Published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, a CTSI-supported study has demonstrated the efficacy of SymphNode, a tiny implantable device to combat cancer in mouse models. A UCLA-led team of researchers hope to use the promising findings to treat cancers in human patients in the future.

A CTSI Core Voucher Award to Louis S. Bouchard, an author of the study, supported scanning electron microscopy and confocal microscopy.  At the time of the award, Bouchard was a young investigator; a goal of the Core Voucher Program is to support novel research from investigators early in their careers.  

The SymphNode functions as a sponge that soaks up regulatory T cells inside solid tumors. Healthy regulatory T cells protect the body from disease, but in cancer, they can go awry and protect the cancer instead.

Manish Butte, senior author of the study with an endowed chair and pediatrics professor at UCLA, also received a CTSI Catalyst Award in 2019 and has utilized various CTSI support for other research projects over the years. Of the SymphNode study, Butte said, “Getting rid of regulatory T cells within the tumor seems to be transformative. Every solid tumor is crammed with these cells, and they’re why 91% of cancer deaths occur from solid tumors. They’re probably limiting our ability to cure the cancer in the first place.” Dr. Butte is also the Division Chief of Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology at UCLA.

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For more information from Dr. Butte and details on this study, read the full UCLA Newsroom press release.

Image caption: Negin Majedi/Symphony Biosciences
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