“We believe this is a paradigm-changing immunotherapeutic method for cancer therapy,” said Tarek M. Fahmy, a bioengineer at Yale and the project’s principal investigator. “In essence, it’s a one-two punch strategy that seems to work well for melanoma and may work even better with other cancers.”
In tests on live mice, the double-loaded particle, called a nanogel, significantly delayed tumor growth and increased survival, the researchers report. They administered the nanogels intravenously and, in separate experiments, directly into the tumors. Further animal tests are planned.
The main challenge researchers faced was devising a particle that enabled gradual, sustained release of two therapeutic agents with very different properties: the protein, which readily dissolves in the body, and the small-molecule drug, which doesn’t.
They exclusively used components already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This could potentially expedite future experiments with other ingredients and human trials, they said.
Press statement from Yale: With drug-loaded nanogel, Yale researchers attack cancerous tumors…
Abstract in Nature Materials: Combination delivery of TGF-β inhibitor and IL-2 by nanoscale liposomal polymeric gels enhances tumour immunotherapy