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Project

Synergistic Immuno-Photo-Nanotherapy for Bladder Cancer

Funder: Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs

Funding period
USD 624 K
Funding amount
Abstract
PUBLIC ABSTRACT

This proposal addresses the Fiscal Year 2016 Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program Topic Areas of Bladder Cancer and Immunotherapy and also the Military Relevance Focus Area of Gaps in Treatment and Survivorship that impact military Service members.



What is the objective of this project? The overall objective of this proposal is to use animal models of bladder cancer to optimize and further characterize a novel treatment strategy for bladder cancer that we have developed called “SIMPHONY” (synergistic immuno-photo-nanotherapy). This treatment uses a combination of star-shaped gold nanoparticles to cook bladder tumors and immunotherapy to boost the immune response to the dying cancer cells. The net result is a very potent immune response against bladder cancer that vaccinates the patient against his or her own cancer and prevents it from coming back.



Who will benefit? This proposal will benefit people with bladder cancer and people that are at risk of developing a bladder cancer recurrence. Bladder cancer is quite common, and there are approximately 765,950 Americans living with bladder cancer currently. It is also a major health concern for military personnel and Veterans who are exposed to numerous bladder cancer-causing carcinogens in the workplace such as tobacco smoke, jet fuel and diesel exhaust, herbicides (Agent Orange), contaminated water (Camp Lejeune), chemical solvents, ionizing radiation, and combustion by-products (burn pits, fires). Bladder cancer is presently the fourth most common cancer treated in the Veterans Administration Health System. Bladder cancer treatment requires repeated endoscopic bladder tumor resections and sometimes progresses to require removal of the bladder, a surgery that drastically impairs quality of life since most people will require a permanent urine bag after bladder removal. Bladder cancer is also the most expensive cancer to manage on a per-patient basis, mostly due to the cost of screening for bladder tumor recurrences and the cost of treating these recurrences when they happen. Recurrent bladder cancer happens because our current preventative treatments are inadequate. Worse yet, bladder cancer will kill over 16,000 Americans in 2016 alone. Therefore, if our new SIMPHONY bladder cancer treatment is effective, it should reduce the need for bladder cancer screening and treatment, save money, improve the quality of life of the people that get bladder cancer, and prevent deaths.



What are the next steps? If our preliminary studies in mice are successful, the next step will be to prepare this treatment for use in humans. Since the immunotherapy that we use in SIMPHONY (PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade) was recently approved for use in humans, we will be able to immediately use this same treatment going forward. Similarly, since gold nanoparticles are generally considered to be biologically inert (non-toxic), we believe that using gold nanoparticles in humans should be safe. SIMPHONY also requires a special laser to trigger the gold nanoparticles into heating up, and such lasers are currently available for purchase. Therefore, we believe that it should be straightforward to take SIMPHONY to human clinical trials if it appears to work well in our animal models. Clinical trials generally take several years to complete.



Why is this research important? The results of our research proposal will prove that two different and technologically advanced cancer treatment methods, nanoparticle therapy and immunotherapy, can be highly synergistic and produce results far superior to what either treatment is able to produce on its own. We will also prove that an extremely potent immune response, strong enough to prevent future bladder cancer recurrences, can be reliably generated when combination treatments are used. Lastly, we will demonstrate the immunological reasons and mechanisms why this treatment works so that similar ideas can be exploited for other diseases and disorders.
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System

Categories
  • FOR (ANZSRC)

    1107 Immunology

  • RCDC

    Bioengineering

  • RCDC

    Nanotechnology

  • RCDC

    Cancer

  • RCDC

    Immunization

  • RCDC

    Prevention

  • RCDC

    Urologic Diseases

  • HRCS HC

    Cancer

  • HRCS RAC

    5.1 Pharmaceuticals

  • Health Research Areas

    Biomedical

  • Broad Research Areas

    Clinical Medicine and Science