|Illustration depicts a nanolipogel administering immunotherapy drugs. The light-blue spheres within the blood vessels and the cutaway sphere in the foreground are the nanolipogels. (Illustration by Nicolle Rager Fuller, NSF)|
Scientists at Yale University (New Haven, CT) have developed a new biodegradable nanoparticle that delivers a combination of two very different therapeutic agents to tumor sites. Released gradually into the tumor vasculature, the agents include a large soluble protein called a cytokine, which stimulates the body’s innate immune response, and a small-molecule inhibitor, which interferes with the tumor’s ability to suppress the immune response.
As reported in the journal Nature Materials, the main challenge the researchers faced was devising a particle that enabled gradual, sustained release of two therapeutic agents with very different properties. While the protein readily dissolves in the body, the small-molecule drug does not.
In tests on live mice, the double-loaded particle, called a nanogel, significantly delayed tumor growth and increased survival, the researchers report. They administered the nanogels intravenously and, in separate experiments, directly into the tumors. Further animal tests are planned.