December 2020
Vol 6, Issue 50

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Typically, only 30% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) survive five years after diagnosis, in part because bone marrow is relatively inaccessible to surgery, and biological barriers prevent drugs from adequately reaching marrow. However, leukemia cells themselves are equipped with proteins that allow them to home in on and enter marrow. To hijack these abilities, Ci et al. suspended AML cells in a preservation medium and immersed them in liquid nitrogen for 12 hours, killing the cells and ridding them of their pathogenicity, but preserving their structure and surface proteins. They then loaded the cells with doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug, and injected them into mice with AML. They found that the dead cell delivery of doxorubicin reached tumors and inhibited tumor growth more effectively than controls, and the dead cells themselves stimulated an immune response against AML. Dead leukemia cells also inoculated healthy mice against future cancer development. The authors write that this approach might be used to harness other cancer cells for dead-cell drug delivery to different kinds of tumors, and they call for further research to evaluate the safety of using such cells in additional animal models before exploring use in humans. [CREDIT: ZHEN GU LAB]