Immunology and Nanoengineering

Immune stimulating nanoparticles containing 6MHP (melanoma helper peptides) for targeted peptide vaccines

Craig Slinguff, Professor of Surgery – Oncology (SOM),  Mark Kester, Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacology (SOM/SEAS), Helena Snyder, Research Scientist, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (SEAS)

Cancer immunotherapy has emerged as the most effective way to control cancer and improve long-term survival in patients with many types of cancer. In particular, cancer vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells, avoiding the risk of toxicity and high costs of producing antibodies outside the body and injecting them. Clinical trials have already shown that administration of vaccines for cancer targets increase T cell (immune cell) responses, but the cellular responses are usually limited and therefore not yet optimized.

Collaborators from the UVA Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Pharmacology and Department of Surgery will test an innovative approach to enhance immune cell responsiveness to cancer vaccines specifically for melanoma.  Combining cancer treatment and immunology expertise with nanoengineering (nanoStar) places UVA at the forefront of novel cancer research that will greatly impact clinical care and cancer therapy.