Technology holds cancer vaccine breakthrough

Technology holds cancer vaccine breakthrough

University of Queensland researchers develop vaccine technology enabling personalised delivery.

Researchers at The University of Queensland (UQ) have developed a vaccine delivery technology that enables treatment to be tailored precisely for different cancers.

UQ’s Professor Ranjeny Thomas said the technology had the potential to improve the precision of cancer immunotherapy, leading to better cancer outcomes and reduce harmful side-effects.

“Flexible cancer vaccines are a long-sought treatment strategy in cancer immunotherapy,” said Professor Thomas. “We are working towards human translation of this novel vaccine platform, which we hope will enhance our ability to safely leverage the immune system to treat cancer in adults and children.”

“Cancer vaccines represent a precision cancer treatment strategy which stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells without affecting other cells in the body.”

Professor Thomas went on to say that while a new class of immunotherapy drugs, called checkpoint inhibitors, has promising results in previously untreatable cancers, they are only effective in a limited proportion of cases, and may have inflammatory side-effects.

“Current cancer vaccines have limited flexibility and effectiveness,” Professor Thomas said.

The solution, tailored NanoEmulsion technology, results from a new approach to cancer vaccination.

“NanoEmulsions are tiny carrier packages that encapsulate proteins made only by cancer cells,” Professor Thomas said. “They are designed to target specific immune cells, which educate the immune system about cancer proteins.”  

UQ researcher Professor Riccardo Dolcetti said the process accelerated a precise immune attack on cancer cells.

“The versatility and efficacy of the new NanoEmulsion-based vaccines in mice are particularly promising building blocks to tailor vaccines to individual patients and improve personalised cancer immunotherapy in the future,” said Professor Dolcetti.

Read the paper as published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation