In Maryland, a nanovaccine produced an immune response that specifically killed tumor tissue, while simultaneously inhibiting tumor-induced immune suppression. Together this blocked lung tumor growth in a mouse model of metastatic colon cancer. Researchers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering have developed a synergistic nanovaccine packing DNA and RNA sequences that modulate the immune response, along with anti-tumor antigens, into one small nanoparticle.
The team created what they call a “self-assembling, intertwining DNA-RNA nanocapsule loaded with tumor neoantigens.” They describe it as a synergistic vaccine because the components work together to stimulate and enhance an immune attack against a tumor.
The final step in the process is shrinking the particle, but the method for shrinking had to be engineered. By coating the particle with a positively charged polypeptide that interacts with the negatively charged DNA and RNA components the particle condenses to one-tenth of its original size.