Using a treatment platform based on Nano-Pulse Stimulation (NPS) may be a potential anti-cancer approach that induces strong immune responses toward cancer cells.
The results of applying NPS in preclinical models were recently presented by Pulse Biosciences at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting Nov. 9-13 in National Harbor, Maryland.
NPS is a nonthermal drug-free treatment that applies ultrashort electrical impulses directly to the cancerous tissue, which creates a transient opening of small pores in the cell membranes and organelle membranes. According to preclinical models, this activates a signaling cascade within tumor cells that leads to their death.
The release of tumor cell components upon programmed cell death then induces immunogenic cell death; macrophages and neutrophils engulf the tumor proteins and present them to cytotoxic T-cells, inducing a strong immune response directed specifically to tumor cells expressing those proteins.
“These new data add to the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the use of NPS in the treatment of multiple tumor types,” Darrin Uecker, president and CEO of Pulse Biosciences, said in a press release.
“We believe the immune response observed in these recent studies further indicate that NPS may have the ability to prime the immune system and may be effective, and potentially even synergistic, when used in combination with other immuno-therapeutics, with the distinct advantage of not adding any drug-related toxicity,” he said.
Pulse presented three studies at the SITC meeting showing that NPS induces beneficial immune cell changes, not only in the treated primary tumor, but also in the microenvironment of untreated secondary tumors, suggesting the approach shows promise in the treatment of metastases that are not detected with current imaging methods.
The first study, titled “Nanosecond pulsed electric field treatment of tumor cell lines triggers immunogenic cell death (ICD),” shows that NPS induced three markers of immunogenic cell death in three different cell lines. The authors believe the expression of these markers may explain why primary tumor treatment has a vaccine-like effect, inhibiting secondary tumor growth.
In the second study, “Nanosecond pulsed electric field treatment of murine melanomas initiates an immune response and inhibits metastasis,” melanoma mice models were treated with either surgery or NPS to remove their primary tumors and subsequently injected with melanoma cells.
The researchers found that NPS-treated mice had fewer metastases than the mice treated with surgery, suggesting that NPS induced immune changes that rendered immune cells more capable of eliminating melanoma cells in circulation.
In the third study, “Nanosecond pulsed electric field treatment of murine melanomas initiates an immune response and inhibits metastasis,” researchers observed an increase in the infiltration of immune cells into fibrosarcoma tumors in mice models. A complete rejection of challenge tumors was observed three weeks after treatment, which was induced by increased production and functionality of T-cells.