Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Football-shaped particles bolster the body's defense against cancer

T-cells (red) are activated more robustly when they interact with artificial antigen-presenting cells (green) that are elongated (right) versus round (left).

Credit: Karlo Perica
T-cells (red) are activated more robustly when they interact with artificial antigen-presenting cells (green) that are elongated (right) versus round (left).

Credit: Karlo Perica

Abstract:
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have succeeded in making flattened, football-shaped artificial particles that impersonate immune cells. These football-shaped particles seem to be better than the typical basketball-shaped particles at teaching immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells in mice.

Football-shaped particles bolster the body's defense against cancer

Baltimore, MD | Posted on October 14th, 2013

"The shape of the particles really seems to matter because the stretched, ellipsoidal particles we made performed much better than spherical ones in activating the immune system and reducing the animals' tumors," according to Jordan Green, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a collaborator on this work. A summary of the team's results was published online in the journal Biomaterials on Oct. 5.

According to Green, one of the greatest challenges in the field of cancer medicine is tracking down and killing tumor cells once they have metastasized and escaped from a tumor mass. One strategy has been to create tiny artificial capsules that stealthily carry toxic drugs throughout the body so that they can reach the escaped tumor cells. "Unfortunately, traditional chemotherapy drugs do not know healthy cells from tumor cells, but immune system cells recognize this difference. We wanted to enhance the natural ability of T-cells to find and attack tumor cells," says Jonathan Schneck, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, medicine and oncology.

In their experiments, Schneck and Green's interdisciplinary team exploited the well-known immune system interaction between antigen-presenting cells (APC) and T-cells. APCs "swallow" invaders and then display on their surfaces chewed-up protein pieces from the invaders along with molecular "danger signals." When circulating T-cells interact with APCs, they learn that those proteins come from an enemy, so that if the T-cells see those proteins again, they divide rapidly to create an army that attacks and kills the invaders.

According to Schneck, to enhance this natural process, several laboratories, including his own, have made various types of "artificial APCs" — tiny inanimate spheres "decorated" with pieces of tumor proteins and danger signals. These are then often used in immunotherapy techniques in which immune cells are collected from a cancer patient and mixed with the artificial APCs. When they interact with the patient's T-cells, the T-cells are activated, learn to recognize the tumor cell proteins and multiply over the course of several days. The immune cells can then be transferred back into the patient to seek out and kill cancer cells.

The cell-based technique has had only limited success and involves risks due to growing the cells outside the body, Green says. These downsides sparked interest in the team to improve the technique by making biodegradable artificial APCs that could be administered directly into a potential patient and that would better mimic the interactions of natural APCs with T-cells. "When immune cells in the body come in contact, they're not doing so like two billiard balls that just touch ever so slightly," explains Green. "Contact between two cells involves a significant overlapping surface area. We thought that if we could flatten the particles, they might mimic this interaction better than spheres and activate the T-cells more effectively."

To flatten the particles, two M.D./Ph.D. students, Joel Sunshine and Karlo Perica, figured out how to embed a regular batch of spherical particles in a thin layer of a glue-like compound. When they heated the resulting sheet of particles, it stretched like taffy, turning the round spheres into tiny football shapes. Once cooled, the film could be dissolved to free each of the microscopic particles that could then be outfitted with the tumor proteins and danger signals. When they compared typical spherical and football-shaped particles — both coated with tumor proteins and danger signals at equivalent densities and mixed with T-cells in the laboratory — the T-cells multiplied many more times in response to the stretched particles than to spherical ones. In fact, by stretching the original spheres to varying degrees, they found that, up to a point, they could increase the multiplication of the T-cells just by lengthening the "footballs."

When the particles were injected into mice with skin cancer, the T-cells that interacted with the elongated artificial APCs, versus spherical ones, were also more successful at killing tumor cells. Schneck says that tumors in mice that were treated with round particles reduced tumor growth by half, while elongated particles reduced tumor growth by three-quarters. Even better, he says, over the course of a one-month trial, 25 percent of the mice with skin cancer being treated with elongated particles survived, while none of the mice in the other treatment groups did.

According to Green, "This adds an entirely new dimension to studying cellular interactions and developing new artificial APCs. Now that we know that shape matters, scientists and engineers can add this parameter to their studies," says Green. Schneck notes, "This project is a great example of how interdisciplinary science by two different groups, in this case one from biomedical engineering and another from pathology, can change our entire approach to tackling a problem. We're now continuing our work together to tweak other characteristics of the artificial APCs so that we can optimize their ability to activate T-cells inside the body."

###

This work was supported by grants from the Johns Hopkins University Institute for NanoBioTechnology, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (AI072677, AI44129), the National Cancer Institute (CA108835) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (EB016721).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Catherine Kolf

443-287-2251

Vanessa McMains
410-502-9410


Shawna Williams
410-955-8236

Copyright © Johns Hopkins Medicine

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Link to article:

Schneck Lab:

Green Lab:

Related News Press

News and information

PetLife Comments on CNN Story on Scorpion Venom Health Benefits August 27th, 2014

Nanodiamonds Are Forever: A UCSB professor’s research examines 13,000-year-old nanodiamonds from multiple locations across three continents August 27th, 2014

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. to Present at Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference August 27th, 2014

Nanotech Security Corp. to Acquire Fortress Optical Features Ltd., a Leading Producer of Banknote Security Features August 27th, 2014

Nanomedicine

PetLife Comments on CNN Story on Scorpion Venom Health Benefits August 27th, 2014

The thunder god vine, assisted by nanotechnology, could shake up future cancer treatment: Targeted therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma using nanotechnology August 27th, 2014

Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle: Versatile particles offer a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic applications August 26th, 2014

Symphony of nanoplasmonic and optical resonators leads to magnificent laser-like light emission August 26th, 2014

Discoveries

The thunder god vine, assisted by nanotechnology, could shake up future cancer treatment: Targeted therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma using nanotechnology August 27th, 2014

Creation of a Highly Efficient Technique to Develop Low-Friction Materials Which Are Drawing Attention in Association with Energy Issues August 26th, 2014

Competition for Graphene: Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate Ultrafast Charge Transfer in New Family of 2D Semiconductors August 26th, 2014

Symphony of nanoplasmonic and optical resonators leads to magnificent laser-like light emission August 26th, 2014

Announcements

Nanodiamonds Are Forever: A UCSB professor’s research examines 13,000-year-old nanodiamonds from multiple locations across three continents August 27th, 2014

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. to Present at Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference August 27th, 2014

Nanotech Security Corp. to Acquire Fortress Optical Features Ltd., a Leading Producer of Banknote Security Features August 27th, 2014

Malvern specialists to deliver inaugural short course on polymer characterization at Interplas 2014 August 27th, 2014

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals

The thunder god vine, assisted by nanotechnology, could shake up future cancer treatment: Targeted therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma using nanotechnology August 27th, 2014

Scientists craft atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions August 26th, 2014

Competition for Graphene: Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate Ultrafast Charge Transfer in New Family of 2D Semiconductors August 26th, 2014

Symphony of nanoplasmonic and optical resonators leads to magnificent laser-like light emission August 26th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Rice physicist emerges as leader in quantum materials research: Nevidomskyy wins both NSF CAREER Award and Cottrell Scholar Award August 20th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Receives the 2014 Microscopy Today Innovation Award for blueDrive Photothermal Excitation August 18th, 2014

AQUANOVA receives Technology Leadership Award 2014 FROST & SULLIVAN honors NovaSOL® Technology again August 12th, 2014

Focal blood-brain-barrier disruption with high-frequency pulsed electric fields August 12th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

The channel that relaxes DNA: Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels: Instructions for use August 20th, 2014

Сalculations with Nanoscale Smart Particles August 19th, 2014

Interaction between Drug, DNA for Designing Anticancer Drugs Studied in Iran August 17th, 2014

Scientists fold RNA origami from a single strand: RNA origami is a new method for organizing molecules on the nanoscale. Using just a single strand of RNA, this technique can produce many complicated shapes. August 14th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE