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Researchers to Use Smart Discs to Combat Cancer Tumors

Jan 11, 2017 04:00 AM EST

Cancer research appears to be a field of medical science that should get considerable attention. After all, nearly 14.5 million Americans have a history of cancer, with more than 13 million estimated new cases every year.

This is why even experts are starting to play with the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). Researchers from the University of Michigan refuse to be left behind either, with a new method that has potential to eliminate tumors.

According to Futurism, the new technology will be using nano-sized discs of about 10 nm. They are to program the body to kill cancer cells. 

James Moon from the University of Michigan said they are "educating" the immune system using the nanodiscs so that immune cells can personally attack cancer cells.

Each of these "nanodiscs" is filled with neoantigens, or tumor-specific mutations. They eventually each the immune system's T-cells to recognize each neoantigen and eventually kill them.

These work hand-in-hand with immune checkpoint inhibitors that boost the responses of T-cells. According to a study from the University of Michigan, as published in Nature, these form an anti-cancer system in the body that wipes out tumors and can even prevent them to reemerge.

So far, the nanodiscs were successful in mice and showed rather promising results in just 10 days. They were able to shut down identical tumors in the mice after being reinserted 70 days later.

Rui Kuai, lead author of the study, said this suggests the immune system can "remember" the cancer cells for long-term immunity. Their study is published in Nature Materials. 

Of course it may take a while before this "designer vaccine" gets a public release. The researchers still need to use it on larger animals, and even need more time before it's used in humans. Still, these discs increase our chances of developing an actual cure for cancer.  

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