Troyan horse technique

Our group has recently developed a robust technique to load hybrid nanoparticles into T-lymphocytes still maintaining their viability and functionality unaffected. T-cells were chosen because they can be selected and multiplied to strengthen their cytotoxicity towards tumoral cells.


The “Troyan Horse” technique implies the collection of patient’s autologous immune cells from blood, their in-lab multiplication, the nanoparticle loading and finally the self-administration to the patient.


This method implies the preparation of products based on live-cells with the aim of enhancing their therapeutic, diagnostic or preventive effect. Immune cells undergo several manipulations as selection of specific anti-neoplastic T-cells, in vitro multiplication and nanoparticles loading. The employed cells are somatic, terminally differentiated to fulfill their specific action and have a cytotoxic effect towards melanoma cells.


The general idea is that T-cells collected from melanoma patients’ blood, can be multiplied and activated in vitro and then re-injected into patients in order to stimulate the immune system to act against the tumoral cells by means of the synergic action of the immunitary therapy, the hyperthermia treatment and the controlled drug release.


Experiments on melanoma model are currently ongoing. In vitro preliminary results are extremely encouraging, thus becoming a promising background for a future clinical testing of activated T-cells in human patients.


This novel approach for cancer treatment, that can be called acquired immune-therapy, could lead to the development of tailor-made therapies, specific for each single melanoma patient. Activated T-cells, multiplied and loaded with nanoparticles according to a robust methodological protocol, are able to kill melanoma cells in a very specific way. This field of research and development has huge potentials in terms of treatment of several kinds of cancer diseases, among which melanoma is just an example. It is a very versatile and powerful approach that can be easily applied to several diseases and that envisages a drastic change in tumor treatment.

The picture below shows the layout of the developed technique