A Cancer Vaccine Could be Coming

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
A golden nanostar, seen here under an electron microscope, is a key part of a new ...
A golden nanostar, seen here under an electron microscope, is a key part of a new treatment that might eventually lead to a cancer vaccine (Credit: Duke University)

In experiments on mice, researchers at Duke University have found that combining two different techniques for fighting cancer is more effective than either treatment is on its own. In one case, the mouse’s immune system not only destroyed the tumor, but stayed strong enough to ward off a later injection of cancer cells, raising hopes that the strategy could one day lead to a viable cancer vaccine.

The two techniques used in the new study take very different approaches to combat cancer. One is a drug that blocks the production of PD-L1 – molecules produced in great numbers by tumors that attack and kill T cells, the foot-soldiers of the immune system.

The second is called photothermal therapy, which is based around star-shaped nanoparticles made of gold. These nanostars are injected into the patient, where they tend to cluster inside tumors, and once there, they’re blasted with lasers from outside the body. That heats up the gold and roasts the cancer cells from the inside. Golden nanostars have been used in the past to deliver drugs right into the heart of tumors, but in this case that all-important shape helps capture the energy of the laser more efficiently.

“The nanostar spikes work like lightning rods, concentrating the electromagnetic energy at their tips,” says Tuan Vo-Dinh, lead author of the study. “We’ve experimented with these gold nanostars to treat tumors before, but we wanted to know if we could also treat tumors we didn’t even know were there or tumors that have spread throughout the body.”

Continue reading

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).