Nanovaccine: An immunotherapy simulation for cancer

There are millions of people around the world who are affected by cancer. Cancer can only be treated for increasing the survival period, but there is no permanent cure till date for cancer. Hence, the research on cancer to find out the best of the clinical solutions for its cure is still going on.

A group of scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas has announced the use of vaccine to treat cancer by triggering the immune system. They mainly aimed to bring in immunotherapy that is activating the immune system of the body to fight foreign bodies such as cancer. The major immune cell needed is the T-cells to target and recognize the cancer cells for destruction. Here is where the vaccine comes into play, as it has antigens or live bacteria present in them that help the body recognize and target the foreign bodies. However, the vaccines for cancer can turn out to be expensive and complicated as well as may cause certain immune-related after effects.


Keeping the vaccine concept in mind, the researchers have developed a nanovaccine using nanoparticles of synthetic polymers and also a mixture of tumor antigens. The scientists are now using nanoparticles as these individual nanoatoms can deal with the diseases within the cells. These particles transfer the antigen directly to the lymph nodes which help generate T-cells. The vaccines work by delivering the antigens into the immune cells called antigen-presenting cells, which help the antigen be recognized by the T-cells. Along with the antigen immune response, there are certain signals that can also trigger the immune response. Thus, the new nanovaccine triggers the adaptor protein known as “STING” that helps deliver the antigen to specific cellular compartments present within the antigen-presenting cells for activating the innate immune system.

According to the researchers, the cancers of the neck, head, melanoma, colorectal, cervix, and anogenital in the mouse models showed slow growth and long survival rate when treated with the nanovaccines. So, the nanovaccines combined with radiotherapy, other immunotherapy, and checkpoint inhibitors can open a new pathway for the cancer treatment in the near future.

No doubt the nanovaccines anti-tumor effectiveness is going to stir the healthcare industry in the coming years.

Navya has joined Medical Device News on the 1 January 2017 as a content writer. She has previously worked as a copyeditor and data scientist. She has recently started her career in the field of content writing due to her interest in reading and writing. She has a Master’s degree in biotechnology. Her hobbies are reading, surfing online and going on adventurous trips. She can be reached at