A Nano-Enhanced Vaccine for Metastatic Melanoma Immunotherapy; The Artificial Divide: How Food Additives Perpetuate Cultural and Socioeconomic Stereotypes in the United States

Salotto, Katelyn, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Snyder, Helena, EN-Mat Sci/Engr Dept, University of Virginia

A Nano-Enhanced Vaccine for Metastatic Melanoma Immunotherapy
Many metastatic melanoma patients do not respond to the immunotherapies currently available (Lim et al., 2019). This technical project aims to address the gap in available treatment offering efficacy and an improved quality of life through developing and testing a cancer vaccine, a promising method of immunotherapy, enhanced with nanotechnology for treating metastatic melanoma. Immunogenic, nano-sized liposomes formulated previously by the author are employed in encapsulation of tumor-associated antigens, peptides uniquely expressed on cancer cell surfaces, identified by Slingluff et al. for metastatic melanoma (2008). Several central aims are performed and met in this research: 1) nanoliposome stability property characterization, 2) in vitro T cell activation nanoliposome testing, and 3) in vivo mouse testing for nanoliposome biodistribution and immunogenicity. The immunogenic nanoliposomes are tested in vitro in white blood cell cultures derived from patients immunized with the peptides alone in a 2008 clinical trial (Slingluff et al., 2008). The T cell response results from in vitro testing and antibody concentration results from mouse serum of the in vivo tests offer exciting data that suggest the improvement of cancer vaccine immune responses when this research’s custom nanotechnology approach is used compared to the standard methods. The demonstration of extended nanovaccine stability and preliminary in vivo mouse model data of nanovaccine biodistribution and immunogenicity make this combinational immunotherapy technique a promising opportunity to address the therapy gap for metastatic melanoma patients.

The Artificial Divide: How Food Additives Perpetuate Cultural and Socioeconomic Stereotypes in the United States
Problems for public health go beyond the absence of a technical solution for patients. In fact, many public health issues are not caused by missing technology but, instead, caused by present technology whose construction by society causes social harm. A gap exists in analysis of socially constructed food additive technologies from development to their evolving social implications on public epistemology. Studying the generally accepted perceptions of society in regard to chemical ingredients in food is important for understanding how group stereotypes and implicit biases enter, influence, and persist in American sociomaterial networks and culture. This STS research employs a mixed methods approach combining framework elements of social construction of technology (SCOT) and actor-network theory (ANT) to the study of food additive construction. Three case studies and methodologies cover a historical case analysis of the additive MSG, a modern case exploration of the sweetener brown rice syrup, and a case exploring the role of the media and marketing in the fluctuating construction of high fructose corn syrup. Each case pays special attention to social processes and circumstances that introduce or reinforce stereotypes, particularly of racial-ethnic and socioeconomic minority groups, in America. The perpetuation of stereotypes creates social norms and beliefs that increase risk of implicit and explicit bias, blame placing, and neglection of social determinants of health. An issue of equal and quality care arises in public health when patients are members of a stereotyped group or are assumed to be members. Beyond public health, this research illuminates unethical, irresponsible practices by influential actors, like media and food corporations, of stratifying foods as unhealthy and healthy and then limiting certain groups access to “superior” healthy foods.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
immunotherapy, nanomedicine, food additives, actor network theory, social construction of technology

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science: Nanomedicine
Technical Advisor: Helena Snyder
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: None

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: