"The holy grail is to develop a therapy that is specific to the pathological immune response, in this case the body attacking myelin," Miller added. "Our approach resets the immune system so it no longer attacks myelin but leaves the function of the normal immune system intact."
The nanoparticle, made from an easily produced and already FDA-approved substance, was developed by Lonnie Shea, professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"This is a major breakthrough in nanotechnology, showing you can use it to regulate the immune system," said Shea, also a corresponding author. The paper will be published Nov. 18 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Miller and Shea are also members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In addition, Shea is a member of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine and the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.
CLINICAL TRIAL FOR MS TESTS SAME APPROACH -- WITH KEY DIFFERENCE
The study's method is the same approach now being tested in multiple sclerosis patients in a phase I/II clinical trial -- with one key difference. The trial uses a patient's own white blood cells -- a costly and labor intensive procedure -- to deliver the antigen. The purpose of the new study was to see if nanoparticles could be as effective as the white blood cells as delivery vehicles. They were.
THE BIG NANOPARTICLE ADVANTAGE FOR IMMUNOTHERAPY
Nanoparticles have many advantages; they can be readily produced in a laboratory and standardized for manufacturing. They would make the potential therapy cheaper and more accessible to a general population. In addition, these nanoparticles are made of a polymer called Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG), which consists of lactic acid and glycolic aci
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