A joint Korean and U.S. research team has successfully developed a material to deliver a 3D vaccine that can more effectively treat diseases like cancer or infections by activating immune cells through injection.
Kim Jae-yoon, professor of the School of Chemical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University, announced on Dec. 14 that a joint research team consisting of Korean and U.S. scientists has succeeded in developing a material to deliver 3D vaccine that can control immune cells through a simple injection without a surgery using mesoporous silica rods (MSRs), in partnership with David J. Mooney, professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
There are MSRs in the material, which have hundreds of thousand s of nanopores. When injected into the body, MSRs self-assemble, forming a 3D structure that resembles a pile of matchsticks. Inside the 3D structure, numerous µm-sized spaces are created, where µm-sized immune cells can settle.
The research team explains that different types of functional drugs can be injected into the structure. When immune cell-inducing drugs are injected, they attract and mature a large amount of immature immune cells inside the 3D structure, thereby activating them.
After injecting an MSR-based vaccine formulation, and then cancer cells, into a mouse, they found that dendritic cells gathered inside the 3D structure and controlled the cancer cells as a result.
Dendritic cells discover and mark pathogens like cancer cells, and notify the B cells or T cells of the immune system about them. MSRs are made of biodegradable silica, and thus they are not harmful to the human body. Once accomplishing their mission, they dissolve themselves within a month.
The research findings were first published online on Dec. 8 by Nature Biotechnology, a scientific journal published monthly by the Nature Publishing Group.