Nanobiologics in the Fight Against Cancer

How Innate Immunity Can be Educated and Re-Educated to Remember Pathogens

Before now, the held belief was that innate immunity, the first line of defense, was incapable of remembering pathogens as compared with adaptive immunity. Nanobiologic is a ground-breaking immunotherapy capable of training the innate immune system and helping it to eradicate tumor cells. A mouse melanoma model was used to show this possibility.

In recent years immunotherapy has received major attention in cancer therapy. Its mode of treatment requires activation of lymphocytes a set of immune cells produced by the body to eradicate tumor cells.

The human immune system is made up of the innate and adaptive immune systems. The innate immune system is responsible for provision of immediate response in the presence of infection and activates the adaptive immune system with the aid of antigens produced by pathogens. Adaptive immune system is capable of acquiring immunological memory against pathogens naturally or through vaccination. This ensures its ability to produce the necessary immune response to eliminate previously encountered pathogens. Recent study has demonstrated that innate immune system can be trained. A good instance is the vaccination of individuals using Bacillus-Cammette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine for tuberculosis. Innate immune cells in that study were able to acquire a primitive memory through metabolic epigenetic rewiring, which elevates cell responsiveness.

Production of innate immune cells with a trained immunity phenotype is regulated by progenitor cells in bone marrow, a group of cells capable of differentiating into suitably programmed immune cells. In cancer therapy, therapeutic targeting of trained immunity could be hugely beneficial. Nanobiologics originated from a set of highly biocompatible nanomaterials used to as a novel immunotherapy that had undergone development and preclinical evaluation. The approach was to create a library followed by extensive screening, to obtain a substance which effectively induced trained immunity and displayed high bone marrow propensity. A mouse melanoma model was used to evaluate this new therapeutic agent, the result was myelopoiesis the production of trained myeloid cells in the bone marrow More importantly was the ability of these trained myeloid cells to change the tumor microenvironment allowing immune cells to effectively combat the cancerous cells. The findings revealed that this approach could be used as a stand alone therapy in the treatment of cancer or as a combination therapy with checkpoint inhibitor drugs, a clinical cancer immunotherapy. Importantly, nanobiologic immunotherapy displayed similar characteristics in non-human primates and was found to exhibit considerably safety profile.

Trained Therapeutix Discovery a biotech startup pioneered this research and is working on the further development of the nanobiologic treatment to address some of the most recalcitrant and debilitating diseases including cancer and serious infection.

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