Structures and mechanism of action of Comp-NPs for the diagnosis by imaging and treatment of tumors by multimodal photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy. a) Chemical structures of a polymer incorporating a chromophore for imaging upon irradiation at 808?nm (P1) or a photosensitizer for PDT upon irradiation at 650?nm (P2). b) Self-assembly of the polymers into the nanoparticles NP1 and NP2. The theranostic nanoparticle formulation Comp-NPs is generated by mixing NP1 and NP2. c) Biological mechanism of action of Comp-NPs by combined photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy.
Credit: Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-40826-5
An international research team headed by Dr. Johannes Karges of the Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, has developed nanoparticles that accumulate in cancer cells and eliminate them after being photoactivated.
In addition, they label them in such a way that immune cells learn to eliminate similar cells throughout the body. This means that even undetected metastases can be treated. The researchers presented their findings in the journal Nature Communications of 2 September 2023.
The malicious nature of cancers means that they spread throughout the body: cells from the primary tumor grow into surrounding tissue and travel through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to distant organs, where they form secondary metastatic tumors. “While we now have effective methods to combat primary tumors, metastases are still very difficult to treat,” explains Johannes Karges. “Ninety percent of people who die from cancer die from metastases and tumor regression, not from the primary tumor.”
Together with an international team, he’s developed a drug packaged in nanoparticles that are administered into the bloodstream. “Tumors grow rapidly and uncontrollably, and their tissue is therefore leaky,” he describes. “Unlike in healthy tissues, the nanoparticles therefore accumulate in them easily.” This also means that the particles preferentially accumulate in tumor cells.
Step one: treating a known tumor
At the time of administration, the drug is still ineffective. It only takes effect when activated with light. If there are sufficient nanoparticles in a detected tumor, they can be activated by irradiation with light, for example during surgery. After this energy supply, the active species ensures that immunogenic cell death occurs: the tumor cells containing the photoactivated nanoparticles are eliminated, and the tumor treated by this method disappears.
Step two: sending immune cells on a search
But that’s not all: the nanoparticles and their light-induced effect cause massive oxidative stress in the endoplasmic reticulum of the cells of the treated tumor. “This alerts the body’s own immune system,” explains Johannes Karges. “The immune cells recognize that something is going completely wrong in cells of this type, and that such cells therefore need to be eliminated.” This applies not only to the cells of the photo-treated tumor itself, but to all cells of the same kind throughout the body. “Accordingly, the immune system starts looking for further metastases and renders them harmless,” says Johannes Karges.
The research team proved this active principle in experiments on cancer cells and in animal models. They applied it to effectively treat mice that had been implanted with cells from metastasized and incurable human tumors. “Now, we’re looking for industrial partners who will help us undertake more in-depth studies,” says Johannes Karges. He expects that several more years of development work will be needed before the technology can be widely used in clinical applications.
Original Article: New compound unleashes the immune system on metastases
More from: Ruhr University Bochum
The Latest Updates from Bing News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Mechanoresilient cancer cells more prone to metastasis
The ability of cancer cells to metastasize, or spread from one part of the body to another, is one of the reasons why cancer can be extremely challenging to treat.
- Seagen-Merck Bladder Cancer Treatment Shows Positive Results; Seagen Shares Jump
Seagen shares jumped to an all-time high Friday after news that a joint late-stage trial of a combination of their experimental bladder cancer drug with Merck's Keytruda achieved positive results.
- Study sheds a new light on cancer metastasis
The ability of cancer cells to metastasize, or spread from one part of the body to another, is one of the reasons why cancer can be extremely challenging to treat. However, the process that drives ...
- 10 Promising Therapies for Hard-to-Treat Cancers
In honor of World Cancer Research Day, BioSpace takes a deep dive into 10 therapeutic candidates with the potential to change the treatment landscape in lung, breast, colorectal cancer and more.
- From forming embryo to cancer metastasis: The significance of collective cell movement
Against all expectations, the most common tissue in our bodies behaves differently at different length scales. That's what physicist Luca Giomi discovered in his research into the flow of cells. "Our ...
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer
Androgen deprivation is the mainstay of advanced prostate cancer treatment. Despite initial responses, almost all patients progress to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). The ...
- Brain Metastases From Prostate Cancer
Brain metastases from prostate cancer (PC) seem to be more frequent than in the past, possibly because advances in the treatment of patients with castration-resistant PC have prolonged their survival.
- Metastasis articles from across Nature Portfolio
Metastasis is the spread of cancer to a part of the body distant from the original primary cancer. This occurs through the transfer of malignant or cancerous cells via lymph or blood. The new ...
- New Compound Unleashes the Immune System on Metastases
An international research team headed by Dr. Johannes Karges of the Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, has developed nanoparticles that accumulate in cancer ...
- What to know about metastatic breast cancer in bones
Metastatic breast cancer in the bones originates from breast tissue but spreads to the bones. It is an advanced form of cancer. Treatments involve managing symptoms rather than curing the cancer ...