University of Iowa researchers create nanoparticle-vaccine combination to target melanoma

Source: IOWA Now, July 2022

Cancers in humans have all sorts of ways to survive and thrive: Cells and tumors alike engage in devious means to deflect, deceive, and evade detection by our bodies’ immune systems.

Take how they fend off anti-cancer vaccines, for example. Cancer cells in the body, whether singularly or consolidated, essentially cloak themselves through chemical secretions to remain camouflaged to agents in the vaccines that otherwise would trigger an all-out attack from the body’s immune system. The fact that the body’s immune system largely can’t “see” cancer is a major reason why cancer treatments resort to indiscriminate warfare that kills healthy and cancerous cells alike.

Pharmaceutical scientists at the University of Iowa may have discovered a new strategy to overcome cancer’s ingenious defenses. In a new study, the researchers found that charged nanoparticles combined with a vaccine were effective in eliminating tumors or extending life span in cancerous mice.