|TITLE||Prof. Chun Gwon Park (GBME) develops an immunotherapy technology that can prevent cancer recurrence|
The team of Prof. Chun Gwon Park (Department of Biomedical Engineering at (Sungkyunkwan University) and Prof. Michael Goldberg developed (Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) a localized cancer immunotherapy that prevents tumor recurrence and metastasis after surgical removal in mice. Their findings show that applying cancer immunotherapy in conjunction with surgery could help prevent tumor metastasis, which accounts for 90% of cancer-related deaths.
Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer but the resulting healing process places stress on the body and suppresses the immune system, leading to an increased likelihood of metastasis and tumor recurrence. Previous researches have explored the possibility of using cancer immunotherapy to counter the drawbacks of surgery, but response rates are often poor and need improvement.
To address the shortcomings of both methods, Prof. Park and his colleagues created biodegradable gel discs that slowly release different types of innate immune system agonists, or molecules that trigger a response from the innate immune system. The team then implanted the discs into the surgical sites of mice with breast cancer, lung cancer or melanoma after removing their tumors and monitored the mice over the next 12 weeks. They found that mice which were implanted with gels containing agonists did not develop tumor recurrence or secondary tumors in other regions of their body, and had higher survival rates than mice that did not receive the gel discs. More importantly, the study also showed that delivering the compounds via the gel was safe and more effective in preventing tumor recurrence than intravenous administration or local injections.
“This approach has the potential to deliver immunotherapy in a manner that focuses the therapy at the site of interest within a critical time window. We are extremely encouraged by the results of this study and are hopeful that this technology will be adapted for patients and testing in clinical trials in the near future,” Prof. Park and Prof. Goldberg say.
C. G. Park, C. A. Hartl, D. Schmid, E. M. Carmona, H.-J. Kim, M. S. Goldberg, Extended release of perioperative immunotherapy prevents tumor recurrence and eliminates metastases. Sci. Transl. Med. 10, eaar1916 (2018).
Article link: http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/10/433/eaar1916
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