New solid vaccine heals and protects against blood cancer

for more than 40 years, chemotherapy is considered the most effective treatment for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). But unfortunately, even after this severe for the body testing the risks of relapse remain very high: the disease is diagnosed again almost half of the patients.

we are Talking about a malignant tumor, which multiply rapidly in the “wrong” white blood cells that inhibit the development of normal blood cells. On average, patients with this disease do not live more than five years.

researchers from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University are looking for ways to extend the lives of people with AML. And they have recently developed a new type of vaccine that has shown good results in combination with chemotherapy. This approach allows us to destroy cancer cells and for some time prevents their reappearance.

As explained by the developers, the new tool works the same way as other vaccines: it trains the body’s immune system to identify “enemies” – cancer cells and stimulates it to action in their presence.

But there’s one major difference. Most are developing cancer vaccines produced in liquid form and is intended to combat so-called solid (solid) tumors. This time, scientists have created a solid a vaccine that can destroy the “fluid enemy”.

“we have Previously developed vaccines against solid tumors, but then decided to see if this technology is also effective in the treatment of blood cancers such as AML,” says co-author of Nisarg Shah (Nisarg Shah).

the New vaccine is composed of biomaterials that are embedded in disc-shaped frame of the cryogel. It contains biomolecules and antigens specific for cells of AML. All this allows to induce an immune response when they occur in the body.

First, scientists tested the vaccine in healthy mice. They introduced it in the body of rodents and watched, cause if the drug is a strong immune response by activating large number of T-CLetok.

After this, the researchers simulated the onset of AML. For this they have introduced in mice the cancer cells. All the animals who initially got the vaccine survived. The control group of rodents that have not received the drug died within 60 days.

Then the first group of mice injected cancer cells again (after 100 days). And they had discovered signs of the disease.

Experts sought as to more accurately reproduce the onset of AML. To this end, they studied the effects of vaccines on bone marrow, which is an emerging disease. It turned out that in the bone marrow of mice that had been vaccinated with a new drug, had a larger number of activated T-cells. Importantly, the researchers did not find cancer cells.

But the check for the new drug is not over. The researchers transplanted “vaccinated” the bone marrow of other rodents and introduced in their body the cancer cells. The vaccine showed promising results in this case: the recipient (animals that received bone marrow) survived. But the control group of animals in which bone marrow is not transplanted died within 30 days.

in addition, scientists have conducted experiments in which a new vaccine was combined with standard chemotherapy. The latter is often prescribed to patients with acute myeloid leukemia. This combination helped to increase the number of active T cells, which was six times more than after the traditional treatment.

Subsequently, scientists also transplanted into healthy mice bone marrow of rodents that received combined therapy. It turned out that the mice showed signs of AML within 14 days. Moreover, they survived even after their body has entered the cancer cells. The control group animals, which has not received the transplant died within 31 days.

adds Shah, in the future based on this design can be used to create personalized vaccines for humans. According to co-author the work of David Mooney (David Mooney), a new vaccine will help improve survival rates of patients with AML.

Scientific article on the results of the study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

By the way, recently, another vaccine against colon cancer tested in humans. The first clinical trials also passed a new immunotherapeutic vaccine for cancer.

Text: To.Science