Researchers Develop New Vaccine to Eliminate Cancer Cells

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Researchers from University de Genève developed micro capsules from spider silk capable of eliminating cancer cells more efficiently.

Vaccines stimulate the immune system to identify and destroy tumor cells in cancer. However, the immune system does not always respond to these vaccines as desired.

Researchers from University de Genève used synthetic spider silk biopolymers to recreate a peptide with vaccine properties. The protein chains of the peptide were salted out to form injectable micro particles. These biopolymers are thin, non-toxic, and are highly resistant to degradation from light and heat. The micro particles protect the vaccine peptide from rapid degradation by forming a transport capsule and provide the peptide to the center of the lymph node cells. The process increases T lymphocyte responses to the immune system. The stimulation targets the cancer cells and eliminated them effectively. The report was published in the journal Biomaterials on June 12, 2018.

The synthetic silk biopolymer particles are highly resistant to heat and can withstand a temperature of over 100 degree C. The microcapsule strengthens the efficiency of T lymphocytes that detect the cancer cells. The process could eliminate the need for adjuvants and cold chains to develop vaccines. However, it also has certain limitations. The size of micro particles is not larger enough to incorporate them in vaccines. Further research is needed to replicate the process in peptides, which are small enough to incorporate in silk proteins. Current vaccines have limited effect on T-cells, however the new technique is crucial in developing other vaccination procedures that are less expensive and more effective on cancer.

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