Particles Made of Silk Protect Immune System Boosting Drugs to Fight Cancer


Peptides, or strings of amino acids, are being investigated as a way to help activate the immune system to fight cancer and other diseases. Delivering them into the interior of immune system’s cells is difficult because they’re easily broken apart by the body.

Now a team of researchers from Switzerland and Germany have developed a way of creating hybrid silk-based particles and using them to encapsulate peptides for safe transport to disease sites.

“To develop immunotherapeutic drugs effective against cancer, it is essential to generate a significant response of T lymphocytes,» says Professor Carole Bourquin, the lead researchers on the study appearing in the latest issue of Biomaterials. “As the current vaccines have only limited action on T-cells, it is crucial to develop other vaccination procedures to overcome this issue.”

The particles are able to withstand the heat of the body and not be broken up until delivery into lymph node cells, from where they can open up and release their cargo.

Early laboratory tests are proving promising, but further research will be required to optimize the encapsulation system and make it practical for clinical purposes.

Study in journal Biomaterials: Engineered hybrid spider silk particles as delivery system for peptide vaccines…

Via: University of Geneva…