As of 2020, an estimated 18.8 million people worldwide had cancer. The deadly disease takes millions of lives each year, with the United States losing more than 600,000 yearly to cancer deaths. Although scientists have worked tirelessly for years to develop a cure for cancer with little success, there are several treatments that can reduce the growth of the cancer and increase the lifespan of cancer patients.
Efforts to develop cancer vaccines have been equally unsuccessful — that is until the Tufts School of Engineering revealed that it may have found a way to halt tumors in their tracks and prevent them from growing again. Researchers from the institute have come up with a method of targeting cancer cells in mice that is so effective it can eliminate tumors in the animals and prevent them from recurring in the future. The cancer vaccine shares a major similarity with the COVID vaccines that were developed by Moderna and Pfizer to prevent infection by the coronavirus.
Like the COVID vaccines, the new cancer vaccine delivers mRNA, which basically teaches cells how to fight cancer cells, inside a fat molecule (lipid). The tiny lipid bubble or nanoparticles fuse with cells and allow them to “read” the mRNA within. The mRNA “teaches” cells how to make viral antigens that activate the immune system. This essentially trains the immune cells to fight cancer cells, making the eventual immune response to cancer much more potent and effective.
Professor of biomedical engineering Qiaobing Xu said that he and his colleagues are now developing next-generation mRNA vaccines by leveraging nanoparticle delivery technology. Xu explained that they were able to overcome many of the challenges that are common in cancer vaccine development by specifically targeting the lymphatic system where the body’s immune cells are “trained.”
The lymphatic system plays a critical role in the body’s immune response because that is where immune cells acquire immunity against foreign antigens. In simple terms, the lymphatic system can be seen as the boot camp where T cells and B cells are trained to attack and destroy foreign antigens.
The new cancer vaccine is so effective because it zeroes in on the lymphatic system, fusing with the cells and showing them how to fight cancer cells. Sending the vaccine to the lymph nodes allowed for much greater absorption by dendritic cells and macrophages, resulting in a significantly more potent immune response.
The researchers published their findings in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” journal.
The future of cancer treatment looks immensely promising given all the companies, such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP), that are devoting resources to finding a better understanding of how various cancers can be treated effectively.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP
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