Friday, 3 June 2016
Universal cancer vaccine gets a step closer
Way Found To Trick Immune System Into Attacking Tumours As If They Are Virus: Experts
Scientists have inched closer towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body's immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature , an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer's genetic rna code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients' immune systems responded by producing "killer" T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting "aggressively growing" tumours in mice, according to researchers, led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany . The paper said the aim of the trial was not to test how well the vaccine worked.While the patients' immune systems seemed to react, there was no evidence that their cancers went away as a result. In one patient, a suspected tumour on a lymph node got smaller.
Another patient, whose tumours had been surgically removed, was cancer-free seven months after vaccination. The third patient had eight tumours that had spread from the initial skin cancer into lungs. These tumours remained "clinically stable."
The vaccine, which used different pieces of RNA, activated dendritic cells that select targets for the immune system to attack. The vaccine also produced limited flu-like side-effects in contrast to the extreme sickness caused by chemotherapy .
Cancer immunotherapy is currently causing significant excitement in the medical community. It is already being used to treat some cancers with a number of patients still in remission more than 10 years after treatment.
hile traditional cancer treatment for testicular and other forms of the disease can lead to a complete cure, lung cancer, melanoma, and some brain and neck cancers have proved difficult to treat.
Professor Alan Melcher, of the Institute of Cancer Research , said, "Immunotherapy for cancer is a rapidly evolving and exciting field.This new study shows that an immune response against the antigens within a cancer can be triggered by a new type of cancer vaccine."
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