Nanoparticle Delivered Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy for Treatment of Cutaneous and Metastatic Melanoma
|Mentor||W. Mark Saltzman, PhD; Michael Girardi, MD, FAAD|
|Award Type||Medical Student Award|
|Donor Support||Honoring Richard Arthur Draeger from his Family|
While several medications, immune stimulating agents, and radiation therapies have been developed and used for the treatment of melanoma, the treatment options often have systemic toxicity effects and can be limited in their treatment of metastasis. For melanoma, there are often cutaneous lesions that allow for direct destruction, and the destroyed cancer cells present a marker that can help stimulate our own immune cells to detect and kill other melanoma cells in the surrounding. Thus there is an unmet opportunity to use both the type of treatment options: local therapy and a systemic therapy, to help cause local destruction and boost the immune response against these cancer cells. Previously our groups have developed a drug delivery platform using bioadhesive, biodegradable nanoparticle molecules; these have increased local activity while decreased systemic effects—therefore it increases the
safety and efficacy of the drugs. The purpose of the research is to use these nanoparticles loaded with chemotherapy to target melanoma nodules and metastatic melanoma in conjunction with local or systemic immune stimulating agents. We will also be using nonadhesive nanoparticles that have increased drug retention and engineerable size to target lymph nodes to help boost the anti-cancer effects by encapsulating an immunostimulant. The approach is unique as we are proposing a method to kill the cancer cells using the nanoparticles and another immunomodulatory molecule to help train the immune system to recognize the metastatic melanoma cells. Targeting the lymph nodes will help boost the body’s own anti-cancer response while theoretically decreasing the off-target and systemic effects. We will be using the nanoparticles with chemotherapy for local injections against nodular melanoma and also assess
the combination therapy with local and systemic immunostimulation including CpG, anti-PD1, and our own immunostimulant loaded nanoparticles. We hypothesize that the nanoparticle delivery of these agents in conjunction with these molecules will lead to efficient regression/ elimination of melanoma and metastatic lesions.