Nanoparticles Awake the Immune System

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 23 August 2013
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: ACS Nano/ACS Publications
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: Nanoparticles Awake the Immune System

Cancer cells use numerous mechanisms to escape from the detection of the immune system. Thus, helping the immune system to recognize and kill tumor cells is an emerging strategy to fight cancer.

According to Sean Marrache and colleagues, University of Georgia, USA, this aim can be achieved using nanoparticles. The researchers produced poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-b-polyethylenglycol nanoparticles and used them to deliver zinc phthalocyanine (pictured) into cancer cells. This compound is a photosensitizer and, after exposure to light, it generates reactive oxygen species that kill tumor cells. When killed through this mechanism, cancer cells release molecules that, in vitro, stimulated and activated immune cells to recognize and attack the tumor.

This novel approach could be used to develop new anti-cancer vaccines.

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