- Jun 04,2023
- Posted by: Savion
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a small device the size of a pencil eraser, which has contributed to enhancing the body's response to fight cancerous tumors in mice, in addition to preventing their recurrence.
Here are the details of the study.
Scientists at UCLA Hospitals in Los Angeles developed and studied a small implantable device called SymphNode.
This device is designed to attack cancer cells by utilizing immune cells in the body.
In laboratory experiments conducted on mice and published in the scientific journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers observed that this device helped treat solid tumors and reduce their spread, in addition to preventing the formation of new tumors.
Consequently, it increased the survival rate of mice.
It's worth mentioning that many solid tumors usually resist cancer treatments by employing a mechanism that attacks the body itself.
These tumors surround themselves with white blood cells known as T-cells, which ultimately hinder the body's defense against the disease.
Adopting a therapeutic strategy that disables T-cells to treat cancerous tumors can lead to serious problems because T-cells are crucial for protecting healthy tissues.
If these cells are disabled, it can affect the entire body, causing it to attack all cells, including the healthy ones, resulting in damage and harm to certain organs such as the colon, liver, heart, and others.
Manish Butte, a co-author from UCLA, noted, "Eliminating or neutralizing regulatory T-cells inside the tumor is a pivotal step.
" Richard Stiehm, a professor of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology in children at UCLA, added, "All solid tumors contain high levels of T-cells, which limit our ability to treat cancer.
It is the main reason for 91% of cancer-related deaths."
The small SymphNode device is made from biodegradable materials such as alginate. It is surgically implanted directly next to the tumor and works to stimulate the body's immune response to fight cancer in several ways:
Firstly, the device gradually releases a specific drug that inhibits regulatory T-cells surrounding the tumor.
At the same time, the device attracts and enhances the function of cancer-resistant cells to eliminate these tumors without causing any health problems to the body.
The material used in this device somewhat resembles lymph nodes, which provide a suitable environment for cancer-resistant cells. Additionally, the device contains pores lined with antibodies that enhance the activity of these cells.
Researchers tested the SymphNode device on two groups of mice:
The first group consisted of mice with breast cancer, and the device reduced tumors in 80% of the affected mice and completely prevented their spread.
Untreated mice in this group had cancer spread to the brain and lymph nodes, resulting in death within a few weeks.
Furthermore, researchers observed that when the device was implanted next to one breast cancer tumor, it also halted the growth of another cancerous tumor in a different location in the body simultaneously.
The second group included mice with skin cancer. The device reduced the tumor by 100% and decreased the tumors to undetectable levels in 40% of the cases in this group.
Another positive outcome of this study was that the survival rate of mice in both groups significantly increased, almost doubling the lifespan of untreated mice.
Moreover, the previous experiment showed that mice treated with breast cancer using the SymphNode device resisted the growth of a second cancerous tumor that was injected after 100 days from the first tumor treatment.
This indicates that this treatment is capable of reducing the risk of cancer recurrence.
Butte stated, "The reason behind this is the activity of memory T-cells, which are immune cells trained during the treatment of the first tumor to recognize cancer in case of its recurrence.
" He added, "There are very few cancer treatments, if any, that.