'Cancer-Fighting Nanoparticle' can Shrink Tumors and Prevent Recurrence of Breast Cancer

By KM Diaz, | May 02, 2017

The nanoparticle was able to produce a potent anti-tumor immune response against HER2-positive breast cancers. (YouTube)

The nanoparticle was able to produce a potent anti-tumor immune response against HER2-positive breast cancers. (YouTube)

A newly designed 'cancer-fighting nanoparticle' aims to shrink tumors in breast cancer and prevent the recurrence of the disease.

Mayo Clinic research team developed the cancer-fighting nanoparticle. They injected the nanoparticle in mice and the tumor size decreased by 70 to 80 percent and the mice showed resistant to the future recurrence of tumors after being treated with the nanoparticle even when exposed to cancer cells after a month. The study was published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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The result indicates that the nanoparticle was able to produce a potent anti-tumor immune response against HER2-positive breast cancers. Those who have a high level of HER2 protein promotes aggressive growth and spread tumors quickly compared to those who do not have the mutation.

Betty Y.S. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist and Mayo Clinic's Florida campus and principal investigator of the study, says that these nanoparticles are different to other existing cancer immunotherapies that target only a portion of the immune system. In the newly designed cancer-fighting nanoparticle, the entire immune system is actively involved in destroying and killing the cancer cells and allows the body to make its own memory system to stop tumor recurrence.

The nanoparticle called "Multivalent Bi-specific Nano-Bioconjugate Engager" is covered with antibodies to target the HER2 receptor - a molecule found in 40 percent of breast cancers. It is also coated with molecules with two different phases of the body's immune system.

The molecules connected to the nanoparticle speed up the body's nonspecific, clean-up cells - macrophages and phagocytes - in the immune system to damage and engulf foreign materials. The nanoparticle will then cause these cells to be abundant to clear and attack the abnormal cancer cells.

After that, the clean-up cells will pass the information of the cancer cells to the T-cells in the immune system to eradicate the remaining cancer cells, while keeping a memory of the cells to prevent cancer recurrence. The nanoparticle is similar to a cancer vaccine, the cells of the body can recognize and destroy the recurrence of tumors.

The researchers will do further study to explore the ability of the nanoparticle in preventing long-term recurrence of tumors such as metastases from the primary tumor. In the future, these nanoparticles can also be expanded for different types of cancer and other diseases like neurodegenerative and neurovascular conditions. Moreover, the nanoparticle is developed to be modular to support molecules in fighting other types of disease.

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