Researchers Develop Nano-Vaccine to Combat Cancer

August 06, 2019

Scientists at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel have engineered a nano-vaccine for melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Their approach has apparently proven to be effective in halting the development of melanoma in mouse trials, and in treating tumours that form from the cancer.

The skin cells that produce melanin – skin pigmentation – are at risk of developing melanoma, but several factors determine the level of risk such as gender, age, race and lifestyle.

The Israeli researchers utilised tiny machines made of a biodegradable polymer, which are loaded with two peptides – short chains of amino acids – and then injected into the cancerous cells.

They tested the effectiveness of the vaccine under three conditions and each succeeded: its capacity at preventing the disease, delaying its progression and its application to melanoma on brain tumours.

Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, head researcher for the project, said: “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 melanoma.”