Scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and researchers from Harvard University and Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are working on developing a new, non-surgical cancer treatment. The scientists are working on an injection made of programmable biomaterial, that if injected into an ill patient could help prevent cancer and also some forms of infectious diseases like HIV. The new 3-D cancer vaccine could be the end of the deadliest disease known to man.
One of the scientists involved in the new cancer study, David Mooney professor at Harvard, said that his team of researchers has been working on a new cancer treatment in the form of a 3-D structure. The scientist said that the 3-D structures are very non invasive and can be delvivered through an injection. The 3-D cancer vaccine can enrich and activate the patient’s immune cells and attack cancerous cells in vivo.
The 3-D cancer vaccines contain tiny biodegradable silica structures, the scientists call “mesoporous silica rods”. These little structures are then loaded with chemical and biological drug components and delivered using a needle under the patient’s skin.
Jayeun Kim, one of the scientists involved in the developing of the 3-D anti-cancer vaccine explained:
“Nanosized mesoporous silica particles have already been established as useful for manipulating individual cells from the inside, but this is the first time that larger particles, in the micron–sized range, are used to create a 3-D in vivo scaffold that can recruit and attract tens of millions of immune cells.”
The mica is synthesized in the laboratory and built in nanopores, which are small holes. The nanopores are filled with chemicals that can treat various infections like cancer or HIV. These chemicals include cytokines, large protein antigens or oligonucleotides.
One of the authors of the new cancer study, Dr. Aileen Li said that the team of scientists are working on developing a new cancer vaccine and are hoping that in the future they can be to find cures for other deadly illnesses.
“By tuning the surface properties and pore size of the MSRs, and therefore controlling the introduction and release of various proteins and drugs, we can manipulate the immune system to treat multiple diseases.”