Aging Stem Cells

Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment: Dual Anti-Tumor Vaccine Developed by Researchers


A groundbreaking study led by a research team at the LKS Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong (HKUMed), has unveiled the development of a dual anti-tumor vaccine with the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. The team discovered that exosomes derived from γδ-T cells not only possess direct anti-tumor properties but can also be transformed into a tumor vaccine that effectively stimulates a tumor-specific immune response. These findings, recently published in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, introduce a novel approach to cancer immunotherapy.

Exosomes, minuscule particles secreted by cells, play a crucial role in intercellular communication by shuttling various substances like lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. They have garnered attention in the development of tumor vaccines due to their ability to shield vaccine components from degradation, enhance stability, prolong biological half-life, and improve antigen uptake by antigen-presenting cells (APCs).

While past research largely focused on exosomes derived from tumor cells and dendritic cells, this study zeroed in on exosomes derived from human γδ-T cells, a rare T cell subset recognized for its direct anti-tumor activity and capacity to amplify T-cell responses.

The team’s investigation revealed that γδ-T cell-derived exosomes (γδ-T-Exos) exhibit dual anti-tumor functions by carrying cytotoxic and immunostimulatory molecules capable of directly eliminating tumor cells and activating the immune system. Moreover, these exosomes possess adjuvant effects, amplifying the expression of antigen-presenting and releasing molecules that bolster inflammation, thereby augmenting the immune system’s ability to detect and combat tumor cells.

The study demonstrated that formulating tumor vaccines by loading γδ-T-Exos with tumor-associated antigens proved more effective in eliciting tumor-specific T-cell responses compared to using γδ-T-Exos in isolation. This vaccine approach retained both direct anti-tumor effects and triggered tumor cell death.

Remarkably, the research showcased that vaccines based on allogeneic γδ-T-Exos (derived from different donors) yielded comparable preventive and therapeutic effects to those based on autologous γδ-T-Exos (derived from the same donor) in mouse models. This indicates the feasibility of a centralized and standardized production approach. These vaccines exhibit dual anti-tumor capabilities in efficiently targeting tumor cells and indirectly prompting a T-cell-mediated anti-tumor immune response, resulting in superior tumor control compared to existing vaccine strategies.

Professor Tu Wenwei, the study’s lead from the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at HKUMed, emphasized the groundbreaking nature of their findings. He highlighted the adjuvant effects of γδ-T-Exos and their ability to trigger tumor-specific T-cell responses when used in tumor vaccines. In various mouse models, vaccines based on γδ-T-Exos effectively impeded tumor development and progression.

Moreover, he underscored that allogeneic γδ-T-Exos-based vaccines offer a promising avenue for clinical application, streamlining the personalized preparation process and enabling standardized production. These findings have significant implications for cancer immunotherapy, indicating the potential of γδ-T-Exos for cancer vaccines owing to their ability to efficiently deliver tumor antigens and their superior dual anti-tumor effects compared to existing vaccine approaches.

In conclusion, the development of a dual anti-tumor vaccine utilizing γδ-T-Exos represents a significant advancement in cancer treatment, offering a more accessible and standardized approach that could potentially enhance treatment outcomes and pave the way for improved cancer care in the future.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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