DEC 27, 2021 3:00 AM PST

Improving Immunotherapy with a Novel Nanoparticle

WRITTEN BY: Katie Kokolus

Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) occurs in cancer patients experiencing a buildup of fluid and tumor cells in the pleural cavity, the area between the chest wall and lungs. While various types of cancer can cause MPE, it is most common in women with breast cancer and men with lung cancer. Still, cases also develop in patients with lymphoma and cancers of the genitourinary and gastrointestinal tracts.  

Despite many beneficial advances in treating primary cancer, the prognosis for patients with MPE remains poor, with median survival ranging from 3 to 12 months post-diagnosis. Many clinical factors influence an individual’s prognosis, including the underlying cancer type, the progression of the primary tumor, and the patient’s comorbidities.  

Because MPE presents with late-stage disease, treatment is primarily palliative, aiming to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from this malignancy. Treating MPE is challenging because both fluid and tumor cells prevent efficient drug delivery, so there is a critical need for more unique therapeutic options. Researchers are looking to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) to bring some clinical benefit to patients suffering from MPE.  

Recent clinical trials suggest that MPE may be susceptible to ICI approaches; however, only a small subset of patients experience clinical benefit. A new study published in Nature Nanotechnology demonstrates a new technology that could greatly increase the number of MPE patients who respond favorably to ICI treatment.  

The researchers capitalized on previous observations noting the accumulation of immunosupressive cells, which inhibit the anti-tumor immune response, in the pleural cavity of MPE patients. The researchers developed a nanoparticle named liposomal cyclic dinucleotide (LNP-CDN) to address this therapeutically.  

LNP-CDN targets a critical immune pathway called stimulator of interferon genes (STING). The study demonstrated that activation of STING by LNP-CND reprogramed immune cells, which suppress anti-tumor immunity to active tumor-fighting immune cells. In addition, LNP-CND promoted the expansion of CD8+ effector T cells, a subset of anti-tumor immune cells integral for cancer cell killing.  

The study also showed that LNP-CDN significantly enhanced the efficacy of an ICI, which blocks the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway. When combined with anti-PD-L1 therapy, LNP-CDN suppressed the growth of tumors in the pleural cavity of mice with MPE. Additionally, this combination approach reduced the volume of fluid in mice with MPE.  Notably, the mice treated with anti-PD-L1 and LNP-CDN demonstrated prolonged survival compared to those receiving either therapeutic component alone.  

The study concluded by demonstrating that LNP-CDN promoted an anti-tumor environment, including activated CD8+ effector T cells, in MPE samples extracted from patients.  This evidence strongly supports the need for further investigation of LNP-CDN in MPE clinical trials. 

 

Sources: Am Thoracic Soc, Thorax, J Thoracic Disease, JAMA Oncology, Nature Nanotechnol, Oncoimmunology, J Hemat Oncol

About the Author
PhD
PhD in Tumor Immunology. I am interested in developing novel strategies to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies used to extend cancer survivorship.
You May Also Like
FEB 03, 2022
Immunology
Violet Extract Boosts Brain Cancer Drug's Performance
FEB 03, 2022
Violet Extract Boosts Brain Cancer Drug's Performance
Cyclotides are small, ring-shaped proteins produced by plants to defend themselves from certain insect pests and bacteri ...
FEB 07, 2022
Cancer
Clinical Trial Demonstrates Beneficial Responses against a Rare form of Ovarian Cancer
FEB 07, 2022
Clinical Trial Demonstrates Beneficial Responses against a Rare form of Ovarian Cancer
Oncologists have identified five diverse subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancers: epithelial ovarian cancers as ...
MAR 21, 2022
Cancer
New Combination Therapy Effective in Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer
MAR 21, 2022
New Combination Therapy Effective in Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer
Like all cancers, prostate cancer has many classifications and subtypes. One such type is metastatic, hormone-sensitive ...
MAR 25, 2022
Cancer
What is the Cancer Moonshot?
MAR 25, 2022
What is the Cancer Moonshot?
On January 12, 2017, in his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced a “moonshot” ...
APR 11, 2022
Cancer
What is a Cancer Center?
APR 11, 2022
What is a Cancer Center?
Over 50 years ago, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971, a landmark piece of legislation ...
APR 14, 2022
Cancer
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
APR 14, 2022
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
All cancers that affect the oral cavity and back of the throat, known as the oropharyngeal, are grouped as Oral Can ...
Loading Comments...