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Immune Stimulatory Antigen Loaded Particles (ISAPS) for the Treatment of Solid Childhood Tumors

Children’s National Medical Center
Suzanne Miles
Grant Type: 
Young Investigator Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Neuroblastoma, General Pediatric Cancer
Project Description: 

Current methods for treating tumors include surgery, chemo-therapy and radiation therapy. Immune therapy is a fourth dimension to cancer therapy that has great potential, but this potential is as yet unmet. We propose that a powerful immune response can be generated against a tumor by targeting specific cells of the immune system. These immune cells are involved in the immune response to fight "foreign bodies". We have evidence that specialized receptors and cells can be stimulated in the patient to shape the ideal immune response against a tumor. Stimulating these receptors and cells will allow the immune system to recognize the tumor as a "foreign body" in a manner similar to that of bacterial or viral infections.

Our preliminary studies show that such immune stimulation works in slowing tumor growth. We have developed small synthetic particles (microparticles) that we load with tumor antigens and immune stimulating agents. We have  named these particles immune stimulatory antigen loaded particles (ISAPs). These microparticles are capable of blocking the growth of tumors by inducing the activation of immune cells that then in turn stimulate the immune system to specifically kill the tumor whose antigens match those that are loaded in the particles. We aim to develop and optimize our vaccine particles based on molecular and cellular studies in mice. The long-term objective of this grant is to develop a potent tumor vaccine that works by stimulating the patient's own immune system to kill the tumor. The findings from the proposed research will help explain how a novel tumor vaccine works in mice with established neuroblastoma.