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Loaded Dendritic Cells that Enhance Cellular Immunotherapy for Cancer

Increase Migration and Immune Response with Sarcosine-Loaded Dendritic Cells

These sarcosine-loaded dendritic cells exhibit enhanced migration to local lymph nodes, increasing the stimulation and migration of T-cells for cancer treatment. Immunotherapy has become a popular approach to treat cancer in recent years. A particular approach is providing patients with a vaccine of their own dendritic cells that presents a particular tumor antigen. University of Florida researchers have developed dendritic cells loaded intracellularly with sarcosine. Sarcosine, also known as N-methylglycine, is a metabolite of an amino acid found naturally in biological tissues; it is easily acquired from a variety of companies. The dendritic cells containing sarcosine have shown to significantly improve dendritic cell migration, in turn increasing stimulation of an immune response, resulting in the tumor being attacked and killed. Using dendritic cells for tumor treatment has already been approved by the FDA in prostate cancer and is currently in phase III clinical trials for other forms of cancers.



Sarcosine-loaded dendritic cells used for adoptive immunotherapy increases immune response and potentially survival rate of cancer patients



  • Increases efficacy of dendritic cell vaccination, enhancing adoptive T cell transfer
  • Creates robust immune response, potentially improving survival in patients with cancer
  • Uses patients own dendritic cells, decreasing unwanted immune response


Dendritic cells act as antigen presenting cells (APCs), presenting antigens to T-cell receptors. One immunotherapy approach to treating cancer provides patients with a vaccine of their own dendritic cells loaded with tumor antigens. Those dendritic cells migrate to a lymph node where they simulate T cells to generate an immune response, allowing the cells to express the target antigen that results in tumor killing. Enhancing that migration of dendritic cells to the local lymph node is critical for efficacy of this treatment strategy. University of Florida researchers have discovered that loading those dendritic cells with sarcosine, a common metabolite, significantly improves migration to local lymph nodes compared to previous strategies. This sarcosine addition for treatment can be applied to other cells such as T-cells in an adoptive immunotherapy strategy. This intracellular sarcosine loading method also has the potential to enhance migration of T-cells and stem cells allowing this treatment to be applicable in other diseases.

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