'Vaccine' Developed That Could Eliminate All Traces of Cancer
'Vaccine' Developed That Could Eliminate All Traces of Cancer
Stanford University said the drug combination worked 'startlingly well'
03 February, 2018, 03:31
The vaccine against cancer is the hope of many people. But it's important to remember that it's a mouse study.
Talking on this, Lead Author and Professor of Oncology, Mr. Ronald Levy, MD told that the vaccine uses two agents. "This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn't require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient's immune cells". One of these is already approved for human use and is now injected directly into tumors of melanoma patients, while the other has already been tested for human use in other, unrelated clinical trials. The study by Stanford researchers is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. As a result, the cancerous cells were completely obliterated.
Cancer vaccines are given after a patient is diagnosed and are meant to train the immune system to target the disease. But, the researchers note, they all come with caveats attached. "These types of treatments are exciting but can be complicated-one of the biggest challenges of immunotherapies is predicting how they will work with patients' immune systems, and understanding what the side effects could be". The new approach uses small amounts of two agents that can stimulate the immune cells within the cancer specifically. This method can "teach" immune cells how to fight against that specific type of cancer, which then allows them to migrate and destroy all other existing tumors. The combination also stopped the appearance of new breast tumors. This allows cancers to grow at the original site, and to release cells that allow cancer to spread to other parts of the body. Although the cancer returned in three of the mice, they were cured after a second treatment.
The researchers also examined mice genetically engineered to spontaneously develop highly invasive breast cancers in all 10 of their mammary pads. In an experiment where laboratory mice had lymphoma tumors transplanted into two separate sites in their bodies, injecting the agents into one tumor saw the regression of not just that tumor, but also the second that hadn't been injected at all.
The new vaccine works by reactivating these T cells.
As Dr. Levy continues, "This is a very targeted approach".
'Only the tumor that shares the protein targets displayed by the treated site is affected. In effect, these T cells are "prescreened" by the body to recognise only cancer-specific proteins, researchers said. A clinical trial for using both the injections in combination began in January 2018, it will assess the effectiveness of the treatment in patients with lymphoma.
After the successful testing in mice, the scientist will run human trials to see the effect of this technique in humans.
"I don't think there's a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system", Levy says.
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