Polymeric Nanoparticles for Tumor Vaccines. ‘The quest for an effective antitumor vaccine has received a boost from the results of work aimed at developing a nanoparticle that delivers tumor antigens to the immune system cells that trigger antibody production. The results of this effort, led by Shinsaku Nakagawa, Ph.D., and Naoki Okada, Ph.D., of Osaka University in Japan, were published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
Vaccines are complex preparations of proteins and other materials designed to produce maximal immune response to those proteins. One factor that determines a vaccine’s potency is the ability of this mixture to trigger a recognition event between the protein antigen and immune system cells known as antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Using the biocompatible polymer poly(y-glutamic acid), the investigators were able to create self-assembling nanoparticles that entrap proteins as they form. The resulting nanoparticles were relatively stable, releasing their protein content over the course of a month. The investigators also demonstrated that they could freeze-dry these nanoparticles and reconstitute them without altering the functionality of the entrapped protein, a desirable property for any vaccine vehicle designed for use outside of major medical centers.’