Nanoparticle cytokines enable use of macrophages to treat disease
Cell Guidance Systems, a specialist in the control, manipulation and monitoring of cells has announced its POlyhedrin Delivery System (PODS) technology has been shown to modulate macrophage secretion profiles with therapeutic potential.
Macrophages play a powerful role in directing a body’s fight against disease with unique capacity to switch activity to also help rebuild damaged tissues. Unfortunately, as diseases such as cancer develop, macrophage activity is subverted, and the secretion of cytokines stopped that would normally activate anticancer activities of other immune cells. As a result, macrophages begin to contribute to the development and spread of cancer. To compensate for the reduction in cytokines and to correct the imbalance, targeted approaches are needed as simply injecting cytokines into the body generates high levels of systemic toxicity.
To address this, Cell Guidance Systems’ scientists ‘fed’ macrophages with nanoscale chunks of concentrated protein in the form of PODS crystals – solid cubes able to hold various cytokine cargos that can be ingested by macrophages without adverse effects to the macrophage itself. PODS are packed with protein and the macrophages cannot completely break them down. Instead, the macrophages secrete a constant stream of bioactive cytokines with the ability to instruct adjacent cells. This ability to restore and increase cytokine levels has therapeutic potential to treat diseases, in which macrophage cytokine levels are reduced, such as cancer.
There are many potential applications of PODS-loaded macrophages. Currently, they are used to study complex cellular interactions and other phagocytic cells, such as chondrocytes. Ultimately, PODS-loaded macrophages have the potential to improve cytokine treatments for diseases including cancer.
The results of this research are available as an unpublished preprint in bioRxiv.