeutic cancer nanovaccines.

Immunotherapy is revolutionising cancer treatment, achieving durable and long-term responses in patients. However, due to immunotherapeutic resistance, only some patients experience a positive outcome. Combinations of immunotherapeutics can overcome the drug resistance, so the administration of a cancer vaccine or an oncolytic virus followed by immune antibodies is under investigation.
Nevertheless, there is an unmet need for powerful, safe vaccines. Nanoparticles, in particular porous silicon nanoparticles, present ideal characteristics to formulate nanovaccines, as a result of their size-specific targeting to the lymphoid organs, to their intrinsic adjuvant effect, and to the possibility to simultaneously load adjuvants and antigens.
M.Sc. Pharma Flavia Fontana describes in her doctoral thesis the development of nanovaccines from the materials to the pre-clinical proof of concept trials.
Fontana developed a bio-hybrid multistage nanovaccine formulation and evaluated its anti-cancer efficacy in murine tumour models. Fontana’s study shows that the treatment could stimulate the immune system of the mice and control melanoma tumours alone or when combined with antibodies, which are the present standard treatment. Fontana proposed bio-hybrid cell membrane technology as an innovative antigenic source.
The personalised nanovaccines described in Fontana’s thesis are safe and well tolerated. The core particle will be the same for all patients, while the cell membrane wrapping will change for each patient because it will derive from parts of their tumour biopsy.
The future developments of the nanovaccines will take them closer to the clinics by evaluating the feasibility of the approach with real patient tumours.

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Source: Fontana F., 2019. Biohybrid Cloaked Nanovaccines for Immunotherapy. Dissertationes Scholae Doctoralis Ad Sanitatem Investigandam Universitatis Helsinkiensis, 47/2019, pp.78. ISBN 987-951-51-5286-2 (Paperback), ISBN 978-951-51-5287-9 (PDF, http://ethesis.helsinki.fi), ISSN 2342-316

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