A group of bioengineers at Stanford University have developed a molecular compound that stimulates the immune system. It also delivers the drug directly to the tumor area. Details can be found in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

The new therapy works with two synthetic molecules. One of them contains a drug that finds the tumor on its own. The other activates immune cells.

During the study, scientists conducted an experiment on mice that had a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. The therapy was able to prolong the life of six out of nine rodents. Three of those that survived were completely cured, and in five of them, biologists found tumor shrinkage after the first injection.

The new immunotherapy method builds on a previous study by Stanford scientists in 2018. They injected the drug directly into the tumor site, and not intravenously, as was done in the last experiment. The results showed that the therapy helped prevent the development of metastases in mice.

Scientists are confident that the PIP-CpG molecule will help people fight different types of cancer. The part of the compound that recognizes tumors – PIP – is also able to distinguish proteins that are on the surface of cancer cells.