Rice lab’s injectable gel feeds steady dose of drugs to tumor cells
An immunotherapy drug embedded in a slow-release hydrogel invented at Rice University in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) appears to be highly effective at killing cancer cells.
STINGel combines a new class of immunotherapy drugs called stimulator of interferon gene (STING) agonists with an injectable hydrogel that releases the drug in a steady dose to activate the immune system to kill cancer cells. It was developed by the Rice lab of chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink and Rice alum Simon Young, an assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at UTHealth.
In clinical trials, immunotherapy drugs have demonstrated strong cancer-fighting abilities. Research has also found that the drugs are flushed quickly from the body, and current trials require multiple injections.
The new research, which is detailed in Biomaterials, showed that slow-release peptide gels could continuously deliver immunotherapy drugs to tumor sites for long periods of time.
Hartgerink is a pioneer in the development of self-assembling multidomain peptide (MDP) hydrogels, which mimic the body’s extracellular matrix to encourage the growth of cells and vascular systems for tissue repair. The hydrogel is injected as a liquid, turns semisolid inside the body and slowly degrades over time.
The hydrogel in the new study is also welcoming to cells, but when the invaders are cancer cells, they’re in for trouble. Immunotherapy drugs known as cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs) await them inside the gel.
Hartgerink, a professor of chemistry and bioengineering, said the concentration of CDN in the hydrogel is important.
“The normal approach to CDN delivery is simple injection, but this leads to very rapid diffusion of the drug throughout the body and reduces its concentration at the site of the tumor to very low levels,” he said. “Using the same amount of CDN, the STINGel approach allows the concentration of CDN near the tumor to remain much higher for long periods of time.”
STINGel was studied both in lab cultures and in vivo. For the in vivo portion, six groups of 10 rodents each were treated with CDN alone, control collagens alone or with CDN, MDP alone or STINGel (CDN plus MDP). Only one in 10 CDN or collagen plus CDN animals survived 105 days, but six of 10 animals treated with STINGel survived. These also proved resistant to further implantation of cancer cells, meaning their immune systems were trained to successfully identify and destroy both the existing cancer and future occurrence of that cancer, Hartgerink said.
The lab tested more common hydrogels but found that they were unable to provide the same controlled release and also failed to provide an additional benefit over CDN treatment seen in clinical trials. “The MDP hydrogel provides a unique environment for the release of CDN that other gels just can’t match,” Hartgerink said.
“The CDN we used in this study is currently in clinical trials,” he said. “We think that our STINGel approach has the potential to significantly broaden the scope of this powerful immunotherapy drug to a larger range of resistant cancers.”
The Latest on: Cancer immunotherapy
- Using anti-cancer immunotherapy to fight HIV on February 18, 2019 at 10:03 am
MONTREAL, Feb. 18, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have shown that immunotherapy treatments against cancer could reduce the amount of vi... […]
- Combination of PARP inhibitor and immunotherapy results in tumor regression in SCLC mouse models on February 18, 2019 at 12:01 am
The preclinical research, published today in Cancer Discovery, suggest that the PARP inhibitor olaparib and other DDR inhibitors induce a rapid immune response and sensitize SCLC cells to immunotherap... […]
- Preclinical research finds new approach to treating aggressive cancer on February 17, 2019 at 11:59 pm
However, the benefits are minimal for patients. "While the use of immunotherapy has revolutionized the way we treat lung cancer, we find that small cell lung cancers can escape the immune system ... […]
- Drug combinations could become first-line treatment for metastatic kidney cancer on February 17, 2019 at 9:47 pm
A combination of two drugs - one of them an immunotherapy agent - could become a new standard, first-line treatment for patients with metastatic kidney cancer, says an investigator from Dana-Farber Ca... […]
- Medicare May Start Covering Gene Immunotherapy Cancer Treatments on February 15, 2019 at 5:54 pm
The Center for Medicare and Medicare Services is proposing to cover new, expensive gene immunotherapy treatments for cancer...with some stipulations. Watch TV shows, movies and more on Yahoo View. Abo... […]
- Cancer Immunotherapy Market to Hit $117,114 Million by 2022 : Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow with Highest CAGR during forecast period on February 15, 2019 at 11:48 am
Cancer immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the human bodys natural immune system to fight against the cancer cells. This therapy is provided to cancer patients to stop the spread o... […]
- Novel immunotherapy prevents cervical, lung cancer in mice on February 15, 2019 at 6:55 am
Researchers at the University of Louisville have been testing a protein-based molecule they originally developed to boost the power of T cells in treating cancer. But in the course of testing the prot... […]
- Immunotherapy for HER2-positive Breast Cancer: Recent Advances and Combination Therapeutic Approaches on February 15, 2019 at 6:16 am
Advances in immunotherapy are improving outcomes for patients with various cancers. In addition, the immunogenicity of breast cancer is leading to increasingly optimistic views on the use of immunothe... […]
- Combination immunotherapy promising in advanced prostate cancer on February 14, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Houston researchers are reporting promising results combining immunotherapies in advanced prostate cancer, the second success with the cutting-edge treatment in less than a week against a nasty form o... […]
- Visiongain Report Claims There is Huge Potential Within the $117bn Cancer Immunotherapy Market on February 12, 2019 at 2:00 am
LONDON, February 12, 2019 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- LONDON, February 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Cancer Immunotherapy Market Forecast 2019-2029 Monoclonal Antibodies, Cytokines & Immunomodulators ... […]
via Google News and Bing News