A novel nanovaccine has demonstrated efficacy in preventing the development of melanoma in mouse models, as well as in treating primary tumors and metastases that result from melanoma.1 This breakthrough could pave the way for a truly effective melanoma vaccine approach that may even prove useful in the most advanced stages of the disease.
“In our study, we have shown that it is possible to produce an effective nanovaccine against melanoma and to sensitize the immune system to immunotherapies,” says Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, chair of the department of physiology and pharmacology and head of the Laboratory for Cancer Research and Nanomedicine at Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel, who co-led the research.
In a collaborative effort between Prof. Satchi-Fainaro’s team and fellow colleagues from the Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), faculty of pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, researchers developed a clever nanovaccine for melanoma that achieved impressive therapeutic outcomes in mice.
After harnessing tiny particles of approximately 170 nanometers in size, made of biodegradable polymer, they packed each particle full with two peptides, or short chains of amino acids, that are also expressed in melanoma cells. The nanoparticles or “nanovaccine” were then injected in a mouse model bearing melanoma.
“The nanoparticles acted just like known vaccines for viral-borne diseases. They stimulated the immune system of the mice, and the immune cells learned to identify and attack cells containing the two peptides, that is, the melanoma cells. This meant that, from now on, the immune system of the immunized mice will attack melanoma cells if and when they appear in the body,” Prof. Satchi-Fainaro says.
1. Conniot J, Scomparin A, Peres C, Yeini E, Pozzi S, et al. Immunization with mannosylated nanovaccines and inhibition of the immune-suppressing microenvironment sensitizes melanoma to immune checkpoint modulators. Nat Nanotechnol. 2019 Sep;14(9):891-901. doi: 10.1038/s41565-019-0512-0. Epub 2019 Aug 5.