The scientists at the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences are exploring the use of dendritic cells that activate the antitumor response of immune system to develop a vaccine against cancer.
“The standard methods used to treat the tumor diseases, like chemo- or radiotherapy, have many negative side effects, including non-targeted action, which kill the healthy tissues. At the same time, the immunotherapy has no strong side effects, as it triggers own body resources to fight the tumor and this effect is very specific,” said Oleg Markov, the Candidate of Biological Sciences and Researcher at the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine.
The scheme for obtaining the vaccine is as follows – the peripheral blood is taken from the patient and used to obtain immature dendritic cells, which are then loaded with various tumor antigens; dendritic cells are stimulated to mature and later injected back into the body. Despite the popularity of this research area, no solution has been found so far on how to effectively deliver the antigens into dendritic cells.
The scientists at the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine are working to solve this problem. Many dendritic cells express on their surface the mannose receptors that can bind to the residues of mannose on the surface of the pathogen, and the researchers used this property to deliver the antigen into the cells. To this end, they synthesized mannosylated cationic liposomes which can deliver the nucleic acids, that encode the tumor antigens, into dendritic cells. The vaccine developed using this method was tested in mice; its use resulted in decrease of the melanoma metastases in mice by 5-6 times compared to the control group.