Why Nanodiscs Might Be a Way to Create a Cancer Vaccine

January 18, 2017 5:00 am
Pancreatic cancer cells completing cell division. (Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Dr. Stanley Flegler)
Pancreatic cancer cells completing cell division. (Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Dr. Stanley Flegler)
A cancer vaccine may eventually be able to prevent cancer in human beings, such as pancreatic cancer (seen here completing cell division). (Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Dr. Stanley Flegler)


Maybe your immune system was capable of preventing cancer all along: It just needed a little guidance. Researchers at the University of Michigan have been doing work suggesting just that, which could make a cancer vaccine possible.

“The holy grail in cancer immunotherapy is to eradicate tumors and prevent future recurrence without systemic toxicity, and our studies have produced very promising results in mice,” declares James Moon, one of the authors of the study. Moon and the rest of the team found that they were able to “train” the immune systems of mice so that they could better target cancer cells. The result was that most of the tumors were killed off within 10 days. Even more encouragingly, the body wouldn’t let them reappear, even months later.

“This suggests the immune system ‘remembered’ the cancer cells for long-term immunity,” says the study’s lead author, Rui Kuai. The result could be a cancer vaccine for colon and melanoma cancers. (Which were the two types of cancer in the mice featured in the study.)

Nanodiscs made of high-density lipoproteins and measuring a mere 10 nanometers wide were used to introduce a small amount of biomarkers of the cancer. This inspires the body to build its defenses, keeping away the cancer.

To learn more about the potentially revolutionary cancer vaccine, click here. To better visualize nanodiscs, watch the video below.

—RealClearLife Staff

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