Together with researchers from the University of Stuttgart (Prof. Pfizenmaier and Prof. Scheurich), TNF-α was attached to nano- and microparticles developed at Fraunhofer IGB. These so-called cell-mimetic core-shell particles act like cells that carry the cytokine TNF on their outer shell.
In cell experiments, the TNF-NANOCYTES® unfold their full effectiveness, which otherwise only the membrane-bound cytokine has. This was shown in specially prepared cells which react to an activation of the TNF-receptor-2 with programmed cell death (apoptosis) and thus make the activation detectable (Figure): After TNF-NANOCYTES® have docked to TNF-receptor-2 in the cell membrane, the apoptosis program is started in the cells.
The TNF-NANOCYTES® can now be used to investigate both TNF-α-mediated signalling pathways. At the same time, the example of TNF-NANOCYTES® shows that NANOCYTES® can improve the efficacy of biopharmaceuticals by allowing a formulation inspired by nature.