A Vaccine to Fight Cancer
A personalized “cancer vaccine” is coming closer to reality, researchers say.
Scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis tested investigational vaccines in computer simulations of cancer as well as cell cultures and animal models.
The results showed that the vaccines could enable the immune system to destroy or drive into remission a significant number of tumors, the university said in a news release. In one case, the vaccines cured nearly 90 percent of mice with an advanced form of muscle cancer.
The cancer vaccines being developed will ultimately help immune cells recognize the feature of cancer cells already in the body. In other words, they treat cancer rather than prevent it.
“This is strong evidence that personalized cancer vaccines can be very effective cancer therapies and should be applied to human cancer now,” said senior author Robert Schreiber, PhD, the Alumni Professor of Pathology and Immunology and director of the university’s Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs.
Other researchers are making progress in vaccines against several types of cancer including breast, brain, lung and head and neck cancers. The most progress has been made in the area of metastatic melanoma.
A personalized vaccine uses samples of DNA from a patient’s tumor and normal tissue to determine exactly what kinds of proteins should be used in a vaccine to fight cancer.