BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and U.S. scientists have proposed a new drug delivery system that can improve immune therapy treatment for brain cancer.
The researchers from Shandong University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison designed an injectable hydrogel that contains nanoparticles targeting the glioma stem cells.
Glioma stem cells are known to be the main culprits for the recurrence of glioblastoma, a highly invasive tumor in the brain, after surgical removal of the initial tumor.
Nanoparticles within the proposed hydrogel can create chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) macrophages in situ after being injected into the resection cavity, according to the study published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The macrophage is a large cell that is able to remove harmful substances from the body, and is found in blood and tissue.
Such modified macrophages can seek and engulf residual glioma stem cells in the cavity by stimulating an adaptive antitumor immune response, according to the study.
In a preclinical humanized mouse model, the drug delivery system was shown to prevent post-operative glioma relapse by inducing long-term antitumor immunity in mice.
Also, in combination with an antibody called CD47, the hydrogel increased the frequency of positive immune responding cells in rodents, according to the study.
The work offers a potential treatment strategy for priming cancer stem cell-specific immunity with broad application in patients suffering from recurrent malignancies and warrants further clinical study, said the paper's co-corresponding author, Jiang Xinyi, a professor at Shandong University. ■