cancer treatment update

An Unusual Cancer Treatment Approach

A pioneering study led by Professor Sebyung Kang and Professor Sung Ho Park from the Department of Biological Sciences at UNIST has unveiled a ground-breaking advancement in cancer treatment. The research team has successfully developed revolutionary "NK cell-engaging nanodrones" designed to selectively target and eliminate cancer cells, offering a potential breakthrough for challenging types of cancers.

Natural killer (NK) cells, a type of innate lymphoid cells, play a crucial role in the body's immune response against cancer. Efforts to harness the power of NK cells for effective cancer therapies have been ongoing. Now, the research team has designed and created extraordinary NK cell-engaging nanodrones, referred to as NKeNDs, utilizing AaLS protein cage nanoparticles.

These innovative NKeNDs simultaneously present cancer-targeting ligands, such as HER2Afb or EGFRAfb, and NK cell-recruiting ligands, aCD16Nb, on the surface of the AaLS using the SpyCatcher/SpyTag protein ligation system. The dual ligand-displaying NKeNDs, named HER2 @NKeND and EGFR@NKeND, have demonstrated the ability to selectively bind to HER2-overexpressing SK-OV-3 cells and EGFR-overexpressing MDA-MB-468 cells, respectively, as well as human NK cells.

The physical interaction of human NK cells with the target cancer cells facilitated by the NKeNDs activates the NK cells, empowering them to efficiently eliminate the target cancer cells in vitro. Notably, in SK-OV-3 tumor-bearing mice, the administration of HER2 @NKeNDs alongside human PBMCs promotes the infiltration of activated human NK cells into the tumor sites. Consequently, tumor growth is significantly suppressed without observable side effects.

This groundbreaking study introduces a novel approach to creating cancer-specific NK cell engagers, utilizing protein cage nanoparticles and recombinant cancer cell binders. It holds tremendous potential for the selective treatment of previously challenging types of cancers.

Expressing his enthusiasm about the study, Professor Kang Se-byung stated, "This research presents new possibilities for immune treatment through NK cell delivery nanodrones, overcoming challenges such as the movement and survival of NK cells. We aim to provide new opportunities for customized treatments that selectively address various types of cancer through further research, including cancer-specific immune cell induction."

Journal Reference
Seong Guk Park, Hyo Jeong Kim, Hyun Bin Lee, et al., “Protein cage nanoparticle-based NK cell-engaging nanodrones (NKeNDs) effectively recruit NK cells to target tumor sites and suppress tumor growth,” Nano Today., (2023).

Cancer cells treatment

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