This gel coating increases the activity of immune cells near tumors and blocks the work of signals that make cancer cells invisible to the immune system.

American biochemists have developed a special biodegradable gel coating that increases the activity of immune cells near tumors and blocks the work of signals that make cancer cells invisible to immunity. This was announced on Wednesday by the press service of the University of Wisconsin.

“We were very pleased when we found that such an approach works effectively on a large number of very different types of tumors, especially those types of cancer that do not have an immunogenic nature. We were even more delighted after we found that biogel suppresses the formation of metastases,” said Hu Quanyin, a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA), his words are quoted by the press service of the university.

The development of cancerous tumors is often accompanied by the formation of a special environment that contains molecules that “scare away” immune cells from the tumor or make it invisible to the immune system. Scientists have been studying the molecules present in this environment for several decades in the hope of creating drugs that would suppress their action and force the body to fight cancer more actively.

Professor Hu Quanyin and his colleagues have taken the first step towards solving this problem. They managed to develop a special biodegradable gel material that contains a large set of various nanoparticles, antibodies and drugs. These structures and molecules interact with various components of the immune system, which leads to the normalization of the immune system inside the tumor.

Anti-cancer gel “patch”

The antibodies contained in the gel increase the activity of specialized types of T cells responsible for the destruction of tumor cells. In contrast, the drug pexidartinib present in the gel suppresses the work of a special kind of macrophages, which prevents the penetration of other immune cells into the tumor.

The scientists tested the work of this biodegradable coating on mice in whose body fragments of tumors extracted from the tissues of the digestive system, skin, mammary glands and connective tissue were implanted. Many of them were resistant to the effects of immunotherapy and chemotherapy, and also often caused metastases.

Some time after implantation, Professor Hu Quanyin and his colleagues removed the overgrown tumors and covered the adjacent tissues and organs with gel. Subsequent observations showed that the biodegradable material destroyed the remnants of cancer cells and dramatically reduced the likelihood of new metastases, which was not observed among animals from the control group.

In the near future, scientists plan to develop new versions of the gel coating, which will contain a wider range of drugs, antibodies and nanoparticles. This, as biochemists hope, will make their development a universal tool for combating most existing forms of malignant neoplasms.